Houses of Interest: Cumbria

Firstly, apologies to members of the Westmoreland and Cumberland separatist movements. For ease of writing, I am using the modern term 'Cumbria' rather than the historical counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland.

The opening salvo to the spiritual homeland of sticky toffee pudding entry, concerns Sizergh Castle.

The Castle is cared for by the National Trust, so expect a cafe, overpriced fudge, stunning gardens and the tartan blanket picnic brigade in attendance. Originally built as a peel tower in the fourteenth or fifteenth century the building has been extensively modified over the years.

Home of the Strickland family, recusant Catholics, they were supporters of the King. Sir Robert was commissioned Colonel in 1638 of a North Riding of Yorkshire Trained Band for service in the Bishops' Wars. In 1640 he would be commissioned to raise both a Regiment of Foot, and a Regiment of Horse for the King.

Sir Robert Strickland

It is thought that both these regiments were present at Edgehill, although that is by no means certain. (The History and antiquities of the counties of Westmoreland and Cumberland Vol 1, Joseph Nicolson and Richard Burn 1777) Sir Robert leading the Horse, and his son Thomas leading the Foot. 

What is certain is that both regiments marched to York in 1642 where they appear to have been based for the majority of the First Civil War.

What's there today?

I do recommend sitting through the welcome video presentation, normally I avoid such things, but there are a few treasures on display in the presentation room, as well as the backstory of their discovery. Plus I'd love to have free rein in the Castle's archive.

Civil War era pikemans' corselets, harquebusier cuirasses, a pair gorgets, and a random rerebrace

The original parts of the Castle probably are of most interest to the ECW afficiando, there are some obligatory pieces of militaria attached to the walls. 

A Toft plate celebrating the Restoration of Charles II

Elsewhere there is an impressive collection of Stuart portraiture, and some Toft pottery.

There are some fine examples of seventeenth century furniture dotted around the Castle, including a spinet (a mini harpsichord relative), and crib adorned with monsters.

Sweet dreams are made of this? Surely not.


Postcodes for SatNavs
Sizergh Castle, Kendal LA8 8DZ

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