Sizergh Castle

(See also Sizergh Castle Garden)

Sizergh Castle exterior and garden view by Barbara BallardSizergh Castle (known also as Sizergh Hall) began as a 60-foot high, four-storey pele tower built in the 14th century. The walls, constructed for defensive purposes, were nine feet thick. The tower's ground level was vaulted, and a small, attached turret with spiral staircase completed the tower defenses.

Home to the same family, the Stricklands, for more than 750 years, Sizergh's lands were first the property of King Henry II. He gifted the site to Gervase Deincourt in the 1170's. It passed to the Stricklands when a Deincourt heiress married a Strickland in 1239.

Sizergh Castle exterior close up by Barbara BallardA Great Hall was added in 1450, and a Tudor mansion surrounding the pele tower made life more comfortable. Two wings were added to the house during the Elizabethan era and were decorated with carved oak panelling and other high quality woodwork. The five carved oak chimneypieces are considered to be some of England's best.

In 1770 the Great Hall was enlarged, and the building exterior redecorated in the Georgian style. The present day entrance hall (formerly part of the Great Hall) contains carved screens. The tower contains original fireplaces and 15th century trefoil windows. Outbuildings date mostly from the 16th century.

Sizergh Castle exterior view by Barbara BallardAn ornate plaster ceiling decorates the Inlaid Room. Poplar and bog oak panelling was removed from this room to the Victoria and Albert Museum but is now restored in all its beauty. Family portraits and oak furniture further enhance the castle's interior. They include a 16th century four poster bed, benches, and chairs. Relics of the Jacobean rebellion are on show.

A medieval lady ghost is associated with the castle. The story goes that her husband locked her in a room, left the castle, and she starved to death. It is said her ghost can be heard screaming.

Sizergh Castle by Tony RichardSizergh Castle's 14 acres of gardens were first laid out in the 18th century. They feature a noted limestone rock garden (added in 1926 by an Ambleside firm), a lake, wildflower garden, water garden, and a rose garden. Bulbs and herbaceous borders add colour. The garden includes part of the National collection of hardy ferns. A southern, walled exposure provides a mini climate for such plants as a Brown Turkey fig. Walks lead through ancient woodlands and butterfly loving pastures with views over the fells.

Sizergh Castle and Garden is under the care of the National Trust.
Location: Off the A590/591, 3 miles south of Kendal at Sizergh, Cumbria, LA8 8AE.
Tel: 015395 60951
Website: Sizergh Castle and Garden
Open: house, 2nd week March-first week Nov, Mon-Thu and Sun, 1-5pm; garden/cafe/shop Jan-1st week Feb, weekends, 11am-4pm; 2nd and 3rd weeks Feb, daily, 11am-4pm; last week Feb-1st week March, weekends, 11am-4pm; 2nd week March-end Oct, daily, 11am-5pm; Nov-end Dec, daily, 11am-4pm; estate open year round, daily 9am-5pm.

Note: Please check opening times and dates before visiting in case of changes.

Low Sizergh Farm is a working organic dairy farm.
Organic farm shop selling cheeses, eggs, fruits, vegetables, etc.
Tearoom, gallery, and milking parlour.
Tel: 01539 560426
Open daily year round: Easter to end Dec. from 9am-5pm; Jan-Easter 9:30am-4:45pm.

Photos by Barbara Ballard and courtesy of Tony Richard

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