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Countrystride #98: ASKHAM – A vernacular celebration which we take a wintry trip to Lowther country and the pristine village of Askham to celebrate the built heritage of Cumbria. In the company of historic buildings officer Alexandra Fairclough, we take a long view of the vernacular and its champions – from John Ruskin to Professor Ron Brunskill – before embarking on a whistlestop tour of a village that was neither formally designed, like Lowther, nor set upon a springline, like nearby Helton. As we wander, we consider the link between geology and buildings, we note the features of a typical Cumbrian farmhouse, we consider the concept of 'polite' architecture, and we ask whether Cumbrian's historic buildings are in safe hands.

One-time farmhouse in Askham.

One of the two village greens.

Our guest for the day: Alexandra Fairclough outside Askham Hall. Note the mix of stones in the wall.

The parish church - rebuilt in the Norman style.

Punchbowl Inn.

Cottages opposite the Hall. Note the smaller windows on the left – signalling an older building. Also note the diminishing courses on the slate roof.

Sawmill Cottage - unusually built of sandstone, and - currently - unrendered.

The old butchers...

Butcher's datestone.

Snowdrops and evening light.


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