Welcome to the Cumbria Vernacular Buildings Group Events Diary

Patron: The Hon. Philip Howard



For enquiries please contact Paul Lewis at paullewiscvbg@gmail.com

For membership and bookings, please contact Mike Turner at secretary@cvbg.co.uk

To follow us online, visit or join our facebook group Cumbria Vernacular Buildings Group and join in the conversation!

2023 Events



Monday 13th, 730pm

Zoom Talk Crag House, Eskdale, with Paul Lewis, on the recording and interpretation of a mid 17th century farmhouse, set within Eskdale's ancient landscape


Monday 6th, 730pm

Zoom Talk VAG 2015 Conference review, with June Hill, who recounts CVBG hosting the national conference of the Vernacular Architecture Group in 2015. It was a huge undertaking, five days for a hundred people, with three full day tours. A handbook was produced, and this will be shared with our members, many of whom have joined since 2015

Saturday 11th

Recording Day Bank Barn, Low House Farm, Newlands, with Paul Lewis Commencing with a short seminar on recoding methodology at the Moot Hall, Keswick the day will include a short visit to Newlands Church before recording and interpreting a bank barn attached to a Grade II listed 17th century farmhouse


Monday 17th, 1030am to 330pm

Study Day The Hearth. The hearth was the subject of CVBGs first study day in 2013 when the group founded. A series of papers will be given in Naworth Castle, the home of our patron the Hon Philip Howard. The publication produced in cooperation with the North Pennines AONB Fellfoot Forward project will also be launched.


Wednesday 10th, 2pm-4pm

Walkabout Little Asby Common, with Hannah Kingsbury. Over the last couple of years, a Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership project on Little Asby Common has involved two seasons of archaeological excavation, revealing a landscape of considerable time depth. The walk will take in prehistoric earthworks and the remains of medieval/post medieval farmsteads. 2km walk over undulating terrain and exposed limestone pavement, max 12 people.


Saturday 17th, Afternoon

Visit Grange Hall and the Old Rectory, Great Asby, with June Hill and Keith Cooper. A chance to visit a Grade II* listed 14 th century house with solar and later ecclesiastical alterations. The afternoon will include a visit to admire a Grade I listed grange farm with 14th century origins and pre reformation links to Bylands Abbey in Yorkshire. Optional pub lunch


Saturday 8th, 1.45pm-4pm

Visit The Ashes, Castle Sowerby. Visit to a fine Grade II* 16th century house with possible 15th century origins. It contains a wealth of historic features, including wall paintings. Refreshments will be provided and there is ample parking. Meet at Ivegill Parish Hall

Thursday 20th, 1030am-330pm (TBA)

Visit Harby Brow Tower and All Saints Church, Allhallows, with Paul Lewis. This day of vernacular building interpretation will span the 15th and 16th centuries, commencing with the fortified tower at Harby Brow then moving to the 16th century chapel on an adjoining estate; the chapel has its origins in events recorded in a romantic border ballad from trouble d times and links with a high ranking family at Harby Brow


Wednesday 16th, times TBA

Visit to Keld Chapel and Crake Trees Manor, near Shap, with Paul Lewis. With possible pre reformation links to Shap Abbey, this chapel has had several uses and adaptations. A visit to Crake Trees manor will provide an opportunity to appreciate the ruins of a 14th century tower house with later modifications


Annual General Meeting Lanercost Priory, Brampton, date to be confirmed


Monday 2nd, 730pm

Zoom Talk Vernacular features in the Westmorland Dales, with Hannah Kingsbury. CVBG committee member and Cultural Heritage Officer for the Westmorland Dales Landscape Partnership Scheme. Many of our members have been involved in Westmorland Dale projects and as the scheme comes to an end, the talk will review projects that have helped to reveal the vernacular heritage of the area


Monday 6th, 730pm

Zoom Talk One Woman's Buildings: the works of Lady Anne Clifford in Cumbria, with June Hill


Christmas Lunch Lunch in the Medieval hall at Dalemain, Stainton near Penrith, date to be confirmed

Booking Events

Annual events calendars are sent out to CVBG members early in the year. Our quarterly newsletters and email updates contain more detailed timetables, and booking forms covering the three months following the newsletter. There are booking deadlines in place, in advance of events dates, to ensure the correct numbers are catered for. Payments can be made by direct bank transfer or by cheque. Please click here for payment details.

Events 2019

Meetings in January and February were focussed on completing records for and writing up of previous building surveys. In March there was a study day which was part 2 of looking at Appleby's historic buildings as part of the town's Heritage Action Zone project. In April was a walkabout and visit to a house in Flookburgh, a stop-over point on the historic Morecambe Bay sands crossing. May saw a joint event with North Pennines AONB at Kirkoswald Castle and college, and in June we visited vernacular buildings of the 'debatable lands' at Canonbie. Mauds Meaburn was the subject of a 'villagescape' workshop in July and in August there was a joint event with the RSPB in Swindale and the Naddle valley. Newbiggin Hall was the venue for our seventh AGM in September. In October there was a visit to the Pennine-edge villages of Cumrew, Newbiggin and Croglin and in November we held a study day on the vernacular/polite interface at Burgh by Sands. Our Christmas visit to Isel Hall, followed by lunch at the Lakes Distillery, near Cockermouth.

Events 2018

We began the year with visits to Carlisle and Kendal archives in January and February, to find out about the kinds of documents useful for researching building histories. March saw a study day and walkabout in the village of Troutbeck, with former Lake District conservation officer Andy Lowe, focussing on historic doors and windows. In April there was a walkabout in Whitehaven, with Anna Grey, looking at how coal-mining and the growth of the port of Whitehaven affected the town's historic buildings. On a sunny day in May we visited Rydale Folk museum in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, where there are rescued, re-erected buildings including a medieval longhouse, an open hall manor and a cruck-built ling (heather-thatched) farmhouse. The month of June saw a walkabout, 'in Brunskill'ss footsteps', in Askham, near Penrith, were we looked, via numerous datestones in the village, at the development of cottages and farmhouses with Christine Craghill. July and August were busy months, both with two events. The first July event was a visit to Hutton John (a mansion which started out as a 14th Pele tower) and the village of Dacre, the site of an early medieval monastery and Dacre Castle a 14th century moated Pele tower. The second July event, a hands-on workshop building with clay, was across the border in the 'debatable lands' of Canonbie, in conjunction with the SVBWG.

On a beautiful August day, we walked to Fell Foot Farm in Little Langdale, in the busy central lakes, from Blea Tarn, to visit some deserted settlements. The second August event was a building recording session of a farmhouse near Millom, a house with a complicated history that the group are helping, with the aid of Richard Wilson, to unravel. September saw our sixth AGM at Hutton-in-the-Forest which we were kindly shown round, in fading light (many rooms are not served by electricity), by Lord Inglewood. In October there was a study day in Appleby in conjunction with the Heritage Action Zone Project, which finished early, being hampered by local flooding (a second session is planned for 2019). November saw a workshop in Ulverston on house plan forms, with talks by archaeologists Helen Evans and Dan Elsworth; Dan runs Sir John Barrow Cottage, which we visited in the afternoon. The year was rounded off with a Christmas lunch at Watermill Cafe at Priest's Mill, Caldbeck.

Events 2017

Our year kicked off, in January and February, with buildings recording training courses, at Lime Grove, Tirril, nr. Penrith. In March we ran a study day on vernacular interiors at Swarthmoor Hall, the 'cradle of Quakerism' near Ulverston. The hall, which is open to the public, has six historic rooms to view, and a fine selection of 17th century furniture.

April saw an over-subscribed visit to Yanwath Hall which culminated later in the year with an 'occasional paper' by Peter Messenger, distributed to all CVBG members. In May, we visited the spectacular Honister Slate Mines the darkness and a mile of tunnels, passages and caverns brought to mind the not only the international trade in Cumbrian stone but also the grim working conditions of the workers over the past few centuries. In June, we held a joint event with Scottish Vernacular Buildings Working Group and visited sunny Glenochar Bastle and the Fermtoun trail in Lanarkshire. There was a hilly fell walk to partly excavated 'toun'- a bastle site surrounded by 12 other longhouse buildings. After the visit, CVBG members Charles and May McKerrell treated us all to a splendid tea at their lovely home.

July saw a village walkabout in High Newton, near Cartmel, with Nigel Mills and Stuart Harling of the Cartmel Peninsula Local History Society, and in August, CVBG members visited the historic town buildings and landscape of Dent and its dale. In September we held our fifth AGM in the Great Hall of Naworth Castle, which had been burnt to a cinder in 1844 and re-vamped in the nineteenth century. The meeting was followed by a guided tour, by our Patron Phillip Howard, of his family home. In October a study day on Demystifying roof structures was held in Soulby, led by structural engineer Peter McGowan. This was followed, in November, with a workshop on identifying timber, Dan Elsworth of Greenlane Archaeology explaining tree-ring dating and Baltic timber marks. We rounded off 2017 with a Christmas feast, held in the splendid setting of Askham Hall.

Events 2016

Training days in 2016 included building recording sessions and a workshop on using historic documents (including deciphering old handwriting). The Farmstead was the subject of a study day hosted by the Helena Thompson museum in Workington. Our second study day, on organic building materials, was held jointly with the Cumberland and Westmorland Antiquarian and Archaeological Society in October, to celebrate their 150th anniversary. We held village walkabouts in Cartmel and Millbeck, spent an afternoon in Penrith looking at urban vernacular buildings and visited vernacular revival buildings, including Blackwell, near Bowness on Windermere. In July, hosted by the Duddon Valley Local History Group, we visited an excavated Medieval longhouse. For those that didn't fancy a fell walk, we arranged an itinerary of more accessible buildings (including the Blacksmith's Arms at Broughton Mills and Duddon Furnace) in and around the Duddon valley. The year was rounded off with a Christmas lunch in Carlisle's fine tithe barn, to medieval music provided by Alte Musik, a U3A group from Cockermouth.

Events 2015

Our hectic 2015 programme included training and recording sessions at a variety of buildings. We held study days on urban vernacular survivals in Kirkby Lonsdale, industrial buildings in Caldbeck and Grasmere in the time of the Wordsworths. Our third AGM was held at Cartmel Fell in September and we ended the year with a lovely Christmas lunch at the Cross Keys, Cautely, an historic temperance in with Quaker connections. CVBG also hosted the national Vernacular Architecture Group conference, held at Penrith in July, which involved organising visits for over 100 delegates to buildings in the central Lake District, Alston and the Solway. The conference marked the 50th anniversary of the first VAG visit to Cumberland, led by our patron Ron Bruskill, who sadly died this year.

Events 2014

Our busy 2014 programme included study days on vernacular building materials and the 'Great Rebuild' in Cumbria , our second AGM held at Hawkshead and a number of recording sessions. We visited bastles and peles in north Cumbria, clay dabbins in Burgh by Sands, vernacular buildings in Furness and Crosby Garrett and Musgrave tithe barns. Download a history of Crosby Garrett and Musgrave Tithe Barns by John Dunning, Peter Messenger and Mike Lea (opens as a pdf. file, requires Adobe Reader). Click on the link for free Adobe Reader download.

Events 2013

Events in 2013 included our first AGM at Acorn Bank, Temple Sowerby, a village walkabout in Milburn, a study day on The Hearth in Mungrisdale and a lovely Christmas lunch and tour around Castle Dairy, Kendal.

Contact CVBG

Paul Lewis (Chairman) email paullewiscvbg@gmail.com

Mike Turner (Secretary and membership) email secretary@cvbg.co.uk

Margaret Jarvis (Treasurer) email m.jarvis746@btinternet.com

Page last updated 24.09.23 by Helen Evans

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