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I was contacted late last year by Anna Walmsley who told me that as a child she had lived in the Lodge House at Castle Green (before it was a hotel). She was keen to come back and visit the property and gardens and see them following their conversion to a hotel in 1998. After she had lived here and before the hotel conversion the site had been the North West Electricity Board Regional Offices (NORWEB).

Following Anna Walmsley's stay she was kind enough to send me these memories of her fathers time at Castle Green which provide a fascinating insight not only to those of us who know the buildings and grounds as they are now but also as a social history of rural life at that time.

The Lodge is now the home of James and Catherine Alexander (the owners of the hotel).

The Old House is now the Business and Training Centre at ground floor level and Executive Bedrooms at first floor level (which is where Mrs Walmsley stayed when she returned).

The property is now 14 acres which includes gardens at the front and woodland to the rear.

The old outdoor stables are now the Pub.

You can still see the fir trees in the field opposite the hotel from the Restaurant window.

Thanks to Anna Walmsley we now have even more history that we can share with our guests. Enjoy the memories...



My memories of the Old House by Jack Walmsley

I was born in Castle Green Lodge in 1915. I lived there until 1939 when I went abroad during WW2. My wife and eldest daughter Anna continued to live there with my parents until 1945 when my teaching career took us to East Yorkshire. My parents continued to live in the lodge until the house was sold in the 1950s. These are some of our memories.

The House and Grounds

My father, John Lofthouse Walmsley, came to work at Castle Green in the 1890s. At first he had to live in “digs” as the house was being refurbished. This is possibly when the present “original house” was built. He then moved into the Lodge where he lived until the 1950’s. When he arrived, the estate was about 70 - 80 acres and included Castle Green Farms but Mr Jefferys sold most of this land, keeping only 17 acres. The estate now consisted of Busky, which was the field on the other side of Sedbergh Road; the paddock in front of the house and the wood behind it. In the wood was a two storey playhouse for the children, equipped with a fireplace, furniture and toy cooking and dining utensils.

At the back of the house, near the main entrance of the hotel, was a courtyard lit by a Victorian street lamp. Around this were the kitchens, coach house, stables for 4 horses, laundry, coal and wood houses. The library, which I was allowed to use, is now the conference room to the left of the front door. The other conference rooms were very grand reception rooms with wonderful views. The back drive, leading to the hotel reception area, was for tradesmen and led from the courtyard, past the present pub to the entrance on Sedbergh road, by the three cottages which belonged to the Jefferys. The Gardener, Shepherd Greenbank, lived in one of these.

The Pub

The present pub used to be the outdoor stables, with a hay-loft above. Four riding horses lived here. My father was in charge of the riding horses, carriage horses and carriages. He was a first class horseman and taught the family to ride. Once he rode down the drive standing, astride two horses!


The Family

The family consisted of John Henry and Mary Jefferys and their six children - Millicent, Bryan, Edward, Cecily, Barbara, Nancy and Guy. They owned slate mines in Coniston and Langdale and also Carding Mills for woollens on the waterside near Stramongate Bridge and at Mealbank to the north of Kendal. They were upper class and wealthy and had seven house servants. The boys worked in the family industries.

Mr Jefferys suffered a heart complaint which led to temporary insanity. He lined the family up and was about to shoot them but fortunately my father heard something and disarmed his employer, who was sectioned and taken to hospital. He later recovered, went home but died soon after. Bryan took over the business. Bryan and Edward joined the “Kendal Pals” in WW1. They became sergeants. Bryan lost a leg and Edward transferred to the Flying Corps. After the war, Guy was killed in a motor cycle trial. The girls were well educated, I think at the Mount School in York. Cecily went up to Cambridge. They all did volunteer work in WW1. Nancy worked on a farm in Norfolk. She gave me a piece of Zeppelin shot down on the farm. After the war, Cecily became an Alderwoman.

Mrs Jefferys strongly discouraged the family from marrying. She thought her husband’s disease may have been hereditary. Millicent disobeyed, left Castle Green, married and had a son, although she did come back to visit. Bryan died of peritonitis in 1927.

Unfortunately the slate industries petered out, 2 carding mills closed and owing to mismanagement the family fortune was lost. The carding mill in Kendal kept running and Edward gave up farming on Salisbury plain to run it. Nancy did a little husbandry on the estate. Cecily and Mrs Jefferys died. Nancy and Edward were left to run the estate, but couldn’t agree and so the estate was put up for sale. It was sold to NORWEB, in the 1950s for £10000! The last time I saw Edward was when I visited him at the mill. He was retiring and had sold out to one of the Fothergills of South Westmorland.


