History of Bank House

Bank House was built in 1851; a small farm of 80 acres with land on both sides of Graham street and owned the houses immediately across the road. At the turn of the century it became a private house and major structural improvements resulted in the addition of the porch, bay windows, and extension of large kitchen, bathroom and elaborate landing. There were also stables and a coach House.

There was a large greenhouse in the position of the smaller greenhouse you see today which was heated by its own boiler room, now a workshop it was warm enough to grow nectarines. The garden itself was laid out with topiary and deciduous trees and a tennis court as a typical Victorian terraced garden much of which still remains today.

Brief History of Penrith

An ancient and historic market town Penrith is close to the Lake District and is on the border of the Forest of Inglewood, now covered in fields and villages.

The name Penrith is considered to come from Celtic origins ‘penn’ and ‘rid’ meaning a fort or red town. Sandstone often used in building would have at one time given it this appearance.

The gates of the town are of importance as they were used for the necessary defence against the Scots. Although the gates have now gone, the names remain. So we have Sandgate, Middlegate and Burrowgate.

Burrowgate and Sandgate date back to the thirteenth century, the towns oldest areas. A market town, we still find Dockray Castle Market, Corn Market and Market Place.

Cromwell came to Penrith during the civil war in 1654 and damaged the castle. Bonnie Prince Charlie and his troops came this way, both on the march to Derby and then back again pursued by the Duke of Cumberland.

The famous poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy were brought up in a house in Devonshire Street. It was on the site of N Arnison and Sons a large local draper.

Outside Penrith, on the way to Ullswater is a prehistoric henge, dating to the Neolithic era it is referred to as King Arthurs’ Round Table. Further down the same road we find on the right, Mayburgh Henge. This is larger and formed by banks made of a large numbers of pebbles.

Beacon Hill dominates the town in the north. Beacons were lit in days gone by when there was a national emergency, as many hills down the country used this to communicate with each other. A path leads to the summit and a wonderful view.

King Richard III when he was still Duke of Gloucester is supposed to have stayed at Dockray Hall (now known as the Gloucester Arms) in Great Dockray. This would be when he was rebuilding Penrith Castle near the railway station over which in those days it extended.

A very short synopsis of the history of Penrith written by Sarah's mother Betty Brown who has written and published ‘Jane Milbourn in Carlisle Gaol’ a family history of one woman’s rights and an interesting social study of the 18th century in Cumbria. You are welcome to read the book while you are here and it is available for purchase.