Visit Kendal and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Kendal, Cumbria, is an ancient town: there is some evidence of early British settlement on the site of Castle How, and there was a Roman camp at Watercrook which was part of the road system connected with Hadrian's Wall. Later there was the Anglo-Saxon occupation. But most of Kendal's recorded history dates from the time of the Conqueror, who gave land to his Norman henchmen. Richard I made the town a barony in 1189, and Richard II made divisions in this barony, of which one passed to Sir William Parr, an ancestor of Catherine Parr. There were Scottish raids — even as far south of Carlisle as this — particularly in 1210; and fires and floods. Later came the Black Death, but by 1331 the woollen industry had begun. Edward III authorized John Kemp of Flanders to establish Flemish weavers in the town, and the woollen industry flourished for six centuries. Hence the Latin motto on the town's coat of arms, Pannus mihi panic (Wool is my bread). The town was noted for the production of “Kendal Green”, a green woollen cloth, mentioned as the clothing of archers by Shakespeare in Henry IV and Scott in The Lay of the Last Minstrel. Since then other industries have superseded woollen manufacture, such as footwear, hosiery, carpets, engineering and insurance.
“The Auld Grey Town”, so called because of its many grey limestone buildings lies in the valley of the River Kent, with six bridges (three of them good stonework), the A6 road and the main railway for Scotland; it is the centre of communications and the market town for the surrounding agricultural area. Market days have been held since the market charter of 1189. Off the main streets are the old yards with narrow pavements, probably designed for easy access to the main streets and the river for handling the wool. Kendal lies just outside the Lakeland National Park, the Lake District proper. But it is the gateway to the Lakes from the South East, by way of the A591, the through road that leads first to Windermere Town, only 8 miles away, and the M6 extension is not far East of Kendal. The town's own surroundings are attractive, however, with a backcloth of Westmorland fells on three sides. The approach from Sedbergh on the East is over a switchback moorland road offering glimpses of groups of Lakeland peaks. Kendal is well enough equipped with hotels to make it a centre from which to visit the Lakes, or the local countryside and Grange and Morecambe are not far off.
Abbot Hall Art Gallery was opened in 1962 in a country mansion built in the town in 1759 by John Carr of York, adjoining the parish church and surrounded by gardens. The original carving and panelling on the ground floor has been restored.
The Parish Church of the Holy Trinity, in Kirkland, is one of the largest churches in England, a Gothic structure of the 13th century. It is built on the site of an earlier church, and is unusual in having four aisles. The interior is a complicated arrangement of pillars and arches within the building's wide rectangle. Above the rather squat roofs is the square tower, 80 ft high. Some parts of the church date from about 1200, and there were l9th-century restorations. Chapels of the Parr, Bellingham and Strickland families of Kendal have various arms and monuments. A sword and helmet are traditionally associated with “Robin the Devil”, Major Robert Philipson, the Royalist, who was besieged on Belle Isle, Windermere, by Colonel Briggs, the Round-head. After the siege Philipson is said to have ridden into Kendal church on horseback in a vain attempt at revenge on Briggs who was attending a service. Scott made this exploit one of the adventures of the hero in the poem Rokeby.
The ruined Norman castle apparently decayed some time after 1586, when it was pronounced by Camden, the historian, as being ready to drop with age. Catherine Parr, the last, and surviving, wife of Henry VIII was born there; she was the daughter of Thomas Parr, the lord of the castle. Her prayer book is on show in the Town Hall; it is bound in solid silver, has fine lettering, and cost £500 when it was bought by public subscription in 1936. The castle dairy in Wildman Street is a well-preserved example of Tudor domestic architecture with richly carved oak beams. It was rebuilt in 1564 by Anthony Garnet. The Town Hall is comparatively modern. Its tall clock tower has a carillon of bells which, on different days of the week, chooses in turn one of seven tunes, from English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish sources, to be played six times in the day. Seven paintings by George Romney adorn the Town Hall. Romney, associated with Dalton-in-furness, served his apprenticeship in Kendal, left in 1762 to achieve fame in London, but returned to Kendal and died at Romney House in Kirkland in 1802. The house where he was an apprentice was in a yard West of Stricklandgate. Sandes Hospital, near the Town Hall in Highgate, was built in 1659 by the Sandes, cotton manufacturers. The Call Stone, formerly in the Market Place, is before the Town Hall and is the traditional stone for proclaiming English monarchs. Near the G.P.O. in the house now occupied by the Y.W.C.A. Prince Charlie stayed on his march to Derby and again on his retreat; two nights after that his pursuer, “Butcher” Cumberland, slept at the same house in the same bed. The Old Grammar School was founded in 1525.
Nearby towns: Appleby-in-Westmorland, Bowness-on-Windermere, Grange-over-sands, Kirkby Lonsdale, Sedbergh, Windermere
Nearby villages: Ambleside, Arnside, Barbon, Bowland Bridge, Brigsteer, Burneside, Burton, Cartmel, Casterton, Cowan Bridge, Crooklands, Farleton, Gaisgill, Gatebeck, Grayrigg, Hale, Hawkshead, Heversham, High Wray, Higher Newton, Holker, Holme, Kendal, Kentmere, Kents Bank, Lake Side, Leck, Levens, Lindale, Low Borrowbridge, Lupton, Millthrop, Milnthorpe, Natland, Newby Bridge, Old Hutton, Oxenholme, Rydal, Sandside, Sedgwick, Selside, Tebay, Underbarrow
Have you decided to visit Kendal or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Kendal bed and breakfast (a Kendal B&B or Kendal b and b)
- a Kendal guesthouse
- a Kendal hotel (or motel)
- a Kendal self-catering establishment, or
- other Kendal accommodation