In a good summer this was one of the delights of the year.. Everybody used to rally round. The only machine was the mower and everything else was done by hand. The hay was left in long swathes which were turned over by rake until dry, put into small heaps or “cocks” (haycocks) then larger ones and finally loaded onto the hay cart drawn by Clydesdales. This would take several days. We were served coffee, tea, cider and sandwiches etc. It was really a party; the hard part was treading the hay in the loft over what is now the pub.


The day was hard, working from dawn to dusk. There were riding and working horses to look after and a jersey cow which my father milked. This provided rich milk for the house and for my parents. The last horse to live in the stables was called Nimrod, on which Nancy Jefferys hunted with the Oxenholme Staghounds. A great parrot in the house kept us all entertained. There were many species of birds and lots of red squirrels which fed on the lodge windowsill and would sometimes venture into the kitchen. My father and daughter used to feed them.

Itinerant Salesmen

Many salesmen called at the Lodge and my mother would sometimes ask them in for a meal, particularly the French Onion seller who cycled there with his wonderful onions around his neck. There was also a ruddleman, selling red stone to clean doorsteps and thus he was always red. Men came round selling fish, cakes, bread, books and many other things. The postman walked 30 miles on his round. On the way back he blew a whistle and collected letters for posting. On his retirement he was replaced by a man with a van!

Castle Housing Estate

Mrs Jefferys discovered that she could see part of the council estate from her bedroom window, so she had quick growing fir trees planted to cut out this view. They are still there in the field opposite the hotel, surrounded by a small fence.

Castle Green Farm

The farm, now largely built on, was run by an old-fashioned farmer called Tommy Bentham. I have seen him threshing corn with a flail as in biblical times. He had a pond in one of his paddocks which provided enjoyable skating for everyone. This pond is still there behind the cottages.


I remember a smallpox epidemic and the 1918 Spanish Flu. People round about became ill, but luckily the Jefferys and ourselves escaped.

Spindle Woods

At the end of the back lane, above the house, was an avenue leading over the old LMS railway line to a wood, comprised mainly of spindle trees. There were 2 streams leading into Wakefield’s and supplying them with water. During WW1, German POWs used to come up from Kendal and cut down the trees. During their breaks, my mother and I used to talk to them. Once, aged three, I watched carefully as they cut and stacked the logs. I then went home and neatly cut and stacked my father’s rhubarb in the same fashion. I was not very popular.


The Wakefields lived in the house next door, going towards Sedbergh. It was a huge bungalow set back and unseen from the road. They had 6-7 servants and my sister Gladys was one of them. Mary Wakefield was head of that branch of the family, who were bankers, owning Wakefield’s Bank. She was founder of the Mary Wakefield Music Festival, held in Kendal and visited by Sir Henry Wood.

Her nephew, WW Wakefield (known as WWW) of Cambridge Harlequins and Captain of England, lived there for some time. He was knighted and raised to the peerage. He moved to their townhouse opposite County Hall and became president of Kendal Rugby Union Football Club.

Birk Hag

As a kid I spent much time at this farm, which is the first turning on the right up the Sedbergh Road. The original farm house was Elizabethan. There is a right of way past the farm and over the Kendal-Oxenholme Railway line which takes you into Parkside. Turn right here and walk back to Castle Green.


My memories of Castle Green by Philip Guy Burton son of Barbara Jefferys and grandson of Mary Agnes Jefferys.  Mr Burton stayed with us in June 2013.

A couple of months ago I got a call from Mr Philip Guy Burton who was planning to visit Kendal to attend a school reunion at Heversham Grammar School. 

Mr Burton explained that he was the son of Barbara Jefferys and grandson of Mary Agnes Jefferys who had bought the original house at Castle Green from Thomas Bindloss in the 1900’s.

Could he book a room at Castle Green and have a look around?

‘Yes of course, I will ensure you get a room in the old house and make sure that I am here to give you a tour.’

June 15th came and Mr Burton arrived as promised at 2pm having travelled by train from Essex. What a pleasure it was to show him around and hear about the house as it was:

Room 137 used to be the billiard room and the layout and features had hardly changed.

Room 144 was Grandmother Agnes’ domain – ‘I never went in there’.

Mr Burton’s room for the night on this visit was next door to the room he used to stay in while on school holidays with his brother Richard (now Room 143)

The Garden Room (now a conference room) used to be the dining room while next door (The Castle Room) was the kitchen.

‘The conference lounge was where we had a sink that we used to wash the parrot in’.

We sat outside and had a cup of tea at exactly the spot where Philip had a photograph of the two gardeners mowing the lawn (John Walmsley and Shepherd Greenbank) – one pushing and one pulling.

