Visit to Whelprigg House, near Kirkby Lonsdale

1 May 2013
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

By courtesy of the owner, Mr Henry Bowring, a visit was arranged to this fine house built in 1834 for the Gibson family. The architect was George Webster, who also built Rigmaden, another fine property visible across the valley. The house is ‘Jacobethan’ in style with an extension added in about 1910 (with an ornate reset datestone EMG 1700). The south and west faces are gabled with mullion and transom windows. On the east side is part of an earlier building with Gothick windows. A coach house and farm buildings stand nearby. The house sits well under the hills rising behind it and blends in comfortably with its surroundings. Relatively few gentry houses were built in this time period of difficult economic circumstances. The name perhaps derives from the northern Scottish word ‘whaup’ meaning curlew.

The informal gardens use water from the stream to operate under gravity a fountain in a pond. A rotatable garden summer-house gives far-reaching views over the valley to the west. A walled garden is now grassed over but presented us with a display of daffodils and narcissi, very late this year due to the long cold winter.

The house has an entrance hall with large doors each side leading to the dining room and a living room, each with ornate plasterwork ceilings, well-lit and with attractive door mouldings and other period features, including a recessed built-in sideboard in the dining room. The top-lit main hall with its staircase and balcony above is now a comfortable ‘lounging’ room with a welcoming open fire. Leading away is a very attractive library with fine glazed door shelving for the books, and then a ‘smoking room’. There are a few hinged opening windows, rather than sash windows.

The party of 23 were then offered refreshments by Mr Bowring after a visit which was made most interesting by the stories told and the recounting of the history of the house and its contents.

Whelprigg House

Whelprigg House