A visit to Blencow Hall in July 1929

In the summer of 1929 Sidney & Catherine Blencowe (parents of Jill Dudbridge) accompanied by Sidney's sister Eveline and her husband Tom Wales ( Tricia Wales' grandparents), spent almost a week at Blencow. The trip has been recorded in such detail that it would more than fill the newsletter. However, with our trip to Blencow looming I will share excerpts of Sidney's experience with you. Note how our language usage has changed since 1929. His description of the Courtyard is well illustrated by this Circa 1710 oil painting and probably not a lot had changed in the 210 years.


Blencowe Hall from the West; an oil painting by Matthew Read ,circa 1710

Following a description similar to the 1906 article in Vol.24 No2 May 2009, Sidney writes:

"These towers are connected by a central portion which forms the bar of an H; this link includes part of the original building which has been restored and made habitable; it now houses a tenant farmer named Samuel Todd who has been in occupation 18 years.

On the northern side of the Courtyard is a quadrangle some 30 yards square. The western side of the Courtyard is enclosed by a prolongation of the tower towards the North through which is the only entrance consisting of an archway which was obviously protected by a portcullis, the guard room being on one side and servants quarters on the other, the servants' bedrooms forming its upper storey.

The Courtyard on the Northern side is flanked by a wall with a small chapel extending from the North West angle, while the western enclosure is a wall.

In the centre of the Courtyard, according to history, a baptistery originally existed, which contained pure water. I am inclined to think it was a temporary watering place for horses in time of the short sieges' which occurred periodically during border warfare. It's clear and plentiful supply is now tapped at the North Eastern angle of the Court. Further buildings extend in a North Eastern direction and which now form a farm homestead."

Sidney goes on to describe the arms and motto above the door and agrees that the building was constructed circa 1590.

Original Blencow Hall "Although the family, according to Burke and local opinion, was resident in the district, i.e. Great Blencowe, since the 13th century a few hundred yards distant where ruins of an anterior "Blencowe Hall" still exist." I wonder if these ruins are still there.

ìThe Blencowe Burial Ground lies some 250 yards to the South East of the Eastern Tower and on the opposite side of the road. The site is discernable by the traces of an enclosure presumably a stone wall. In its centre is a mound some 10 feet in altitude above the natural ground level whose base diameter is about 15 yards. A stone cross or monument originally crowned the mound and the indentation of the cavity of its foundation is still traceable.

This burial ground is now within the land of a tenancy of a man named Graham whose family have resided at their present homestead for 170 years and is included in the Greystoke castle Estate.

Graham informed me that his grandmother remembered the Burial Ground in perfect order, and that its disappearance is accountable by the migration of the Blencowes in 1802 when the property was sold to the Duke of Norfolk, followed by the lack of interest in the family.

The Blencowe dead are interred at the foot of and to the Northern side of the mound. The whole enclosure comprised an area of approximately 1600 square yards.

A treasure trove! Graham mentioned that his grandfather, when ploughing unearthed a treasure of an amount sufficient for him to purchase a farm in the neighbourhood, and that his great uncle, as a boy, when playing on the walls of the tower, discovered a box containing 100 guineas.

The Blencowe property originally contained over forty farms."

So the Grahams found our Blencow fortune. Those of us who missed out on the Blencowe Breweries inheritance could say it was déjà vu!

Thank you to Tricia Wales for sharing the family document. I'll include more next time.


A Short Note

I enjoy receiving the newsletter. Maybe sometime we could hear from our New Zealand relatives? Perhaps some short stories re their arrival and departure from other countries

Mavis Blinco