History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Lilac House

A Grade II* Listed Building in Kirkbride, Cumbria

We don't have any photos of this building yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »


Latitude: 54.9013 / 54°54'4"N

Longitude: -3.2033 / 3°12'11"W

OS Eastings: 322936

OS Northings: 556944

OS Grid: NY229569

Mapcode National: GBR 6C2R.9T

Mapcode Global: WH6YT.R2TG

Entry Name: Lilac House

Listing Date: 6 January 2011

Grade: II*

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1396397

English Heritage Legacy ID: 508778

Location: Kirkbride, Allerdale, Cumbria, CA7

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale

Civil Parish: Kirkbride

Built-Up Area: Kirkbride

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Kirkbride St Bride

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle

Find accommodation in

Listing Text


B5307 (East side)


House, C17 refurbished in the early C18. Outbuildings including a later C16 barn and C18 or C19 byre, stable and cowshed.

MATERIALS: House: clay lower walls with hand-made brick upper walls, now rendered; graduated slate roof with brick axial gable and ridge stacks. Outbuildings: clay, brick, corrugated metal and stone with asbestos and slate roofs.

PLAN: The house is rectangular in plan and has evolved from a cross passage form to a rear outshut plan. Outbuildings include an L-shaped dairy and rectangular byre, stable, cowshed and barn.

EXTERIOR: The house has three bays and two storeys; the left and centre bays have a single ground- and first-floor window opening with four-pane horned replacement sash frames and the centre bay also has a small rectangular six-paned stair window. The right bay, which rises above the others and has a separate roof, has a large cart entrance with double boarded doors and the words Francis Hall/Anne Hall/1721 inscribed on its lintel. There is a window opening above containing a four-pane replacement horned sash frame. Openings mostly have plain square stone dressings. An attached gate with simple piers and a low stone wall enclose a small garden to the front. There is a brick-built outshut attached to the rear of the house.

To the rear of this cottage there are three associated outbuildings: the first, constructed of hand-made brick, comprises a former dairy; this is abutted by a small byre and stable constructed of stone, brick and clay. The latter building is attached to the west wall of a large barn with a stone plinth and an attached brick-built cowshed. The west wall of this barn is of clay and has been raised with several brick courses. Both gables are of brick and the rear wall is of corrugated iron as is the roof covering. There is a blocked doorway with stone dressings in the south gable and a small brick-built lean-to is attached to the north gable. A wooden lintel in the centre of the west wall indicates the site of an original door, now partially occupied by a smaller wooden door and timber lintel.

INTERIOR: The rear outshut contains a small kitchen to the right flanked by a short passage leading to the main entrance; the latter has a substantial oak double thickness door with spearhead-shaped strap hinges. The outer face contains c3-400 iron studs, an original circular latch and a knocker. The inner face has a timber lock case. The lintel has the initials and date H/F A/R H/1721 painted onto it. This entrance gives access to a stair passage formed by an inserted plank-and-muntin partition to first floor level with square panelling above, separating it from the living accommodation to the right. The first of the two living rooms are entered through a decorative door case; the first room has exposed oak beams, an infilled inglenook , window shutters and some wide plank-and-muntin panelling on the rear wall. A short passage around the concealed inglenook leads to the second room which has a Victorian timber fire surround and grate. The first floor is reached via a closed-string straight-flight oak stair with hand-turned balusters and a moulded handrail. The first floor plan mirrors that of the ground floor with a landing at the top of the stairs and two rooms off to the right. The first room is entered via a panelled door and has a large panelled bed recess and a stone chimneypiece. The second room is entered through a panelled door and, as on the ground floor, by a short passage around the enclosed inglenook. This room has a plain stone fireplace. To the left of the stairs a third bedroom, over the cart entrance passage below, is reached via several steps.

The interior of the stable retains a wooden stall, trough and manger. The barn retains its original roof structure comprising a pair of full crucks, the tops tenoned into the underside of the yokes, and there is a small loft at the north end.

HISTORY: The Solway Plain in northern Cumbria contains the only substantial surviving remnant (c300 examples) of a clay building tradition that was once common throughout northern England and southern Scotland. These clay buildings or 'Dabbins' are a distinctive type of vernacular architecture and although many date from the C17, dendrochronology (tree ring dating) has indicated that the earliest dates for these buildings can be pushed back to the C15.

This house originally comprised a C17 two-roomed, single-storey clay-walled cottage of probable cross passage form and is thought to have had a full cruck thatched roof. The timbers forming the cruck barn to the rear of the house have been dated by dendrochronology to c1574, and other outbuildings are thought to have been constructed by at least the early years of the C18. By 1721, the cottage had been raised in hand-made brick and remodelled; the plan was altered by blocking access to the cross passage, and the more southerly of the two rooms was divided by a timber partition to create a narrow hall housing a stair to the upper storey. The main access to the house became a doorway through the rear wall into the stair passage. An outshut was added to the rear of the house and a cart entrance, with a room above, was attached to the south wall. The lintel above the cart entrance carries the inscription 1721 and the names Francis and Anne Hall. This date stone is considered to date the cart entrance and room above but also indicates that the remodelling of the cottage to create a first floor and stair access must have occurred by at least this time as the new bedroom is accessed from the stair. The stair appears to be of later C17/early C18 form, and there are suggestions that it might have been re-used and re-modelled to fit Lilac House. Other carpentry such as shutters and panelling, and a first-floor chimneypiece are characteristic of the early C18.

It is possible that Lilac House may be the 'Kirkbride' building referred to in Terriers of 1663 and 1704; if so it functioned as the Parsonage and the Terrier of 1704 describes it as: 'One Dwelling House, one barn and a Byre, two other outhouses, called the Parlour and the little Bean Barn'. The Hall family are thought to have occupied the building until the mid-C19 when the 1861 census records that the house was occupied by the Carr family who ran a cobbler business and a small farm until 2000.

R Howard, pers comm, ntrdl: Nottingham Tree-Ring Dating Laboratory (2010)
N Jennings, Clay Dabbins: Vernacular Buildings of the Solway Plain (2003)
N Jennings, Lilac House and West Winds unpublished report (2000)
Oxford North, Clay Buildings On The Cumbria Solway Plain, Extensive Survey (2006)

This C17 clay-walled building, raised and remodelled in the early C18, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:

* Materials: it is a rare example of a formerly more widespread northern English clay building tradition which is now largely confined to the Solway Plain

* Internal fixtures and fittings: it contains internal features of a quality and completeness above the norm, including the rare survival of a box bed.

* Plan Form: it is an evolved building which clearly illustrates the development of its original long house plan to that of an early C18 higher status two-storey dwelling

* Outbuildings: it has an associated C16 partially clay-walled cruck barn and early C18 dairy, stable and byre.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Recommended Books

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.