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A Grade II Listed Building in Beckermet, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.4457 / 54°26'44"N

Longitude: -3.5158 / 3°30'56"W

OS Eastings: 301802

OS Northings: 506646

OS Grid: NY018066

Mapcode National: GBR 3KW1.M3

Mapcode Global: WH5ZN.YJZ6

Plus Code: 9C6RCFWM+7M

Entry Name: Ingleberg

Listing Date: 1 July 2021

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1473399

ID on this website: 101473399

Location: Beckermet, Cumberland, Cumbria, CA21

County: Cumbria

District: Copeland

Civil Parish: Beckermet

Built-Up Area: Beckermet

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Tagged with: House


House, 1900 to designs of J S Moffat of Whitehaven for Thomas Robley. Stencilled work by Richard Smith of Beckermet.


House, 1900 to designs of J S Moffat of Whitehaven for Thomas Robley. Stencilled work by Richard Smith of Beckermet.

MATERIALS: red sandstone, rendered, with red sandstone ashlar dressings; slate roofs.

PLAN: the house is located on an elevated site, set back from the road and surrounded by extensive gardens. It is roughly rectangular on plan with a central entrance and stair hall.

EXTERIOR: a three-bay two-storey house with attic and partial basement, prominent ashlar quoins and moulded stone bands, beneath hipped and pitched roofs with tall end stacks and some ridge tiles with finials. The central entrance of the main elevation is reached by stone steps flanked by low, coped flanking walls. The segmental-arched entrance has a hood mould, label stops and carved foliate ornamentation. There are double-leaf, five-panel timber doors, the upper pair panels and a fanlight all have stained glass. A dentilled cornice carries a balustraded balcony above. The right, and the slightly projecting gabled left end bay each has a canted bay window with a cross window to the centre flanked by a margin light to each side, and a solid parapet above a dentilled cornice. There are paired three-light first floor windows to both end bays and a single identical window to the centre, all within stone architraves with alternate blocking and solid lintels with ornate chamfered heads. A crest bearing the initials T R E (Thomas and Elizabeth Robley) is set centrally between a pair of stone bands to the apex of the gabled bay. There is a single, pedimented roof dormer. The three-bay left return with a projecting end bay has groups of paired or single two-light windows to each floor, all in similar architraves to the main elevation, but with curvilinear aprons. There is a tall decorative chimneystack with a broken pediment to its base and a carved swag and the date 1900 set within a plaque below. The flush, three-bay right return is similarly detailed, but with fewer windows and without decorative aprons or a pedimented chimney base. The rear elevation has a blind right end bay and plain centre and left bays, with cat-slide and hipped roof respectively and multiple chimney stacks. The latter has an attached single-storey bay with hipped roof.

INTERIOR: there are four-panel doors, deep, moulded cornices and skirting boards throughout, with classical dados and friezes to all principal ground floor spaces and the landing, and stained Art Nouveau glass. The vestibule has a timber and stained glass screen with a single door, and a coloured geometric tiled floor. The walls have a classical stencilled dado in the form of a balustrade, incorporating urns, flowers and leaves, a stencilled floral and foliate frieze, and opposing, moulded door cases with ornate, broken pediments. The stencilled dado and frieze continue into the stair hall and up the inner stairwell to the first floor landing. The quarter-turn, closed string staircase with a panelled spandrel, has turned balusters, a moulded handrail and ornate newel posts and drops. The drawing room also has a deep, stencilled Art Nouveau frieze of roses with above the door a stencilled inscription reading: 'Gather ye rosebuds while ye may'. There is a picture rail below. This room retains an original, ornate timber chimney piece, extensively carved with columns, figures and scrolled motifs, with a mirrored overmantle of similar ornate design. It retains an original grate with art nouveau tiled margins. Two areas of timber baffled seating have upper glazed Art Nouveau panels. The dining room retains an original timber chimney piece with a bracketed mantle shelf and jambs richly carved with flowers and fruit. It also has a picture rail and anaglypta dado and rail. The door retains original door furniture including a door knob and ornate metal door plates depicting trees and birds. The kitchen retains an original red sandstone fireplace, picture rail, fitted cupboards and a timber dado. The breakfast room has an anaglypta dado and frieze and retains a painted slate chimney piece (painted to resemble the burr walnut panelling of the doors) with a bracketed mantle shelf and a timber, pedimented overmantle. The substantial four-panel door also retains ornate metal door plates and an original door knob, and there are original light switches and bell pushes. A service corridor runs between the former scullery and the breakfast room and retains original carpentry including a sound-proofed door, skirting boards and dado rail.

