Carved on a lintel in the Cross Keys
We will open Fridays from 9.30am to 5.00pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 9.30am to 4.30pm. We are now open on Mondays from 10.30 to 2.30 for a snack and a chat. Happy to accept party bookings any day or evening. We are open to residents at all times.
We do not sell alcoholic beverages but you are welcome to bring a bottle or two! We do provide glasses and do not charge corkage.
Our opening days and times can be flexible for groups of 10 or over so do ask
At The Cross Keys the emphasis is on the homely, we try to create a friendly and comfortable atmosphere rather than that of a formal hotel. The furnishings are traditional, harking back to its days as a farmhouse
and coaching inn.
Our parlour has several comfortable chairs where you are encouraged to sit and relax before and after your meal. The parlour also features an open fire which is wonderful on those wild winter days, a piano which customers are welcome to play, and a wind up gramophone.
The Dining Room with its wealth of pewter can comfortably sit 26 people and the adjoining veranda with the breathtaking view of the Cautley Spout and rolling Howgills, can seat a further 6 people.
Our restaurant has a lovely atmosphere that will make your meal relaxing and enjoyable. Our menu is subject to minor changes as the seasons dictate and the availability of fresh produce. We also have various vegetarian dishes available each night and please let us know of dietary requirements especially gluten free as we are happy to help. Do please remember we prep each afternoon for bookings received so a late booking may not be available.
We have two comfortable en-suite rooms where we offer bed & breakfast.
One large family room with a double bed, and bed settee for smaller members of the family, which features an old oak cradle donated by the same Kirkby Stephen family. Plus a neat twin bedded room.
Between the two rooms is an old oak panelled room now used as a library and sitting room for guests along with cupboards full of games to keep the children occupied.
The earliest records of the Cross Keys show a Thomas Bland as the occupant in 1619. Although the property as we now know it was likely to have been extended in the mid 17th century and was then again extended in the early 18th and 19th century. The oldest part of the building is the parlour and the room above. In 1949 it was left to the National Trust in the will of Mrs Edith Adelaide Bunney, to be held as an unlicensed inn, in memory of her sister, Miss Mary Blanche Hewetson.
Previous to becoming an inn in the early 1700’s the Cross Keys was a farmhouse known as High Haygarth. It probably became an inn shortly after 1819 when the Cautley Road, which originally ran up over the Bluecaster Fell, was re-aligned to run on a more even route, which passed in front of High Haygarth.
The most influencing chapter of the Cross Keys was when it sold alcohol, which stopped short following a jolly evening at the Cross Keys a relative of a local family by the name of Buck was being helped home in the direction of Ravenstonedale by the then Landlord. It would seem that the relative fell down the river banking. In an attempt to assist him the Landlord fell into the river Rawthey and subsequently drowned. On 27th October 1902 the Cross Keys was sold by auction at the Bull Hotel, Sedbergh, for £900.oo to Mrs Sarah Buck of Ravenstonedale. Mrs Buck re-sold it to Mrs Edith Adelaide Bunney who removed the liquor license, with the result that since 1902 the Cross Keys has been a Temperance Inn.
The initials and date above the front door refer to John and Agnes Howgill who owned High Haygarth at that time
The Hewetsons were a Ravenstonedale family and there is a window in Ravenstonedale Church, some 10 miles north of the Cross Keys, depicting St Cecilia, in memory of Mary Blanche who died in 1890 aged 29. Edith Adelaide and Mary Blanche were the daughters of John and Adelaide Hewetson of Hwith House at The Street, Ravenstonedale (demolished 1926). Edith was born in 1868 and died in 1948 at The Street, Ravenstonedale. She married Michael F. W. Bunney, an architect who died in 1926. Their son, Michael John Hewetson Bunney, of Hwith, Ravenstonedale, was born in 1907 and married Charlotte Gray in 1935. They were both architects and had a practice at 30 Lowther Street, Kendal, and were responsible for the refurbishment of Kendal’s Abbot Hall.
In 1652, Colonel Gervase Benson was a lawyer and one time Mayor of Kendal. Colonel Benson lived at Borret Farm near Bigflatts in Sedbergh, and owned High Haygarth. In that year he was a supporter of a group known as the Westmorland Seekers, a group among many at that time who turned away from state religion and embraced freer forms of worship in “gathered churches” of like-minded men and women.
George Fox came to Sedbergh to attend his first Seeker meeting that Whit Sunday at Borret Farm and this meeting saw the start of a further spiritual journey for Gervase Benson.
His first wife Dorothy was imprisoned at York “for speaking to (or heckling) a priest” and there she gave birth to their son Immanuel in 1653. When she died a year or two later she was buried in the garden at High Haygarth which we now believe to be an area covered by our dining room and verandah.
The Quaker Connection has continued with the present tenant, Alan Clowes, but he has sadly recently died so his wife Chris continues to uphold the Quaker concept.
The Cross Keys is now the wonderful home of Alan and Christine Clowes who both help to keep the warm and friendly environment that The Cross Keys oozes. To this day the Cross Keys remains a Temperance Inn. Although there have been those that say the remember getting a drink here!
The Cross Keys is accessible from the M6 at Junction 37 via Sedbergh, then from Sedbergh head for Kirkby Stephen on the A683, we are on the left after around 4 miles.
From the North East come off the A66 at Brough, pass through Kirkby Stephen and at the top of the hill (after the train station) turn left to Sedbergh on the A683, we are on the right after around 7 miles.