1765 Crossbasket

Having written extensively about Crossbasket in previous years, this is my photoshop mockup of how I think Crossbasket looked around 1765.

Starting with a later photo, I stripped back the elements of the building, back to the size and configuration of what it would have looked like upon completion of the first extension.

As such, this illustration is my recommended example of what the building looked like in 1765 (following the extension it would have been ivy free without any flagpole or terraced gardens yet) or indeed the whole right hand side of the house. This part of the building pictured to the right would also later be hugely extended and become the middle of the current building.

Thomas Peter Snr may have taken the decision to upgrade Crossbasket, for a grand, modern house had recently been built on the neighbouring Greenhall estate, not just several hundred yards away and this may have prompted a “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality.

With the existing tower raised slightly on a mound, the land surrounding it was leveled, creating a flat area to the West, retained by a new stone wall above the Calder river. To the East, the area was dug out deeper to accommodate a basement level for the new Mansion House. Above the basement, were two storeys, the front of the new extension having 7 windows, visible from ground floor upwards. There was also a new arched doorway. Railings were placed around the new extension, for the basement also had 4 windows, letting in light below ground level. The mansion house was built of stone and rendered in an exterior type of plaster, (precursor to roughcasting). The tower however had its stonework left untouched but had its windows enlarged and the “battlements” added to the tower on top of the staircase, a feature only.

In 1765, the text accompanying Sandby’s sketch said, “There is a large modern mansion, attached to its east end, as shown by Sketch. The interior of the keep has been greatly altered to suit modern circumstances. The exterior, however, is mostly old work, but the embrasures on the staircase turret are modern, as is also the enlarging of the windows (except the dormers, which are old). The tower is three stories high, with attics, and has a walk round the battlements.”

The mansion house roof level was about three quarters the height of the tower. Slated, it took the design of the tower’s garret and was likely set off with a mid ridge chimney stack, which in future renovations would be raised, taller clear of the tower. The roofline was finished with 8 stone “battlements” of similar design to the parapets on the square caphouse of the adjacent and older tower. Nearby Mains Castle never had these battlements. The new extension doubled the footprint of Crossbasket and provided additional living space, and useful servants quarters. Even when it was finished, the dominant part of the building, was still very much the original tower.

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