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History

Langdale Chase’s Fascinating History
1890

Mr Howarth, a businessman from Manchester, buys the site but sadly passes away the same year. His widow, Edna, takes the reins and decides to build a larger house called Langdale Chase. Her daughter, Lily, lays the first stone of this permanent residence on 8th April 1890.

The house takes five years to build and becomes the proud bearer of a number of accolades. The landscape architect Thomas Hayton Mawson — who was behind the Peace Palace Gardens in the Hague — plans and lays out the gardens. Langdale Chase will also be the first Windermere residence to have electricity installed.

Mrs Howarth herself, who is a Victorian lady, will live in the house from 1894 up until 1914. She has a team of 16 staff and lives in a style very much in keeping with the Victorian era. Eight of the staff look after the gardens, carriages and boats, and the other eight staff members work as indoor servants.

Langdale Window
1896

Mrs Howarth has a boathouse built at the southern end of the garden. This boathouse will be considered one of the best on the shores of Windermere. Mrs Howarth later commissions Brockbank of Bowness to build a 50 feet launch. The boat is named ‘Lily’, originally, but later changed to ‘Branksome’. In 1966, the Branksome will carry HRH Prince Philip on the lake during his official visit to Windermere.

1929

Following the death of Mrs Howarth, Mrs Willows and her avid collector husband, Mr Willows, buy Langdale Chase. This couple from Scarborough bring with them all their treasures. These include the old oak, the china plates and the paintings displayed in the hall today. Mrs Willows will live in the house after her husband’s death right up until her death in 1929.

The old oak fireplace in the hall has the date of 1664 and bears the impressive inscription ‘Nicholas Tufton, Earl of Thanet and Elizabeth, Countess of Thanet’. Elizabeth herself was the daughter of Lady Anne Clifford, who was born at Skipton castle in 1590 and owned several castles in Westmorland.

The fireplace is of special interest within the house. The Latin motto on the fireplace, ‘Alis volat propriis Honor virtuis prӕmium’, translates as ‘A bird flies by its own wings; honour flies by the rewards of valour’, but the true interpretation of the carved scene is still to be traced.

The fireplace tiles are likely to be the work of the potter William de Morgan, who lived from 1832 to 1917. Byzantine, Spanish and Persian styles and glazes all influence De Morgan’s pottery style. The private sitting room boasts a unique, dark oak Gothic fire piece which depicts the return of the Prodigal Son. This consists of carvings that Mr Willows picks up from Beverley Minster.

The original dining room — now a lounge — features an overmantle which bears the crest of the Howarth family and the date 1892. The Grasmere Hermit, who lived on the island in the middle of Grasmere, carved the overmantle and is thought to have done his carving in Easdale.

The man behind the oak staircase and the carving around the hall is Arthur Jackson Smith. He travels to Windermere specially to carry out this work and later settles with his wife and family in Coniston. One of his grandsons still lives there and has built an outstanding reputation for his work as a violin maker.

Glass Feature
1937

Langdale Chase opens its doors as a hotel for the first time in Easter following the death of the owner in 1929.  The new owner, Miss Dorothy Dalzell, will convert the old kitchens and pantries into a new dining room by 1937 and later add windows that provide panoramic views of the lake and mountains in the Lake District. The Steinway concert grand piano which stands in the drawing room was offered to her during the last war. The owners were anxious to preserve the piano when their home was excavated.

Curiously, in 1930, lots of red squirrels visit the house garden. These squirrels are so tame that they come to the window to be fed. The red squirrel will go on to become an emblem for Langdale Chase from then.

Piano Detail
1974

A Manchester solicitor, Mr Norman Buckley, buys Langdale Chase with his wife, Mrs Betty Buckley. In his lifetime, Mr Buckley will hold nine water speed world records over the years, achieved in his boats Miss Windermere I, II and III. Tragically, he passes away in November of the same year.

Mrs Buckley will devote her life to maintaining the high standards of Langdale Chase and make two major changes: 1) replace an older building with a new Lakeland stone bungalow which has six guest rooms and magnificent views of the lake and hills; and 2) enlarge and refurbish the restaurant. She passes away in 1981.

Garden Views
1977

HRH Highness The Prince of Wales opens the Steamboat Museum and will take a ride on the Branksome to Bowness Bay. The Branksome now resides in the museum, which is home to some of the finest steamboats in the world. Thanks to the velvet and leather upholstery, the boat has attracted special recognition for its elegance.

2017

After 43 years of life as a country hotel, Langdale Chase joins the House of Daniel Thwaites collective and the AA awards it 4 silver stars for the hotel and 2 Rosettes for the restaurant.