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Barrister buys historic Cumbrian hall to restore for son, 10

A barrister has snapped up a derelict historic hall near Longtown, which he plans to turn into a future home for his 10-year-old son.

Kirkhall buyer photo
Christopher Boyle and son Henry

The imposing Kirklinton Hall – which the Kray twins are said to have once visited – has been sold to Christopher Boyle, from the Mallsgate Hall estate at Roweltown.

He bought the Grade II-listed property for £311,000 at an auction in London last month. It had been on the market for some time.

Mr Boyle, 42, said it will one day become son Henry’s home.

“It is a spectacular, sinister ruin, he said. “I was one of three bidders.

“It will be Henry’s home in about 20 years time when he’s married.

“Our first job is to restore the gardens – they’re like Cumbria’s Lost Gardens of Heligan.

“We had a picnic here after I’d bought the property and we hung up the celebration bunting.”

The grass around the front of the three-storey property has already been cut, undergrowth strimmed down and trees removed from inside of the structure.

The facade is largely complete and the structure boasts ornate Jacobean-style Dutch gables and a garden waterfall. Built in the 1660s by the Appleby family, the hall was extended in 1875 and has had many guises since.

It was requisitioned by the RAF during the Second World War and briefly became home to evacuees from a school in Lancashire.

The building was then used for housing after the war before being converted into a hotel, nightclub and casino before gambling law changes forced its closure.

It later fell victim to a fire, leaving its interior badly scarred.

The roof was also taken off and the inside walls demolished, leaving the building as it stands today.

Mr Boyle said:“There is a story that the Kray twins once came here when it was a casino but I’m not sure how true that is.

“I’ve always kept my eye on it when I’ve driven past. A lot of people have fond memories of the hall as they had their 21sts and weddings here,” he added.

Mr Boyle is working with Carlisle architect Peter Rol on the house – which stands on a 14-acre site. Henry, a pupil at Aysgarth School in North Yorkshire, is helping with the designs.

“The plan is to convert the left-hand side of the building first and then take it from there,” said Mr Boyle, who is a trustee of the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community – an architecture school and trust founded by the Prince of Wales which promotes a return of human values in architecture.

Mr Boyle will also use apprentices from England Civic Trust.

He said: “I hope to use the skills of some of the youngsters on the hall so they can learn traditional building skills like lead work and carpentry.”

The hall was already deteriorating when it was listed in 1974. Last year, a Cornwall-based property company unveiled plans to convert the hall, stable block and coach house into 13 homes and add a stone wall wing with five properties and a courtyard garage block with four homes above.

Have your say

Hey, Great to see this project feature on BBC2 - Resoring English Heritage. I have very fond memories of living with my parents in the hall when it was (dare I say it ) flats. It was a very happy little community.
The only picture I have is one of my parents & my niece sitting on the back stone steps by the lawn.
Good Luck to you Christopher

Posted by Maurice Lefebvre on 29 November 2014 at 19:40

I would live to see old pictures of it in its glory. Good luck on the renovations

Posted by Shirley on 19 July 2014 at 14:32

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