Hugh Seat

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Hugh Seat
Westmorland, Yorkshire
Hugh Seat (IanGreig).jpg
The summit of Hugh Seat
Range: Pennines
Summit: 2,260 feet SD809991
54°23’15"N, 2°17’38"W

Hugh Seat is a mountain amongst the Pennines whose summit stands on the border between Westmorland and the North Riding of Yorkshire. It is also at the watershed between Mallerstang Common in Westmorland to the west and Angram Common and the Yorkshire Dales to the east.

Hugh Seat is a high point above Black Fell Moss, an extensive area of peat bog drained by Red Gill Beck, which is the source of the River Eden. At this watershed between east and west two of the great rivers of Yorkshire great rivers, the Ure and the Swale, also rise just half a mile from the Eden: the Eden flows west and ultimately to the Irish Sea, while the waters of the Ure and Swale flow west, ultimately to the North Sea.

Although it has a relatively small prominence, having several other high points nearby (and is therefore classified as a 'sub-Hewitt' or a 'Nuttall' but not a 'Marilyn'). Hugh Seat nevertheless rises conspicuously above the source of the dale of the River Eden.

Mallerstang (showing "Huseat Morvel hill"); from John Speede's 1610 map of Westmorland
Lady Anne's Pillar (1664)

The old name for this peak was Hugh Seat Morvill or sometimes Morvil Hill,[1] (and Daniel Defoe confuses it with Wild Boar Fell in his "Tour").[2]

Near the summit there is a column of cut stones, known as "Lady's Pillar", and the inscription AP1664 can just be made out - for Anne Pembroke, Lady Anne Clifford's married name. The pillar was erected in 1664 to commemorate Sir Hugh de Morville, Lady Anne's predecessor as Lord of the Manor of Mallerstang. (Sir Hugh was one of the four knights responsible for the murder of Archbishop Thomas Beckett in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170.)

The border between the two counties is marked near the summit by a fence, which is intended to stop sheep which are "heafed" (trained to stay in a certain area without the need for fences) straying beyond their allotted common land.

There are extensive views from the summit: to the south-east the view looks to Cotterdale and Wensleydale; north-west to Gregory Chapel; and west to Mallerstang and Wild Boar Fell. This rugged terrain between Great Shunner Fell and Wild Boar Fell, (part of what David Bellamy has called "the last wilderness in England"), is too inaccessible to be well known by tourists, but it is a favourite route for many walkers.[3]

Outside links


  1. M. Ffinch, The Howgills and the Upper Eden Valley, Hale, 1982 (page 22)
  2. