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The present house was built in 1666 by the 8th Earl of Derby for his visits to his Cumbrian estates. In 1688 he sold it to his agent Roger Gregg. This is the only time it has been sold. The Greggs and their kinsmen the Storys owned it until Thomas Story left it to John Spedding of Armathwaite Hall in 1802.

It was at first a smaller house, which has been enlarged over time, always with more emphasis on convenience than grandeur. The matching bays were added in 1790. In 1832 the south side of the house was demolished, and new, higher rooms were built under the direction of the London architect Joseph Cantwell. The large west rooms were added in 1851 and a servant's wing and chapel in the 1880s. The half-timbered chapel was riddled with dry rot in the 1960s and had to be demolished.

The house has been adapted for several households to live here, and much of it is open to the public. The opening times are limited because it remains a family home, and to conserve the contents.

It is remarkable how dramatically the views around the house vary. As you walk round the end of the house the fell-side suddenly looms up above the garden. Here the lawns, terraced in the 1850s, and the Victorian colonnade are the most formal elements of an essentially informal garden. The colonnade provides welcome shelter and is particularly lovely when the roses are in bloom. If you visit the lowest terrace (called Canada) you may be interested to see an area of the extremely rare asarabacca plant (Asarum europeum), used in the making of snuff.

General Information

  • Strong links to Tennyson, Wordsworth and Southey

  • Lakeside walk with free nature notes

  • Tearoom

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  • Directions

    North of Keswick on the A591 road to Carlisle, beside Bassenthwaite Lake.

    Mirehouse Postcode for SatNav: CA12 4QE


    +44 (0)1768 772 287

    CA12 4QE

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