Graythwaite has been home to the Sandys family for over 500 years and is an interesting blend of architectural styles. The oldest parts of the Hall date from the early sixteenth century. The building was added to in the eighteenth century, and successive generations of Sandys have made their mark with additions and alterations.
Graythwaite Gardens are a seasonal visitor attraction and were the first commission for Thomas Hayton Mawson (1861 – 1933) a landscape architect who went on to design other gardens in Cumbria such as Langdale Chase, Brockhole and Holker Hall before going on to win a competition, in 1908, to lay out the Peace Palace gardens at The Hague.
Low Graythwaite Hall or Graythwaite Old Hall dates from the sixteenth and seventeenth century. The Estate belonged to the family of Sawrey, it then passed by marriage to the Rawlinson family, whose original seat was at Greenhead in Colton. The Rawlinsons were a numerous and extensive landowning family in the area and they built a number of notable houses including Rusland Hall and Silverholme.
Rusland Hall was constructed on the site of an earlier building and dates from 1720. It's landscaped gardens have vistas down the Rusland valley.
Silverholme is located on the shores of Windermere. Completed in 1820, the Rawlinsons lived there until about 1890. Their family crest can be seen in the stained glass window at the top of the main staircase.
Old Grizedale Hall was also associated with the Rawlinsons. It became home to a branch of the family in the early seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the old hall had become a farmhouse and was later demolished. A new hall was constructed, on a different site, in the nineteenth century by Montague Ainslie. This, in turn, was demolished and rebuilt c1905 by Henry Brocklebank. His hall stood where The Yan education centre is now sited.
The Grizedale Estate was taken up by the Forestry Commission in 1937, but Grizedale New Hall was requisitioned by the War Office as a Prisoner of War camp in 1939. Known officially as No 1 POW Camp (Officers) and locally as ‘U-boat Hotel’ and ‘Hush Hush Hall’, it held crewmen captured from German submarines and Luftwaffe airmen. Nothing of the POW camp remains but the walls and stairs of the massive garden terraces and the close with its gates indicate the site of the Hall.
Whitestock Hall in Rusland was built in c1802-1806. It was commissioned by either George Romney, the painter, or his son, John. An addition is dated 1850. George Romney’s grand-daughter, Mary, married John Job Rawlinson of Silverholme in 1831.
Stock Park House - the origins of which are unclear - was the subject of a painting made in 1791 by John “Warwick” Smith. At the time, the original house belonged to the Braithwaite family, but the estate of 293 acres passed in 1833 to the Rev. Richard Lucas. Evidence suggests that a new house was constructed in 1857-1858 and the 1861 census notes Thomas Brook as the main resident. His offspring married into the neighbouring Rawlinson and Romney families.
Finsthwaite House is late seventeenth century or early eighteenth century, built by the long established Taylor family. Along with the house are a walled pleasure garden, a kitchen garden and stables. In 1790, the estate passed to a nephew of the family, James King. He commissioned Pennington Lodge Tower, a monument to the 1799 navel victories of the Napoleonic Wars and, possibly, The Spire, an obelisk dating from 1800.
Brantwood was built on a popular viewpoint over Coniston Water in c1797 by Thomas Woodville. The house and its 100 hectare estate has an interesting history with strong cultural connections.