River Eamont (Part 8)
This is Skirsgill Hall or Mansion. It was quite a find: I don’t think many people know it is there, although it is next to the Skirsgill Business Park, close to Junction 40 of the M6, Penrith Interchange. We were surprised to come across it as we walked through an impressive, yet gateless, entrance and followed a drive to the front of the house. There is little sign of anyone living there, although there were two cars outside today, and no one came out to ask what we were doing.
You may be wondering what this has to do with the Eamont River, well actually it has quite a lot to do with it, as the section of the river after the viaduct runs through Skirsgill Park and the lawns in front of the house once went down to the river. Below you can see an old print of the house and the river. It must have been quite an idyllic place to live at the time. Now, you would be pushed to get down to the river as the grass is only mown at the edges.
(Ignore the rest, unless you are really interested!)
The place intrigued me and this is what I managed to find out
It was built in 1795 by a Hugh Parkin Esq. after he bought the estate and replaced the old mansion with this new one. It was described in a book about the landed gentry as The Seat of Hugh Parkin Esq. – Skirsgill is delightfully situated upon the northern bank of the Eamont, a short but beautiful river, flowing from the Lake of Ullswater – there were some delightfully shady walks along the banks of the river Eamont, commanding many very pleasant views.
A James Parkin was living there at the time of the 1841 census, but I don’t know what happened to it after that, until in 1872 it was for sale. It was described in the sale particulars as having: four reception rooms, library, boudoir, gun room, nine bedrooms, four dressing rooms, ample domestic offices and servants’ rooms – there was also a farm and cottages and 200 acres of land with ¾ mile of fishing in the River Eamont.
At the time of the 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses a Gandy family were living there. Henry Gandy was a Magistrate, an ex. Army Captain. There was his wife and four children and quite an array of ‘domestics’, including a butler, page, cook, housemaids and kitchen maids.
I don’t know what happened to it after that, except that it seemed to come into the hands of a Leeming family and eventually the farm and farm buildings were converted into business premises – Skirsgill Business Park. It is a mystery as to what the house itself is used for. There are no signs or anything. The grounds are obviously maintained and further down the drive there is a lovely ornamental garden right by the river. But it just seems unoccupied – such a pity if it is. Maybe I will find out more about it later.