Many years ago during my first visit to Coniston, I stayed at the Coniston Hall campsite, which is in the woods on the shore of Coniston Water, south of Coniston Hall. The old manor house, which dates from the 16th Century when it was owned by the Fleming family, is still standing, The west north east wing is in ruins but the rest of the building is relatively intact, the east wing being still occupied by farm tenants. The central part of the building, which at one time would probably have been the “great hall” appears to have been converted into a barn at some stage with the earth bank built to allow access to a barn door in the centre of the wall, turning it into a traditional Lakeland “bank barn”.
The style of the house has many other features common to Lakeland vernacular architecture – stone walls and a slate roof and very characteristic, tall cylindrical chimneys which we saw on a number of houses in the area. Tall chimneys were, apparently, a means of flaunting wealth, rather like people who drive flash cars these days.
The house has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade II* listed building and today is owned by the National Trust, although it’s not open to the public.