The conclusion of the tour was a trip to Alexanders the Pub (the old stables) where we have a collection of photographs and memorabilia from the original house. There is a picture of Mary Agnes Jefferys with a small boy (unnamed) circa 1935. ‘That will be my brother Richard. No hang on a minute. Could you get it down? That is me aged eight. Fancy that, a picture of me in a Pub. I haven’t been able to drink for 50 years since I had some snake soup in the Far East and got liver disease. Who would have thought it?’

Who would have thought it indeed… 


  • Chris Tigwell

    14 January 2010, 1.23pm

    A fascinating account, and an extremely valuable addition to the knowledge of local history. Hope this info can be added to the local archives/library etc.

    Will try to tie this info in with some of the stuff we have collected, and perhaps ask some questions. Like does she know anything of the obelisk at the top of the path that leads over the railway, and why is the path split into two parallel sections?

  • Anna Walmsley

    15 January 2010, 6.27pm

    I don't know anything about them but will ask my dad as they are mostly his memories.

  • Naomi Broadhead, nee Walmsley.

    15 January 2010, 11.21pm

    Jack Walmsley is my Grandfather. We have spent many an hour listening to his and my late Grandmother, Connie, & their wonderful life stories.

    After hearing these precious taIes I always wanted to visit Castle Green. My family and I got the chance a couple of years ago to visit Kendal for the day and visited Castle Green.

    I instantly recognised the lodge from the old black and white photo's I'd seen. I felt quite emotional as we approached, to think that my ancestors had lived / worked here.

    We had the opportunity to meet the current owners of the hotel who now live in my Grandfathers old lodge. We had a lovely cup of tea and a chat & they kindly showed us round the lodge.

    This meant a lot and was very thoughtful.

    We had lunch in the old stables which is now the pub. This is where my great grandfather worked. Again it was a lovely feeling as it still retains all the character and some working tools are displayed on the walls.

    My Grandfather also told us about a small copse on the top of a hill which he used to play in. This is still there next to the pub

    It was a true pleasure to visit Castle Green and Kendal and relive my ancestors memories...And make some of our own!

  • Alan Greenbank

    03 November 2010, 7.27pm

    I, and my family, are originally from Kendal and my wife and I have recently stayed at the Castle Green Hotel - we remember it well as the Norweb HQ from our childhood days.

    I have just started some family research and googled one of my uncles - Shepherd Greenbank. Imagine my amazement when his name came up as the gardener at Castle Green. I am not sure yet that it was definitely my uncle, but the timing is right, and Shepherd is not a common name, even amongst the Greenbanks.

    I'd be very interested if there were any photos that I could compare with those that I have of my uncle, who passed away in 1957.

    Alan Greenbank

  • Elizabeth Bird

    26 February 2011, 12.15pm

    I was very interested to read about the Jefferys family, spelled JEFFERYS, not Jefferies, as Edward was my grandfather. I must confess the relevation that my great grandad wanted to shoot his family was a bit of a shock. I thought Quakers were pacifists! As far as I am aware only Edward and Barbara married, I didn't know that Millicent married. If she did and had a son maybe I have some relatives somewhere that I don't know about. Edward had one son, my late father, and Barbara had two sons, one of whom is still alive. Edward died in 1963, two years after I was born but sadly we never met. My parents visited Castle Green several times on their annual visits to Kendal as Dad was a director of James Thompson - the shop and workshop in Colin Croft that sold and repaired garden machinery. I have inherited some lovely black and white photos of Castle Green and have the catalogue for the auction on May 25th and 26th 1949 when the contents of the house were sold by my great grandmother Mary Agnes Jefferys. By the way I like the sound of 7 house servants - I should be so lucky!

    Elizabeth Bird (nee Jefferys)

  • Ron Black

    26 February 2011, 4.28pm

    enjoyed the piece, I'm interested in the Oxenholme Staghounds do you have any more information on them please?

  • Richard Lowther

    05 July 2011, 10.21am

    I was very interested reading about Castle Green, One question that has been niggling me, as you go up the lane towards spindle woods from Sedbergh road just by the railway bridge at the top of the lane there is a chimney on the right hand side over the wall it looked like some kind of industry from years gone by any information would be most welcome I have been here dozens of times the curiosity is getting the better of me

  • Sallie Ashworth

    02 May 2012, 10.40am

    I am the great grand-daughter of Shepherd Greenbank, who was gardener at Castle Green. He was born in 1870 in Kendal and died there on 16th May 1939. He was married to Maria Atkinson and had 8 children; my Grandmother Minnie being the next to youngest. I think the Shepherd Greenbank mentioned by Alan previously may be his nephew - son of his brother Nelson (b. 1872). I do have photos of my great grandfather Shepherd.

  • Rachel Tindall

    28 November 2012, 4.04pm

    I am a grand-daughter of Barbara Jefferys - my father is her son Philip Burton. I was very interested to read the history of Castle Green or "CG" as she used to call it. She certainly had very fond memories of the place and I would love to visit it sometime.

