The History of Brownber Hall

Brownber in sepia

Brownber in sepia

A country house throughout the ages

Brownber Hall is a magnificent mid-Victorian country house. It was built from local limestone in 1860 as an updated replacement of the original manor house of the Fothergill family.

The Fothergills were a prominent and influential family who lived in the area for many generations. Sir George Fothergill was a Norman Lord who is said to have helped William the Conqueror take the city of York using trickery. His reward was the valley of Ravenstonedale, where Brownber Hall now stands.

The old manor house, now known as Tower House, is the fortified building you see on your right as you pull into the drive. This was home to Mary Elizabeth Gaunt who was the last woman in Britain to be burnt at the stake for treason in 1685.

Brownber (once named ‘Brownbar’) is situated in the rich farming land and rolling hills of the upper Lune Valley. ‘Lune’ is believed to come from a Romano-British word meaning ‘pure’ or ‘clear’. The source of the Lune River, which winds its way through Cumbria and the city of Lancaster and then out into the Irish Sea, can be found within a stone’s throw of the Hall.

The house and terrace overlook the Howgill Fells. The highest point you can see from here is ‘Green Bell’, standing at 605 metres. The highest point of the Howgill Fells is ‘The Calf’, at 676 metres.

The surrounding countryside combines exceptional scenery with plenty of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, and is home to a great abundance of wildlife. You may even see Rusty the red squirrel!

The view from the drone

The view from the drone

There are many nearby walking routes to explore the beautiful landscape surrounding Brownber Hall. For an unmissable, easy stroll walk two miles east along the old disused railway line until you reach the spectacular Smardale viaduct, which stands at 40 metres high. The viaduct is home to many rare birds, plants and animals who have made their homes in the hidden valley which is a nature reserve of internationally recognised significance.

Since 1st August 2016, Brownber Hall is officially part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.