Keys to the Past

Holmside Hall (Burnhope)

Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006
Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006

Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006
Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006

Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006
Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006

Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006
Holmside Hall © Ryder, P 2006

The earliest records are of a family named Holmside holding the manor; it later passed to the Umfravilles and in the 15th century to the Tempests, who forfeited it through their involvement in the 1569 rebellion; in the 17th century it was held by the Whittinghams.

Surtees (1820, 324-6) described this house as of 'a class of mansions inferior to the peel or castle, yet built with some view to defence. Part of the old courtyard is remaining; the Chapel forms the north side, and its West window is still perfect, with the cinquefoil and 2 blank shields in the spandrels. Above this West window a mutilated figure is fixed in the wall, with a full moony face, and a kind of round helmet or pot en tete. I should almost conjecture this to be rude Piece of Roman sculpture, removed from the Station which may probably have furnished the coins and squared stones used in building this chantry of the Umfravilles. The original lights of the Hall are narrow, strongly guarded with mullions and iron bars, but the gables have been taken down, and the house enlarged towards the South, and it now presents a confused mass of building of very different dates, with outshuts and additions on all sides, including in its interior a number of small ill-connected apartments. The most includes a ruined garden and orchard, and a stone throw to the West stands another small old building defended by its separate moat'.

The principal buildings appear to have been arranged around a rectangular courtyard, closed on the west by a curtain wall with a central gateway. Parts of that curtain wall and gateway, and a much-altered range of buildings on the north survive. In c. 1966, a block of medieval building on the south, derelict and damaged by mining subsidence, was demolished. The present farmhouse, at the south-west corner of the yard, is largely of early-19th century appearance.

The west wall of the courtyard dates to the medieval period. A line of buildings stood along the north side of the courtyard. One of these buildings may have been a chapel. Medieval stone windows can still be seen, as well as the carved stone figure of a man blowing a musical instrument. Another possible chapel can be seen in the buildings to the south of the courtyard. The whole site was surrounded by a moat. This is a Grade II listed building, thus protected by law.

Reference number:D1316
Historical period: Medieval (1066 to 1540)
Legal status:Listed Building
  • National Heritage List for England Entry Number: 1329908
Event(s):Defensible Buildings in County Durham Survey 2005 - 2006; Peter Ryder, Historic Building Consultant



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Source of Reference


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Please note that this information has been compiled from a number of different sources. Durham County Council and Northumberland County Council can accept no responsibility for any inaccuracy contained therein. If you wish to use/copy any of the images, please ensure that you read the Copyright information provided.