Sunday, 26 February 2017

Bank Hall (Permission visit)

Bank Hall is located on the A59 in between Tarleton and Bretherton. Bank Hall Action Group was set up in 1995 to try to save the Jacobean Mansion at Bank Hall. It has been taken over by The Friends Of Bank Hall who have various events during the year to raise money, one of which is "Snowdrop Sundays" which I attended, with Judderman and his partner in crime, curious to see the remains of the building as well as the snowdrops.

 The History of the building:  In the mid 13th century, the de Banastrè family purchased the land that became the Bank Hall Estate in 1240. There is no information on what was built at Bank except that  it was likely to have been a partial stone and partial wooden structure. It is also thought that it may have been moated. Bank Hall was a two-and-a-half storey brick built house with roofs of Cumbrian slate standing in formerly ornamental parkland. It has a north-facing entrance front and south-facing garden front.

The earliest identifiable phase of the present building dates from the early 17th century and is characterised by brick work in English garden wall bond. The ground consists of a four-bay hall with a parlour to the west and wing containing two rooms to the east.

The following information is unashamedly copied directly from the Bank Hall website.
"In 1832-33 the house was extensively remodelled, probably by the Kendal-based architect, George Webster, in an early example of 19th-century Jacobean style. The main entrance porch on the north side, a drawing room wing at the west end, extensive service accommodation at the east and probably the north wing, were all added in this phase. At the same time the south face or garden front was considerably altered. The angle formed by the 17th century house and the west wing was infilled in the late-19th century.
The Lilford family who inherited the Hall in 1860 never fully occupied the Hall as a residence but they maintained it until the late 19th Century when they decided to rent it out.  During the second World War the Hall was used by the military and after it was handed back to the Estate, occupation was primarily by the Estate Managers in the East wing.  Last occupied in 1971 it has since been left to the vandals and weather precipitating its decline to its present state."

"The Hall is no longer occupied and has deteriorated to a very poor reflection of its former glory. Gone are the lime trees which flanked the drive to the front door. Gone are the stone lions that faithfully stood guard. The giant cedar with its huge spreading branches no longer casts its graceful shadow over the pleasure grounds. The tall chimneys have become overgrown with ivy, which has now claimed more than half of the building. The majestic clock tower has lost its northerly elevation which has fallen into the stairwell below, crashing through the seventeenth-century oak staircase. Dry rot has penetrated the fabric of the building with whole sections of the floor falling down and rain pouring through gaping holes in the roof."

I hope that the Friends of Bank Hall manage to renovate the Hall in some way but I am also quite sceptical as not much has changed since 1995 apart from the scaffolding. We will see . . .

The snowdrops were prolific and quite wonderful. There were carpets of them dotted around the large woodland grounds.

Despite the lousy, drizzly weather, I enjoyed our mooch around the grounds and hope to be able to return in the summer.