“Thou standest a monument of strength sublime,
A giant, laughing at the threats of time”
The Hall is a Pele Tower/fortified tower house, and named after the original owners, the Irton Family, who held it until the male line died out.
The Hall was the Manorial seat of the Irton family, and it sits near the River Irt. It is a quadrangular tower made of local granite which measures about 10 m by 6.7 m and stands 20.1 meters high with the walls 1.7 meters thick. The top is castellated. There are extensive views form the Hall across Cumbria, to the Isle of Mann and to Scotland.
Originally it comprised of two storeys with a basement which contains a vaulted ceiling. There is a chimney in the west corner and a newel staircase in the south corner. The first floor held the main hall. There was possibly a defensive ditch or structure around the outer perimeter of the site. A ditch does remain in the park and this may belong to earlier fortification of the site, and it was recorded that there were ‘8 towers of Irton’ (Jefferson 1842).
The extended Hall was once home to an extensive library called the Irton Hall Library, but all the contents were destroyed once the family line died out, on a great big bonfire in the grounds!
Here is the timeline of the site and the amazing people associated with it.
1066 After: Land granted to the d’Yrton family.
* Richard d’Yrton is the first mentioned of the family at the site
c.1100 Bartram d’Yrton granted some lands to the Abbey at York.
* Bartram passed and his son, Adam d’Yrton inherited. He married Joan Stutville.
1096 Adam is recorded in texts as having been a Knight’s Hospitaller who accompanied Godfrey of Boulogne to the Holy Land where he apparently killed a Sarsen General hence the images of Sarsens at Irton Hall.
* Adam was succeeded by his son, Hugh d’Yrton. He married Gertrude Tiliol whose family held Scaleby Castle.
* Hugh d’Yrton was succeeded by his son Edmund, who went on Crusade with Richard I. Unfortunately, he died on the Crusade. He had married the daughter of Edmund Dudley before heading off and produced a male heir, Stephen.
* Stephen d’Yrton succeeded his father to Irton Hall. He married Jane Dacre and produced three sons – Roger, Randolph and Thomas. Roger was the heir; Randolph went into the Church. He began as a priest at Rouen in Normandy, then was Prior at Gisburn. He was a confidential Commissioner to Edward I, and instrumental in the marriage between Prince Edward and Queen Margaret of Scotland.
1262 Stephen d’Yrton was Constable at Tuttesbury.
1280 Randolph d’Yrton became Bishop of Carlisle.
1281 Randolph d’Yrton recovered the Manor and church of Dalton through legal proceedings.
1292 Randolph d’Yrton died at Linstock
* Stephen d’Yrton died and was succeeded by his eldest son, Roger, who married and produced a male heir.
* William d’Yrton succeeded his father, Roger. He married Grace Hanmer and produced a male heir.
* Roger succeeded William. He married Susan, the daughter of Sir Alexander Braithwaite, who was killed at the Battle of Dunbar in 1296. With the marriage came the manors of Basinthwaite, Loweswater and Unthank. The marriage produced a son, Adam.
* Adam succeeded his father. He married Elizabeth, the heiress to Sir John Copeland. The marriage added the manors of Berker, Berby and Senton to the family’s holdings. Adam’s father in law, Sir John Copeland, was captured at Neville’s Cross in 1346 by David, King of Scotland. The marriage produced 2 sons, Richard and Alexander. Adam rebuilt much of the Hall. Increased the height to 4 storeys.
1327-1377 Between: Built in granite.
* Richard succeeded his father. He married Margaret, daughter of John Broughton, Staffordshire. They had a son.
* Christopher succeeded his father and was titles Christopher Irton of Irton. He married Margaret, daughter of Richard Redman of Herwood Castle, and produced a son.
* Nicholas succeeded his father. He married the daughter of William Dykes of Wardell. They produced a son.
1434 Nicholas is mentioned in the list of Gentry.
* John succeeded his father. He married Anne, daughter of Sir Thomas Lamplugh, Knight. They produced a son.
1464 John refused to give access to Henry VI after he fled from the Battle of Hexham.
* William succeeded his father. He married one of the daughters of the Fleming family and produced a son.
1493 William was appointed General to the Duke of Gloucester, and his deputy Lieutenant.
* Thomas succeeded his father. He fought at Flodden and was Knighted on the field by the Earl of Surrey.
1503 Thomas Irton was killed in a skirmish at Kelso.
* Thomas succeeded his father. He married Anne, daughter of Sir William Middleton, Knight, they produced a son.
1531 Thomas was appointed High Sheriff of Cumberland.
c.1544 Richard Irton held the Hall, Manor and town of Irton. He was married and produced a son.
* Christopher succeeded his father.
1543 Christopher married Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Malory, Studeley Park. They produced a son.
* John succeeded his father.
1577 John married Dorothy, daughter of Roger Kirkby of Furness.
* John succeeded his father, John.
1638 John married Anne, the sister of Sir Henry Ponsonby, ancestor of the Earl of Besborough.
1644 John supported the garrison at Carlisle Castle during the Civil War.
1649-1651 Between: Visited by Oliver Cromwell.
* John was succeeded by his son, John.
1658 John married Elizabeth, daughter of Musgrave of Meatrig.
1667 John’s son, John, was born.
* John died and was succeeded by his son George. He married Elizabeth, daughter of David Poole esq. and produced a son.
