Last weekend I finally took a short trip into town to take some photos of the stunning ruins of Workington Hall. This place had been on my list ever since I moved to Workington, having picked up a leaflet on the history trail you can walk around the town.
Nestled in amongst the beautiful grounds laden with stunning flowers and blossoming trees (a post to follow on those!), this crumbling building almost seems out of place sitting in the centre of the busy town.
A Grade I listed building, there were plenty of warning signs scattered around the outside of the ruins, urging people not to stay too long to admire them, and each turn revealed more interesting detail hidden in amongst the stones. A peel tower (fortified keeps or tower houses generally used as watches) was built here in 1362, but the present house dates back to 1404 - making it precious indeed!
I did a little bit of research on this place and apparently Mary Queen of Scots took shelter here while she wrote a letter to Elizabeth I after the defeat of her forces at the Battle of Langside. Mary had crossed the Solway Firth and landed at Workington, spending her night as an honoured guest at the Hall, before being escorted to Carlisle Castle - all at the young age of 25! Walking around it was easy to daydream about the things this place must have seen.
Walking around and peering through the windows the insides were overgrown with ferns and other plants, giving it a really mystical feel. Add to that the mini forest growing around the back section of the ruins and it's easy to feel transported back to that time. Unfortunately there had been some damage to the back of the building, mostly graffiti, which explained the urgency to steer clear of the ruins - I hope the conservation team managing the site are able to remove the graffiti at some point.
Throughout the 19th century the Hall belong the Curwen family - namely John Christian Curwen, who spent much of his time as an MP for Carlisle until around 1820. The Hall remained in their family until 1929 when it was passed over to the Chance family through marriage.
At the start of WWII the Hall was requisitioned by the War Office and suffered a catastrophic fire while solders were staying there. After this the building was passed over to Workington Borough Council to use as a town hall but this never came to fruition.
It's always astounding to me to imagine these places in their prime and how many people and events have passed through here. I will definitely be going back again to get some more photos and spend a bit longer walking the paths through the park.
Lining up with Jen for Photo Friday.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!