Last week we had a wonderful opportunity of staying at an old historic farmhouse in the Lake District — thanks to our friend, Kevin Price. The farmhouse is located in Crook, a tiny village in the South Lakeland District of Cumbria, between Kendal and Windermere.
The History of Crook Hall
The farm stands on the site of a much earlier medieval farm (Thwatterden Hall). In later times the legendary Philipson family lived here for over 200 years: one of whom was knighted by King Charles II. An illegitimate son of the same King owned the property at one time.
Robert Philipson was born at Crook Hall. He was nicknamed ‘Robert (or Robin) the Devil’ because of his daring exploits including riding into Kendal Parish Church on horseback to seek his enemy during the Civil War. The helmet hanging on the church wall is believed to be his. Another member of the Philipson family was imprisoned because of his Royalist beliefs.
The house once had its own ‘Priest Hole’ and William Wordsworth, the famous poet, was once a frequent visitor to the farm. The present owners are the Metcalfe family, whose diversification plans have been featured several times on television.
Dating from the 15th Century, with later additions, the spacious farmhouse has several original features including magnificent oak panelling in the Dining Room, old beams and a period staircase. (History taken from the farmhouse website.)
It is a working farmhouse and the Metcalfe family have impressively been able to maintain the seamless blend of a farmhouse character and contemporary luxury of a modern home.
The owners, Richard & Pat Metcalfe; our friend, Kevin Price; and Jared, chatting in one of the three living/dining area. All four of them are quite tall but as you can see, the house has low ceilings and old beams which are original features of the house. Kevin is a good friend of the Metcalfes and he lives in a Victorian cottage that’s only about half a mile away from Crook Hall.
This door, original to the house, was discovered when they were doing some renovations. I can only imagine that people in the 15th century weren’t very tall because houses like this, at least the ones I’ve visited, have low-ceilings that even the floor to ceiling doors are quite tiny as well.
One of the original fireplaces. I like those old beams and all the other 15th century original wooden features in this room.
The house has a very thick wall and each room has old beams that give the whole house an extraordinary old world charm.
One of the three reception/sitting rooms with couches, tables and chairs where you can sit and watch tv or have breakfast.
Notice the spindles . . . all slightly different and unique.
This staircase leads to the loft/third floor with two bedrooms and it used to be the ‘Priest Hole.’ That is, the place where the owner of the house used to hide the priest when they had him over for a secret mass and communion. During this period, English Reformation – 16th century, it was illegal for anyone to conduct or attend mass anywhere. Anyone caught conducting or attending mass even in the privacy of his or her own home would be killed. Hence, the owner of the farmhouse had a ‘Hole’ where they would hide the priest. For those who didn’t know about English history, in 1534 King Henry VIII (the infamous king with six wives) decided to break away from the Roman Catholic Church simply because the Pope wouldn’t allow him to divorce his first wife, the Spanish Princess Catherine of Aragon. Consequently, King Henry VIII declared himself a ‘Pope’ in his own right and started his own religion — ‘Church of England’ aka Anglican Church. So there — snippets of Tudor history for you. 😉
All of the bedrooms have bay windows where you can sit down to capture the birds singing or the lambs playing or to simply revel in the stunning scenery.
Each room is unique and noticeably different.
Mrs Metcalfe did a great job blending modern trends with inherited period furniture pieces and items that have sentimental importance to her and her family — that is what makes this home very unique.
The house is so big with three living/dining rooms; two kitchens, sunroom/conservatory/office, utility room, and several bedrooms. They have decorated the walls with framed photographs, paintings and other artworks.
One of the many bathrooms.
I like the big windows in this kitchen with lots of natural light coming through the house. It’s facing towards another cottage, home of the Metcalfe’s oldest son. The house is surrounded with stunning landscape. This photograph was taken from one of the bedrooms. Gorgeous scenery even when the sky is grey. 🙂
On top of the hill is remnants of an old church building.
One of the three barns.
A large stack of hay.
They have lambs, horses and other animals around the farm. It is indeed an idyllic English farmhouse set in stunning landscape with wide expanse of grazing land that stretches miles away into the distance. As you drive the winding and narrow country lane you will see a breathtaking view of the valley.
As we were leaving I said to the Metcalfes, “You’re so blessed to live in a very charming house. I could actually see myself living here.” 😉
We’ll certainly be back to Crook Hall Farm!
Note: During the spring and summer months, the Metcalfe family rents out 3 of their many bedrooms (I don’t recall how many bedrooms they have) to guests from around the world. Their website is very simple and don’t do justice to the magnificence of the house and the surrounding countryside. Please check this out if you’re interested.