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Wednesday, 01 October 2014

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Information wanted about West Cumbrian mystery house

This mystery house near Cockermouth is being restored, and a plea has been sent out for information about it.

The National Trust has rented out the grade two listed Dunthwaite House in Setmurthy and the tenant wants to restore it to its former glory.

The house was in the hands of the Harrison family from 1696 until the death of the Rev Daniel Harrison in 1940.

It was passed to the stewardship of the National Trust because Daniel did not marry and had no heirs.

From 1940 onwards, the National Trust has been renting the house out to tenants and it has been vacant since March 2010.

David Valentine, the prospective tenant, wants to restore the house to how it looked under Daniel Harrison’s ownership.

He is working with the National Trust on a project to develop and improve the property.

It has five bedrooms and also includes servants’ quarters, a parlour and a drawing room. Many original features can still be seen, including cornice and wallpaper.

In the courtyard is a barn and within that is a water mill dating from 1823, and a grinding and threshing machine.

David has said he is keen to hear from anyone with information on the house.

He said: “We planned to do quite a bit of work to the house, especially the water mill, which is only one of three still intact in Cumbria.

“We are a bit stuck on the history of the house. It seems there is very little around.

“We want to restore the gardens but we have very little to go on.”

Mary Ann Wilson and Jane Mudie were Daniel Harrison’s housekeepers at Dunthwaite.

Jane’s husband, Henry Mudie, was a gardener at the house and worked as a postman in Cockermouth.

David said he would welcome any details that anyone may have about the house, the Harrison family, housekeepers or Henry Mudie.

He said: “What happened to the contents of the house? Does anyone have any old pictures of the house? Has anyone’s family ever worked at the house?”

Anyone with information should call David on 07746812695 or Sarah Woodcock at the National Trust on 01539 463822.

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