* George succeeded his father, George.
1675 George was in London to celebrate the return of Charles II. It was reported that he kissed the hand of the new King.
1695 George married Elizabeth, daughter of David Poole esq. They produced 2 sons and 5 daughters.
1716 Samuel, the future heir was born.
1749 George died and was succeeded by his son, Samuel. He married Frances, daughter of Robert Tubman of Cockermouth. They produced 3 sons and 3 daughters.
1764 Samuel updated and renovated Irton Hall.
1765 Samuel was appointed High Sheriff of Cumberland.
1766 Samuel died in London and was succeeded by his son Edmund Lamplugh Irton.
* Edmund led a very extravagant lifestyle and was forced to sell of much of the family land holdings to support this.
1792 Edward Lamplugh Irton surveyed and recoded much of Hardknot Castle, Cumbria – the Roman fort.
1796 Samuel was born.
1808 The Parish was enclosed.
1808 Irton Hall won a prize for planting the most trees within its grounds – 15,000 oaks and some larch were planted in just one year!
1820 Edmund died and was succeeded by Samuel.
1825 Samuel married Eleanor, 2nd daughter of Joseph Tiffin Senhouse, of Calder Abbey. They produced no heirs. During his lifetime he relocated the entranceway of Irton Hall.
* Samuel was the Commissioner for the Peace for Cumberland.
1833-1847 Samuel was a Member of Parliament for Cumberland.
1852-1856 Samuel was a Member of Parliament for Cumberland.
1872 Irton Hall was sold to Mr. J. L. Burns-Lindow of Ingwall. The infamous Library of Irton Hall was burned, along with many of the documents relating to the Irton family and their history at the Hall through the generations. He remodeled and enlarged the Hall, added the west wing, removed the Irton coat of arms, and rebuilt the stables.
1874 Rebuilt and enlarged, a gatehouse was added.
1893 Mr. J. L. Burns-Lindow died
1895 The Estate purchased by Thomas Brocklebank.
1967 Field Investigation.
1967-1980’s Used as a school for children with Cerebral Paulsey.
21st C Holiday accommodation.
This site has such an amazing history, and the family really did stay the course. Such a shame that the line died out. Most distressing, I believe, was the burning of the family documents and the history of the site. A real loss to the nation.
References & Bibliography
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Burne. A. H. 2005. The Battlefields of England. Pen & Sword.
Dodds. D. 2006. Northumbria at War. Casemate Publishers.
Eggenberger. D. 1985. An Encyclopedia of Battles: Accounts of Over 1,560 Battles from 1479 B.C. to the Present. Courier Corporation.
Furguson. R. S. 1874. The Heraldry of Cumberland and Westmorland. Transactions of the Cumberland & Westmorland Antiquarian & Archeological Society, Volume 1. pp.300-317.
Goodman. A. 2017. The Wars of the Roses. Routledge.
Ivision. H. C. 2010. Supernatural Cumbria. Amberley Publishing Limited.
Jefferson. S. 1842. The History and Antiquities of Cumberland: Allerdale Ward above Derwent. S. Jefferson.
Johnson. L. 2019. Shadow King: The Life and Death of Henry VI. Head of Zeus Ltd.
Kirkup. R. 2011. Ghostly Cumbria. The History Press.
Kristen. C. 2014. Ghost Trails of the Lake District and Cumbria. Andrews UK Limited.
Kristen. C. 2014. Battle Trails of Northumbria. Andrews UK Limited.
Lewis. M. 2015. The Wars of the Roses: The Key Players in the Struggle for Supremacy. Amberley Publishing Limited.
Murray. A. V. 1992. The army of Godfrey of Bouillon, 1096-1099: Structure and dynamics of a contingent on the First Crusade. In: Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire, tome 70, fasc. 2, 1992. Histoire médiévale, moderne et contemporaine — Middeleeuwse, moderne en hedendaagse geschiedenis. pp. 301-329.
Parker. MD. C. A. 1926. The Gosforth District: Its Antiquities and Places of Interest. Titus Wilson & Son.
Pettifer. A. 2002. English Castles: A Guide by Counties. Boydell & Brewer.
Shirley. E. P. 1866. The Noble and Gentle Men of England; The Arms and Descents. John Bower Nichols and Sons.
Spooner. S. 2015. Regions and Designed Landscapes in Georgian England. Routledge.
Wagner. J. A., & Wagner. E. 2011. Encyclopedia of the Wars of the Roses. ABC-CLIO.
Whellan. W. 1860. The History and Topography of the Counties of Cumberland and Westmoreland: With Furness and Cartmel, in Lancashire, Comprising Their Ancient and Modern History, a General View of Their Physical Character, Trade, Commerce, Manufactures, Agricultural Condition, Statistics, Etc., Etc. W. Whellan & Company.
White. F. A. 1871. The Civil Service History of England; Revised and Enlarged by H.A. Dobson. Lockwood & Co.
White. J. P. 1873. Lays and Legends of the English Lake Country: With Copious Notes. J. R. Smith.
We’ve just discovered that my husband is descended from the Irtons via Martha b 1766 to Samuel. It’s all fascinating information.
How awesome! What an amazing connection – and one you should continue to research!