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Welcome to the Cumbria Vernacular Buildings Group Events Diary

Patron: The Hon. Philip Howard

Middles Farm elevation, drawn by Richard Wilson

Events 2018

For enquiries please contact June Hill (formerly Hall) at

For bookings, please contact Mike Kingsbury at

For membership, please contact Mike Turner at

To follow us online, search for Cumbria Vernacular Buildings Group on Facebook and Twitter @CVBG2013


Monday 22nd,1400-1600. Training: Documents for building history, visit to Carlisle Archives (reader ticket required) Max. 20 people.


Tuesday 13th, 1400-1600. Training: Documents for building history, visit to Kendal Archives (reader ticket required) Max. 20 people.


Tuesday 27th, 1000-1600, Study Day: Doors and Windows- an 'Open and Shut case' with Andy Lowe, Troutbeck Village Institute, nr Windermere. Cost £ 15.00 includes lunch at the Old Post Office Cafe

The Old Post House, High Newton


Thurs 19th, 1000-1600, Walkabout: Whitehaven (bring packed lunch). Free event


Weds 23rd, Visit: Rydale Folk Musuem, Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, Including coach from Penrith £30, or under own steam £6


Thurs 7th, 1100-1600, Walkabout: Askham 'in Brunskill's footsteps' (bring packed lunch), Free event


Visit to Dent

Thurs 12th, 1030-1500, Visit: Hutton John and Dacre, Dacre Village Hall, Cost TBA

Sat 28th, Workshop: Building with clay (hands on), Canonbie, Dumfries and Galloway, details TBA


Thurs 9th, 1000-1600, Fell walk: deserted settlements at Little Langdale. Walk from Blea Tarn. Walking boots, waterproofs, bring packed lunch, Cost £5.00

Weds 18th, 1000-1600, Building recording session, Parkhead Farm, Millom, details TBA


Friday 14th, early evening (TBA), Sixth AGM, 'Regional Furniture' and tour of hall, Hutton-in-the-Forest, home of Lord Inglewood


timber frame roof Guildhall Carlisle

Saturday 13th, 1000-1600, Study Day: Appleby, in conjunction with the Heritage Action Zone project, Appleby, Sands Methodist Church, Cost £15.00


Sat 17th, 1000-1700, Workshop: House plans in Cumbria (including visit to Sir John Barrow Cottage), Ulverston, location and cost TBA


Weds 19th, 1200-1500, Christmas Lunch, Priest's Mill, Caldbeck. Menu TBA, Cost approx £25.00

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.

Swarthmoor Hall

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.

Christmas dinner at Carlisle Tithe Barn

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

Stainton Hall, Stainton, Furness

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.

farmhouse near Levens

out of the ground

Contact CVBG

June Hill (formerly June Hall) (Chairman) email Telephone 07547 081631

Mike Kingsbury (Treasurer and bookings) email Telephone 015242 76434

Mike Turner (Secretary and membership) email

Page last updated 09.04.18 by Helen Evans

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