Highhead Castle

Highhead Castle was an early medieval garrison.  It was knocked down and rebuilt, by Henry Richmond Brougham, High Sheriff of Cumberland, between 1744 and 1749, in the style of James Gibbs, by Italian craftsmen.

 Highhead Castle is a large Georgian house in Cumbria between Carlisle and Penrith. The house is now a ruin with just the exterior walls and certain foundations surviving. 

The earliest written record of the original Castle is 1272. The Castle was a medieval square pele tower within a curtain wall. The first known occupant of the house was Andrew d'Harcla, a tenant of King Edward I. The 1552 western wing remains, with its unmistakable straight headed mullioned windows with round-arched lights under hood moulds, although attached to the south west corner of this wing is the basement of a square tower which presents evidence of 13th century work.

Upon the death of Henry Richmond Brougham, in 1749, the house was divided between two of his cousins, who, along with their children and grandchildren, had a feud for 103 years until the first Lord Brougham repurchased the Castle, following a 32 year conveyance! 

Highhead has eleven bays, with a pedimented three-bay centre, and a walled front garden with coupled iconic columns. When the Broughams no longer required the house, they sold it to Augustus Waller Hills, in 1903.  Hills' son, John Waller Hills, was a world authority on Fly Fishing and the River Ive was his playground (see My Sporting Life by J W Hills). The only known people to have rented it from the Hills were the Cavaghan family (Co-founders of Cavaghan & Gray) who lived in the house for around three years during the thirties. The Castle was largely destroyed by fire in 1956 and is now little more than a II* listed shell.

Parsons Lodge Coastal Battery, Rosia Bay, Gibraltar

Unable to do much work in Cumbria during the winter months, the Brougham Hall team has also worked at Assos in Turkey, Euboea in Greece and in Gibraltar. General Sir William Jackson, one-time Govenor and Commander in Chief, Gibraltar, was born at Hazlebank, in Yanwath, near Brougham Hall. He knew of the work of the Brougham Hall team and asked them to work on Parsons Lodge, under the supervision of the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, from 1993 to 1996, winning a coveted Europa Nostra Diploma.

Parsons Lodge was a Moorish stronghold, subsequently occupied by the Spanish and captured by the British in 1704. After a similar period of neglect to that of Brougham Hall, Parsons Lodge was restored, in three layers, representing three centuries of British artillery history. This was a splendid team effort involving the Gibraltar Heritage Trust, the Gibraltar Government, the Friends of Gibraltar Heritage Society, the Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Air Force, the Gibraltar Regiment, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and many of the good citizens of Gibraltar.

Highhead Castle


Highhead Castle gateway


Parsons Lodge


Parsons Lodge Plaque