Warcop Tower Farm Barn

Project Profile

Project Title :

Warcop Tower Farm

Client :

A&T Developments

Type of Work :

Historic Buildings Recording,
Desk-Based Assessment and Evaluation

Project Gallery 

The Lowther and Warcop coat of armsl   The 18th century barn range at Warcop  
north facing elevation of range   First floor room  
Remains of the old threshing barn   West facing elevation of barn  


Warcop Tower Farm

From fortified manor to 18th century farm

'Warcop Tower which was hereto fore a large building, though there is nothing thereof remaining but a small farmhouse and outhouses' (Nicholson and Burns 1777, 606)

The early history of Warcop Tower is difficult to determine. Much of the documentary material associated with the site is fragmentary and open to misinterpretation particularly given the confusion between Warcop Castle, Warcop Tower and Warcop Hall, all of which at one time formed the manorial seat of the de Warcop family.

The only surviving physical evidence of the medieval tower is contained within the fabric of the present day Warcop farmhouse, although numerous architectural fragments can be found re-used in various buildings around the complex. One of these fragments - a coat of arms plaque - located on the north side of one of the barn ranges provides a tentative early 15th century date for the construction of the Tower. The devices on the shields belong to the Lowther and Warcop families, and the plaque probably celebrates the marriage of Margaret de Strickland (Warcop) and Sir Robert Lowther c.1400. Margaret was the illegitimate daughter of Isabel de Warcop and William de Strickland, then Bishop of Carlisle. The Tower and associated fortified medieval manor was probably constructed at this time.

There are two barn ranges located to the north of the farmhouse, both of which date to a major phase of expansion in the early 18th century. The farmhouse itself features a date stone of 1726. The amount of re-used masonry found in both structures would suggest that their construction was probably concomitant with the demolition of a large medieval structure - maybe a hall - associated with the Tower. Documentary evidence suggests that the Tower survived, at least in part, until the early 19th century.

The main north to south element of the barn range dates to the first phase of farm expansion and was contemporary with the surviving large threshing barn opposite. It originally provided stabling for the estate horses and featured a large area for the storage of hay and feed above. Later changes to the farm in the early 19th century saw the expansion of the barn complex out to the west, creating the present L-shaped plan. These extensions were of a poorer quality than the original structure but continued to incorporate large amounts of re-used masonry.

The ground floor of the range has been converted at various stages into animal stalling. Most recently, parts of the building appear to have been used as a piggery although the upper floor remained relatively unchanged.

NAA were commissioned to undertake an historic buildings survey of the farm in advance of planning permission for the conversion of the barn range to provide for domestic living accommodation. This formed part of a programme of archaeological evaluation including a Desk- Based Assessment (DBA) and trial trenching.

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