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Welcome to the Cumbria Vernacular Buildings Group Events Diary

Patron: The Hon. Philip Howard

Visiting Fell Foot Farm, Little Langdale

Events 2019

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


Wednesday 16th, 1330-1600. Completing House Records (Session 1): The Old Courthouse, Shap, CA10 3NL. Group working on writing up previous building surveys (new members welcome). Free, tea and coffee provided


Wednesday 13th, 1330-1600. Completing House Records (Session 2): The Old Courthouse, Shap, CA10 3NL. Group working on writing up previous building surveys (new members welcome). Free, tea and coffee provided

Flookburgh Manor


Saturday 30th, 1000-1600, Study Day: Appleby's Buildings (part 2), in conjunction with the Heritage Action Zone project, Appleby, Sands Methodist Church. Cost £5.00 (bring packed lunch)


Friday 5th, 1230-1600, Before and after the Great Fire of Flookburgh: walkabout. Meet Flookburgh Village Hall LA11 7JU. Cost £5.00, tea and coffee provided

Thursday 11th, 1030-1600, Rosgill: Houses and Barns, meet at Toathmain, CA10 2QZ, Cost £5.00 (bring packed lunch) tea and coffee provided


Friday 3rd, 1000-1600, Kirkoswald Castle and College: Past, present and future, joint event with North Pennines AONB, Kirkoswald Village Hall. Free event (bring packed lunch) tea and coffee provided


Askham walkabout

Saturday 8th, 100-1600. Vernacular buildings of the 'Debatable Lands'. Meet at Canonbie Village Hall. Tea and coffee provided (bring packed lunch). Cost £10.00


Thurs 12th, 1030-1500, Villagescape: Assessment of all pre-1750 houses: Mauds Meaburn, Village Institute, CA10 3HN. Cost £10.00, bring packed lunch, tea and coffee provided


Wednesday 21st, 1030-1530, Vernacular architecture in Swindale and Naddle Valley, joint event with RSPB. Free event, meet at Naddle Farm (bring packed lunch)


Sir John Barrow Cottage Ulverston

Date and location TBA, watch this space


Evidence for change: Pennine-edge villages Cumrew, Newbiggin and Croglin. Cost £5.00, bring packed lunch, venue TBA


Sat 9th, 1000-1600, Study Day: Vernacular/polite interface in Cumbria, Burgh by Sands village hall, Cost £15.00 includes buffet lunch, tea and coffee


December 11th, 945-1000, then 1230-1500, Christmas visit and lunch: Visit to near Cockermouth, followed by shopping at the Lakes Distillery and lunch in the Boardroom restuarant. Menu TBA, Cost £31.00

Booking Events

Annual events calendars are sent out to CVBG members early in the year. Our quarterly newsletters and email updates contain more detailed timetables, and booking forms covering the three months following the newsletter. There are booking deadlines in place, in advance of events dates, to ensure the correct numbers are catered for. Payments can be made by direct bank transfer or by cheque. Please click here for payment details.

Events 2018

Cruck clay barn, Canonbie

We began the year with visits to Carlisle and Kendal archives in January and February, to find out about the kinds of documents useful for researching building histories. March saw a study day and walkabout in the village of Troutbeck, with former Lake District conservation officer Andy Lowe, focussing on historic doors and windows. In April there was a walkabout in Whitehaven, with Anna Grey, looking at how coal-mining and the growth of the port of Whitehaven affected the town's historic buildings. On a sunny day in May we visited Rydale Folk museum in Kirkbymoorside, North Yorkshire, where there are rescued, re-erected buildings including a medieval longhouse, an open hall manor and a cruck-built ling (heather-thatched) farmhouse. The month of June saw a walkabout, 'in Brunskill'ss footsteps', in Askham, near Penrith, were we looked, via numerous datestones in the village, at the development of cottages and farmhouses with Christine Craghill. July and August were busy months, both with two events. The first July event was a visit to Hutton John (a mansion which started out as a 14th Pele tower) and the village of Dacre, the site of an early medieval monastery and Dacre Castle a 14th century moated Pele tower. The second July event, a hands-on workshop building with clay, was across the border in the 'debatable lands' of Canonbie, in conjunction with the SVBWG.

On a beautiful August day, we walked to Fell Foot Farm in Little Langdale, in the busy central lakes, from Blea Tarn, to visit some deserted settlements. The second August event was a building recording session of a farmhouse near Millom, a house with a complicated history that the group are helping, with the aid of Richard Wilson, to unravel. September saw our sixth AGM at Hutton-in-the-Forest which we were kindly shown round, in fading light (many rooms are not served by electricity), by Lord Inglewood. In October there was a study day in Appleby in conjunction with the Heritage Action Zone Project, which finished early, being hampered by local flooding (a second session is planned for 2019). November saw a workshop in Ulverston on house plan forms, with talks by archaeologists Helen Evans and Dan Elsworth; Dan runs Sir John Barrow Cottage, which we visited in the afternoon. The year was rounded off with a Christmas lunch at Watermill Cafe at Priest's Mill, Caldbeck.

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 13.01.19 by Helen Evans

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