THE LAKE DISTRICT  •  CUMBRIA
Opening Times & Ticket Prices
2016 Season: 17 April - 6 October.
Open Sundays to Thursdays
(Closed on Fridays and Saturdays during the Season, except for Special Events)
The Gardens
10am - 5pm
The House
Open 12 noon - 4pm
The House will close promptly at 4pm
Admission
House & Gardens:
Adult £12.80
Child (aged 5-16) £5.00
Family £31.00 (2 Adults + 3 Children)
Gardens Only:
Adult £9.50
Child (aged 5-16) £4.00
Family £23.00 (2 Adults + 3 Children)
Free admission to the Gift Shop and Bellingham Buttery.
History Page
HISTORY

A brief history of Levens Hall

The first dwelling at Levens was a medieval pele tower, built by the de Redman family of Yealand Redmayne. The Bellingham family, who were wealthy landowners, chose Levens as their main residence in the 1590s and incorporated the fortified tower into a gentleman’s residence. They employed local craftsmen to carve the oak panelling, incorporated elaborate Italian plasterwork, including Elizabeth the First’s coat of arms and stained glass - all of which can be seen today.

The historic house became the property of Colonel James Grahme in 1688 after his career at Court in the service of King James II. He brought with him a young French gardener, Guillaume Beaumont, a pupil of le Notre at Versailles, to plan a fashionable garden at Levens. This family home contains fine furniture, paintings, one of the best examples in Europe of Spanish leather wall coverings, the earliest English patchwork, Wellingtoniana, clocks and miniatures, and has become one of the finest stately homes in south Cumbria.

Levens Hall Timeline

Please use the arrows or click on the dates to look through the Levens Hall timeline.

  • 1170

    William of Lancaster gives land to Norman de Hieland (Yealand), who becomes founder of the de Redman family.

  • c.1225-1578

    de Redman family in residence.

  • 1562

    Levens is sold to Sir Alan Bellingham.

  • 1578

    Whilst she is still alive the last de Redman, Dorothy Layton, prevents Sir Alan from inheriting; he wills Levens to his son James.

  • 1580

    James Bellingham gains possession and creates much of Levens as we see it today.

  • c.1580-1688

    James Bellingham's family in residence.

  • 1600

    The Brewhouse is built.

  • 1603

    James Bellingham welcomes James I as king and is knighted in Durham.

  • 1641

    Death of Sir James Bellingham.

  • Colonel James Grahme

    1689

    Colonel James Grahme purchases Levens.

  • 1690

    The main doorway into the Great Hall is created.

  • Guillaume Beaumont

    1694-7

    The topiary garden is laid out and planted by Guillaume Beaumont.

  • Levens Park

    1701

    Levens Park is also laid out by Beaumont.

  • 1709

    Grahme's daughter Catherine marries Henry Bowes Howard, 4th Earl of Berkshire, and provides Grahme with grandchildren.

  • Catherine Howard

    1730

    Grahme dies and the estate passes to Catherine Howard.

  • 1745

    Catherine's husband Henry, the 4th Earl of Berkshire, inherits the earldom of Suffolk; Levens is not their main family seat, only one of several houses and estates, hence Henry has little incentive to change the garden.

  • 1757

    Henry, Lord Suffolk, dies and Catherine refuses to rent Levens to a tenant who wishes to sweep away the gardens and park in favour of sheep and cattle grazing. She refuses all other tenants.

  • Lady Andover

    1762

    Catherine dies and the estate passes to her grandson Henry Howard. Levens becomes the home of his widowed mother, Mary Howard, Lady Andover, for forty years.

  • 1803

    Mary Howard dies and the estate passes to her daughter Frances Howard. Frances had married Richard Bagot, who had taken her surname.

  • 1807

    Frances' daughter Mary Howard, last of Grahme's direct descendants, marries Colonel Upton, who also takes the Howard name.

  • Mary Howard

    1817

    Frances dies and Mary inherits.

  • Howard Tower

    1820

    The four-storey Howard Tower for Mary Howard is completed. Mary and her husband visit Levens on alternate autumns, dividing their time between their several homes.

  • 1846

    Colonel Howard dies.

  • 1877

    Mary Howard dies and her husband's nephew, General the Hon. Arthur Upton, inherits having spent some of his time here since 1866.

  • Sir Josceline Bagot

    1883

    Arthur dies without issue. Sir Josceline Bagot, Mary Howard's father's great-great nephew, inherits.

  • 1896

    Birth of son, Alan Desmond Bagot, the first direct male heir for 200 years.

  • Alan Bagot

    1913

    Sir Josceline Bagot dies, Alan inherits.

  • Richard Bagot

    1920

    Alan dies of pneumonia; Levens reverts to his uncle Richard Bagot.

  • Robin Bagot

    1921

    Richard Bagot dies and seven-year-old Oliver Robin Gaskell inherits, Josceline's grandson through his daughter Dorothy Gaskell. Levens is let to the Reynolds family, Lancashire cotton mill owners.

  • 1936

    Oliver assumes the name of Bagot by Royal Licence.

  • 1938

    Oliver marries Annette Dorothy Stephens.

  • Second World War (1939-1945)

    Oliver is captured and sent to a German prisoner-of-war camp for much of the war. His wife, Annette, manages to change a potentially damaging billet of soldiers on Levens so the house is allocated to nuns instead.

  • 1960's

    The Ministry of Transport threatens to run a dual carriageway M6 link through the end of Levens Park. Oliver Bagot employs two QCs and wins the case against it.

  • Hal Bagot

    1975-2014

    Oliver and Annette retire from running Levens and the estate passes to their eldest son, Charles (Hal) Bagot, and his wife Susie.