Belle Isle Round House

Belle Isle Round House by Ennor (Barry) FlickrBelle Isle House, a Grade I listed building, is on the island of the same name in Lake Windermere. The house and island were named after Isabella, a member of the Curwen family who owned the island.

The island size is around 40 acres and can be reached from Bowness. Much of it is covered with trees. It was a place of habitation by the Romans (the governor built a house on the island), the Norse, and the Royalists in the Civil War. The island was the seat of the Lord of the Manor of Windermere, then was owned by a local family, the Philipsons before its purchase by Mr. English.

Belle Isle from Cockshott Point Bowness by Ennor (Barry) FlickrBelle Isle House was built in 1774 by John Plaw for Mr English. The circular building is three storeys high and was designed with a portico and double staircase. Mr. English went bankrupt before the house was finished and sold it and the island in 1781 to John Christian Curwen, who made his fortune in the mines of west Cumberland. The Curwens are responsible for planting the trees on the island. The Curwen descendants lived on the island until 1993. In 1996 the house suffered a fire, but was rebuilt.

Curwen had a keen interest in yachting, and helped in the start-up of the Windermere regattas. One of his boats is on display at the Windermere Steamboat Museum.

The island is privately owned and is not open to the public.

Photos courtesy of ennor (Barry)

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