Dunthwaite House, Dunthwaite

Record ID:  26318 / MNA115438
Record type:  Building
Protected Status: Listed Building: Grade II, World Heritage Site
NT Property:  Dunthwaite; North
Civil Parish:  Setmurthy; Allerdale; Cumbria
Grid Reference:  NY 1739 3282
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he central double pile house is clearly of one bild, reported to have been in 1785. Not surprisingly this house is slightly larger than usual house of the period, with greater ceiling heights and more generous proportions, although of exactly the same plan.

Identification Images (0)

Monument Types

  • MANSION HOUSE (Late 18th C to Late 19th C - 1785 AD to 1900 AD)


Dunthwaite was the family house of the Harrison family for nearly two hundred and fifty years before the last of the line gave it to the Trust in 1940. The house itself was rebuilt in 1785 and although enlarged shortly afterwards has remianed largely unaltered. Once the house had been brought up to date attention turned to the estate buildings which were likewise rebuilt in the height of the 18th century and early 19th century architectural fashion. Perhaps the most spectacular building on the holding is the enormous bank barn, complete with its own water powered threshing machine and grinding mill. THe rebuilding is commemorated by a plaque of 1823 although much of the present machinery is more modern.

Without documentary evidence this reoprt will make the house seem disproportionately dull and lifeless, but it must be remebered that at its height this was the centre of a bustling estate employing many local people.

Outstanding as an unaltered late 18th century small estate map with a complete complement of farm buildings.

IMPORTANT FEATURES - All interior woodwork, all fireplaces.

ROOF - The 1785 part had servant accommodation in boarded attic space although much of the boarding has been lifted where first floor ceilings have been rebuilt. Two simple colalre trusses span a remarkable distance for such a simple truss, they were previously closed to form bedrooms ehich would have provided some additional suppor. There are four slightly upright putlins on each pitch, and an upright ridge. These support roughly square sawn rafters which are felted under local slates laid in diminishing courses. IT was not possible to see inside the roof of the extension although there is an access trap.

WALLS - The front face of the house is rendered with just the stone quoins and ribbon surrounds showing. The back wal and that in the game larder are built of farily irregular sandstone laid in mortar, with neat limestone surrounds tooled as on the front face. SIgns of render in the game larder match that on its other walls and do not ecessarily suggest that this wall eas ever exposed. The external walls of the extension are also of relatively irregular stonework with much less pronounced quoins, the chimney stacks and areas under the window are constructed of brick. Also of brick are the majority of internal walls in both sections.


GARDEN ROOM - main floor suspended, but a concrete surface marks the position of a corridor on the N side of the room. The fireplace is 1930's tile brick piece in an old sandstone opening. THe room has had green / green/ now papered finish, the passageway red / green / now paper. THe marks for the partition can still be seen.

DINING ROOM - suspended floor, beam recently de-plastered. Ogee cast iron fireplace with contemporary basket set in a simpal surround and corbelled mantleshelft.

BACK STAIRCASE - Sandstone flag floor, simple square balusters on the string.

KITCHEN - sandstone flag floor, brick walls now exposed, amny rough and over burnt in thick mortar. The rason for the double ceiling beam is not clear.

MAIN STAIRCASE - the lower flight of steps is of sandstone, but the landing and top flight are of wooden construction. A cupboard is built under the top of the stairs, it has H hinges.

PANTRY - The beam was previously plastered, the floor is of sandstone flags.

MAIN HALL - The floor is suspended, skirting is used. Theis is c250cm high. The fireplace was in the process of being replaced when the survey was made. The ne onw is of white marble with consoles supporting a floral frieze.

DRAWING ROOM - The cornice in this room is moulded with egg and dart and Nine leaf motifs. The present fireplace is an antique replacement inserted in 1985. At the time of writing wall are coved with stretched fabric. The floor is suspended, skirting is used.

BEDROOM 1 - The ceiling is a plasterboard replacement, skirting is in use. The fireplace is a rather fine late 18th or early 19th century hob grate with lozenge and circular design motifs, the back plates have a decorative vase design on each.

BEDROOM 2 - The fireplace was removed in 1985 and skiring replaced.

BATHROOM - FIttings added by present tenant.

BEDROOM 3 - Skirting in use, never heated.

BEDROOM 4 - Fireplace removed, skirting in use.

BEDROOM 5 - New ceiling, skirting in use. THe fireplace has a hob and basket in a plain surround.

ATTICS - Unheated, divisions on trusses removed, many floorboards lifted to facilitate replacement of first floor ceilings.

DEVELOPMENT - The central double pile house is clearly of one bild, reported to have been in 1785. Not surprisingly this house is slightly larger than usual house of the period, with greater ceiling heights and more generous proportions, although of exactly the same plan. The stable range is probably contemporaty with this, although not bonded in. The section containing the dining room must have been added soom after the first stage was complete, probably by the end of the century.



  • SNA66536 - Historic Building Survey: 2016. Historic Building Survey for Dunthwaite, Sutmurthy, Cumbria.

  • SZI5124 - Unpublished document: National Trust Vernacular Buildings Surveyor. 1986. Historic Building Survey for Dunthwaite House Farm, Dunthwaite.


Other Statuses and References

None Recorded

Associated Events

  • ENA5668 - Field Survey, Historic Building Survey of Dunthwaite House
  • ENA8027 - Heritage Assessment, Historic Building Survey for Dunthwaite, Setmurthy, Cumbria

Associated Finds

None Recorded

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