Archiver > UK-ULVERSTON-FHS > 2004-05 > 1083752921

From: Carol Bennett <>
Subject: Stone Cross - Ulverston's stately home
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 11:28:41 +0100

Is another piece of Ulverston's history about to bite the dust?

Hi Everybody

As promised, here's a bit more info on Stone Cross Mansion
in Ulverston.

Stone Cross was built by Myles Kennedy in 1874. Myles was
born in 1836, one of 3 sons of Charles Storr Kennedy and Elizabeth
(nee Burton - of the Burton banking family.)

It was C.S Kennedy who began the mining operations at Roanhead
and Askam. He died in 1857 and his eldest son Charles Burton Kennedy
and youngest son Myles took over and formed Kennedy Bros.

Charles Burton died in 1865 and Myles took over the company.

Myles Kennedy married Margaret Rowley, the daughter of A.B. Rowley
of Manchester, in 1861. They had 16 children - 6 sons and 10

The building's architect was thought to be Grundy, but it's possible
that it may have been built by Paley & Austin of Lancaster.

The building houses a large painting on grand staircase, by
Lucien V. Besche, depicting a scene from Sleeping Beauty but
using members of the Kennedy family and friends. Besche was a
ceramic painter at Minton and was based in Stoke on Trent. He is
listed as a miniature painter but the Stone Cross painting, c.1880,
is in 3 panels, and about 12 feet high. One of the panels was slashed
by somebody with a knife several months ago.

In recent years Stone Cross Mansion was the head office of local company
Marl International. Marl spent hundreds of thousands of pounds on the
building, slowly restoring it and also bringing historic items back to

When Marl wished to expand by building an extension at the back of the
property, planning was refused so they had to move elsewhere. The
building now owned by a property developer, has only been empty
for about 16 months, but unbelievably, in that short time, has been
decimated by vandals.

Last Friday night the building was set on fire and fire crews from all
around the district battled for 8 hours to gain control.
They did a brilliant job. Shortly after the fire, a 13-year-old boy was

I went round the Grade II Listed building on Saturday afternoon after it
was declared safe, and I was shocked to the pit of my stomach at the
state of it,
which is due entirely to vandalism and wanton neglect. The fire is the
least of its

The whole world had access to it - nearly every window in the Mansion
has been
smashed, and although steel plates had been placed over the ground floor
windows and doors,
the wooden back doors on the small extension at the rear had been left
and consequently
had been kicked in, and access was also being gained through a skylight
on the low roof.
Access was also being gained at the front of the building by people
climbing the drainpipes
up to the first floor balcony.

The first thing that hit me was the graffiti - sprayed all over the
and arches at the entrance. Some 'person' had gone to the trouble of
using a
cement-type mixture to write their initials on one of the marble

Little fires had been set all around the property, inside and out, over
the past few months, fortunately they had gone out without causing any
damage. Some of the bannisters from the
grand staircase and the back staircases have been sawn off and burned in
the Hall fireplace; the gutters on the roof (they only need clearing
once a month to keep the building dry) are blocked with leaves,
consequently the rain has been coming through and just about the whole
of the ground floor has been affected. The Minton tiles, the highly
polished floors, the marble columns, the sandstone, are all ruined, and
still stand in several inches of rain water. The building is strewn with
all sorts of rubbish, beer cans, and squatters' sleeping bags. Vandals
have smashed the mirror of a most beautiful large oak fire surround -
smashed it to pieces.
Some delicate stained glass panels in one of the doors have been pounded
with some
heavy object. And another sickening sight - there was a large dead bird
- a Crow or a
Jackdaw - hanging by its neck from a piece of chain, from the lights in
one room.
So sick.

Thankfully some joiners arrived while I was there, to board up the back
doors and the
But is it too little too late?


Carol Bennett
Administrator, UK-ULVERSTON-FHS-L
Ulverston Heritage Centre:

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