I wrote recently about our stopover in Kendal on the way back home from Bonny Scotland, and how we found many historical family connections there. But there was another dimension to our trip to Kendal: an architectural one.
There has been a house on the site of Court Lodge since at least the 12th Century, but the current house was, we believe, built by my ancestor William Morland in 1730. We think that he tore down the (probably Jacobean) house that was on the site, and built the current house, probably from stone quarried from the site. He built it in the Queen Anne style, that was much more common in Westmorland than here in Kent. A typical Kentish manor house looks something like this:
Court Lodge, by contrast, looks like this:
Notice the arched windows; this will become relevant in a moment. We love the arched windows, and in fact, chose to incorporate them into our logo for Court Lodge when we first arrived back here:
The colour of the logo is taken from the stonework of the building.
Court Lodge is therefore quite different from typical Kentish buildings. When we arrived in Kendal, however, it became abundantly clear where the inspiration for the architecture of Court Lodge came from. These are some of the buildings we saw:
The large blocks of stone, the Georgian sash windows, and the arched windows are all a recurring theme, and something these buildings have very much in common with Court Lodge.
We visited a very nice pub for lunch while in Kendal, the Globe Inn, and got chatting with the landlord about the reasons for our visit. We mentioned the architecture, and he told us that there is a particular type of window called a Westmorland window. It is an arched window that extends beyond one storey of the building, often in a stairwell. I looked around Kendal for examples of Westmorland windows, and found several. Here are a couple:
This was very exciting, because we realised straight away that Court Lodge has a Westmorland window!
The arched window here in the centre of the East facade looks onto the stairwell of the main stairs, and clearly goes between two storeys, so it fits the description of a Westmorland window. My ancestor, William Morland, certainly took his architectural inspiration from Westmorland, and incorporated a Westmorland window into the design of the building. The only thing that seems not quite right is that this window does not have the traditional Georgian glazing that the other arched windows have. I suspect it was rebuilt at some point during its history, and that it was originally glazed in the same way that the other arched windows are.
Another thing I had discovered before our trip to Kendal was that Ann Morland, pictured below, had moved back to Kendal after her husband died.
I found this out purely by chance when I discovered some old hair powder licenses among the Morland documents in the archives. See this post for more about that discovery. These documents cite Ann Morland, her sister Margaret Matson, and her daughters Anna Eleanora, Mary, Eliza and Margaretta, all living on Highgate in Kendal.
I don’t know which house on Highgate they lived on, but it is lined with many substantial Georgian houses. I plan to contact the Kendal library’s archivist to see if there is any way of finding out where precisely they lived on this street.
Once again, I feel that this brief trip to Kendal has helped make more sense of Court Lodge as a building to me. It’s history tells a story of the origins of the Morland family, and that story is written into its architecture.