Park House

Tel: 01768 88653

Luxury self-catering accommodation in Cumbria’s beautiful Eden Valley

Skirwith Abbey Church Skirwith Abbey in Winter

Park House: History

History of Park House

It is believed Park House was originally the 'Laundry' for the main house and beneath the patio at the rear of the property there is a natural well.  It is probably due to the existence of the well that it was the obvious place to house the Laundry.

Prior to this change of use Park House was a group of farm buildings housing pigs, cows, horses and chickens. You can see that the front doorway was originally where the entrance to the yard was and would have enabled a horse and carriage to travel through. Before the property was renovated you could see the old cow byers and stables which are now the downstairs bedrooms and bathroom.

History of the Village of Skirwith

Skirwith nestles at the foot of Crossfell the highest fell in the Pennines. It is part of an undulating landscape of grazing land set against the dramatic backdrop of the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Villages name is believed to mean ‘wood in common use’ which derives from the Old Norse or Old English language. Skirwith Beck runs directly through the centre of the Village and buildings are set either side of the Beck and village green. The layout has some typical characteristics of a medieval village.

The origins of the village are unknown but the Eden Valley in general was populated in Roman times with many small settlements and farmsteads found scattered throughout the valley.

Source of information : Eden District Council website.

History of Skirwith Abbey

Known as a ‘modern mansion’, Skirwith Abbey was built on land once held by the “Knights Templar” which was an organisation created to raise men and money for the Crusades. It is believed that properties that were built under this banner could be used as safe houses. The presence of earthworks close to the site does suggest some earlier activity in this area.

Skirwith Abbey is a three storey classical house. It was built by Thomas Addison who was a Mason in 1768-1774 for John Orfeur Yates who spent many years in India.
Mr Parker purchased Skirwith Abbey in 1822 together with the surrounding Estate which formerly belonged to the Aglionbys of The Nunnery.

In 1967 Mr R B Johnston and family took over Skirwith Abbey to enable them to farm the Estate Farm. The house was in a terrible state of disrepair with trees growing right through the property. Over many years Mr & Mrs R B Johnston restored the house to as you see it today and it remains in the family with their son Mr C Johnston and his wife and children having taken over the family farm.

In 2000 a brand new dairy was built on a green field site on the Estate which meant the original farm steading being redeveloped and turned into a stunning development.

Skirwith Abbey is a truly wonderful family home and will always be a lifetime’s work in progress.

References that can be used for further information relating to the Abbey:

C R Hudleston & R S Boumphrey Cumberland Families & Heraldry 1978 p.378
Sir N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Cumberland & Westmorland 1967 p.190
J M Robinson, The Country Houses of the North West, 1991 p.139.