  • Philip burton

    11 January 2013, 9.29pm

    I am Philip Guy Burton {86} & had a brother Richard Joseph {81 } who died in 2010.Our mother was Barbara {nee Jefferys} who married Joseph Burton they having met in Dunkirk in the FAU during the first war. MyGrandmother was Mary Agnes Jefferyswhom I remember as being a very small lady but very capable in many ways.Castle Green was bought from the then Mayor of Kendal & had the telephone number 16 {which,oddly enough was tha street number of my shop in Chelmsford in later life !} My Grandfather John Henry whom I never met hailed from Darlington where my mother went to school at Polham Hall,a Quaker establishment.

    I have many fond memories of life at CG before and after the war as my brother & I were sent to Heversham Grammar School as boarders to escape the bombs in the South. Half terms & holidays were nearly all spent at CG. I vividly remember that life there was great fun. I recall watchimg Greenbank & Walmsley mowing the tennis court together the former pulling & the latter pushing the mower! & have a photo of them doing so !We played Bumble Puppy {now I think called Swing Ball} round a poll with our Aunt Cecily on the edge of the tennis court. I well remember Walmsley tending the motor in a stone building at the top of the kitchen garden which generated electricity for the house. Sometimes the lights would begin to fade ! The wireless ran on huge glass batteries. Polly the grey parrot would mimic any tune or saying very accurately & I have a recording of him performing !

    Our Aunt Milicent did marry but I am sure had no children. Her husband was Reg Campion. She was personel manager at the Pool pottery factory in Dorset.

    I can recall a passage way leading from the upstairs landing to the play room

  • Philip Burton

    11 January 2013, 9.53pm


    which had a large rocking horse in it..This was above the laft hand garage and the loft was above the right hand one where Richard & I would spend hours roller skating round & round.

    WE loved playing in the wood above CG with picnics & visiting the summer house with its coloured glass windows.We also watched trains speeding by on their way to Scotland & putting pennies on the line to be squashed to twice their size!

    I can hear the family Humber {RN334} now ,whining up the drive with Walmsley driving in his smart uniform!My Uncle Edward had a lovely Vauxhall 30/90 car with aluminium body that he painted black during the war to be less visible from the air! A favourite pastime was playing in the billiard room with Aunt Cis which was above the dining room. I would love to visit CG again & show all my many photos to whoever was interested.My family-wife Sybil & 3 children- used to have holicays in the Lakes buy noy lately.

  • Anna Walmsley

    30 January 2013, 4.27pm

    My name is Anna Walmsley and I am the daughter of Jack Walmsley, who wrote the above Memories of Castle Green, and the granddaughter of John Walmsley the coachman/ chauffeur. I have read with great interest the posts written by members of the Jefferys family and especially those of Philip Burton as he can remember my grandfather whom I adored.
    My mother and I lived with my grandparents during the war whilst my father was away fighting and although I was only four and a half when I left, I do have some very vivid memories of Castle Green. Mrs Jefferys would sometimes visit the lodge so I did meet her. I remember her always wearing black and she had white hair worn in a low bun. She had a very shaky voice and I am afraid I was a bit afraid of her. I also remember Edward , who had a motor bike at the time. Once he rode on it down the drive and my grandfather rushed out of the lodge to open the gate for him. I was a very self important little girl and asked Edward why he couldn't get off the bike and open the gate himself as he was young and my grandfather was old.....he just grinned at me! I remember Nancy very well as she sometimes played with me. She gave me books and some toys that had belonged to the Jefferys children. After the house was sold she moved to a converted barn in Milnthorpe and invited my sister and myself for a picnic. She had a very old Noah's Ark, which she set up for us in the hall. I wonder if Philip remembers that.!
    There was a family called Summerscales evacuated to the house during the war. They were from the Blackheath area of London and had two children called Judith, I think, and Ewen. I think Ewen also was sent to Heversham School so Philip may also remember him.
    Because of Mr Jefferys illness, my granddad seems to have had a very good and close relationship with the family who were very good to my dad. It was they who encouraged him to take a scholarship for the local Quaker public school, Stramongate. Dad was also allowed to use the library for his studies and there was a small bedroom in the house that he could use when the lodge was full. When my grandad retired, he stayed on in the lodge until the house was sold at which point, the Jefferys helped them to acquire an alms house in Kendal.
    I have stayed many times at the hotel and always in the old house. In fact I had the honour of opening the newly refurbished Alexander's Pub, which is in the old stables, my grandfather's domain.
    PS My dad was 94 when he wrote the above and as it was a long time after the event, I think he may have muddled up Millicent and Barbara!

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