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History of The Cottage at Low Hall
Low Hall is an old Cumbria farmhouse that dates back at least 400 years. The area has been inhabited since about 4000BC (Neolithic period). A canoe, burnt out from a tree trunk was found less than a mile away at Stanger, and in 1931, a neolithic stone axe hammer was found in the same area.
The stone age was followed by the early Bronze age, around 1800BC, when many of the megalithic stone circles of Cumbria were built. Nearby stone circles include Elva Plain (177 317), four miles away, and Castlerigg, just outside Keswick. Findings from the late bronze age in Blindbothel parish include a bronze javelin head, found buried in moss at High Dyke, a bronze socketed spear head, and a bronze flanged axe at Waterloo farm. The first can still be seen in Tullie House Museum in Carlisle. The find was reported in the West Cumberland Times of 28th April 1874.(Bradbury's History of Cockermouth).
The name "Low Hall" appears on the "Old series" Ordnance Survey maps, surveyed between 1791 and 1874 and published between 1865 and 1869. It is recorded in the Dictionary of Lake District Place names, as meaning "a hall that is low lying". The buildings sit close to Little Sandy Beck, as it winds it way down to join the river Cocker close to Southwaite Bridge. Low Hall lies below Low Fell, and looks over the ridges of Grisedale Pike, Hopegill Head and Whiteside, with the mass of Skiddaw to the East.
On the Donald 1774 map, the location of Low Hall is clearly marked, along with "Green Trees" (which still stands at the end of the drive). There is no drive and the nearest roads are at" Branling Gill" and "Hundith Hill". In 1774, the buildings here are named "Abbey", and this is echoed today in Abbeygate Bridge at the end of the drive, and Abbeygate house just beyond the Bridge. The Abbey was also the name given to a large area of common land that ran between Embleton and Low Hall.
The farmhouse was substantially extended in the 1890's when a Victorian extension was added to the main building, two Victorian barns were built and the Victorian outbuildings that are now the Cottage at Low Hall were added. The plaque above the entrance to the Victorian barns reads 1891 FR and JS. It carries an ancient Masons mark. The same mark appears on the plaque on the cottage when it was converted in 1991, exactly one hundred years later.
The farm was owned by Brandlingill Manor, a grand old building in Brandlingill, now demolished. It was let out to tenant farmers, and for the last 100 years was rented by the Mossop family. The 1881 census shows the head of the household was Clement Mossop, and he is shown on an old photograph in Low Hall dated 1890 with his wife, Elizabeth, son Walter, daughters, Frances and Annie, and grandson also named Clement. Annie taught at Eaglesfield school. The last person to be born at Low Hall was Margaret Mossop, who attended the same school, left the house aged 21 years when she married William Steele who she met at school and moved to Crag End Farm three miles away. She did not step foot into Low Hall again until 2004. When she died in 2007, flowers from the gardens and fields of her childhood were sent to her family who still farm at Crag End.
The Cottage was converted from the farm outbuildings in 1991 by Hugh and Enid Davies, for their own use. At the time Hugh was Medical Director at West Cumberland Hospital, and Enid provided renowned luxury bed and breakfast accommodation from Low Hall. The kitchen, entrance hall (with original dovecote) and the bedroom above are thought to date back about 400 years. When the kitchen was refitted in 2007, the original "cornerstone" or medieval foundation stone was uncovered. It sits below one of the kitchen cupboards on the left as you enter the kitchen.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading a little of the history of our cottage. Why not come and explore it yourself. To check availability or to book please click here.