The first floor landing has a coved and ribbed plaster ceiling and is lit by a large Art Nouveau stained glass roof light. It also has a stencilled dado and frieze matching those to the ground floor. Bedrooms mostly retain moulded cornices, skirting boards and picture rails. The south-east bedroom has an ornate stone chimney piece and ornate timber over mantle and retains a register grate with tiled margins, and the north-west bedroom has a marble chimney piece with bracketed mantle shelf and original register grate with tiled margins. There is poker work of foliate and floral design to the panelling of the lavatory.

SUBSIDIARY ITEMS: a low stone wall forming the south boundary has double-chamfered coping stones (railings removed). It curves to an inset opening at the left with tall stone gate piers and gates, to a wide opening at the right with three low stone gate piers, all with pyramidal caps.

This list entry was subject to a Minor Amendment on 4 November 2021 to update the name and address


Ingleberg was constructed as a detached villa in 1900 to designs of Joseph Smithson Moffat of Whitehaven, who worked both within Cumberland and more widely. His original plans for the building dated to October 1899 survive, and the house is claimed as the first in Beckermet to have electricity, and retains original brass light fittings. The house was built for Thomas Robley (1833-1902), a farmer from an established Cumbrian family, who had inherited money from an uncle. Elizabeth Smith Robley was involved in its interior decoration and carved the dining room fireplace. She was also responsible for the original layout of the gardens, being a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society, and was a talented photographer who used the space beneath the staircase as a dark room. The internal stencilled work is considered to be by Richard Smith who lived in the village at the time and is recorded in the Directory of Cumberland published by T Bulmer and Co, Penrith in 1901. The Robley's daughter Mary was born at Ingleberg and later married Sir John Ponsonby, son of Sir Henry Ponsonby, who had been private secretary to Queen Victoria for 25 years.

In 1955 the house was sold to Thomas Tuohy CBE (1917-2008) who worked in the nuclear industry from 1946. He was the deputy general manager of Calder Hall and Windscale, and took charge of putting out the fire in one of the piles at Windscale in 1957, thereby averting a nuclear disaster. Although widely publicised at the time, it was not untl 2007 that this event and the bravery shown by Thomas Tuohy was celebrated, and it formed the subject of a TV documentary. The Tuohy family received many visitors at Ingleberg involved with the nuclear industry, including the Nobel Prize winner Sir John Cockcroft who stayed in 1962.

Mid-C20 modifications were made to the interior of the house, which were largely restored in the early C21 by the present owner. These include the uncovering and repairing of original friezes and reinstating the fixed, baffled seating to the drawing room which had been removed and stored. Part of this restoration included the creation of a '1950s room' in one of the bedrooms based on the owner's memory of the ground floor breakfast room. A bedroom was converted into an ensuite bathroom in the 1960s. Relevant C20 and early-C21 Ordnance Survey maps show that the house has an unchanged footprint down to the present day.

Reasons for Listing

Ingleberg, a detached villa of 1900, built to the designs of Joseph Smithson Moffat of Whitehaven, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* designed by regional architect Joseph Smithson Moffat of Whitehaven, it is a well-designed, well-executed and a virtually intact example of a late-Victorian villa;
* for its complete and intact original planform including principal reception rooms ranged around a central stair hall, and in which the hierarchy of the household is retained and well expressed;
* a wide range of original fixtures and fittings survive, including chimney pieces, joinery, plasterwork, and rarer survivals such as light switches, light fittings, door furniture and fixed seating to the drawing room;
* it is a very rare survival of a compelling, coherent and complete decorative scheme throughout including wall coverings, freezes, stencilled dados and pokerwork.

Historic interest:

* for its close historic association with Thomas Tuohy CBE (1917-2008) who received many prominent figures from the nuclear industry at Ingleberg, and whose actions at Windscale in 1957 averted a nuclear disaster.

External Links

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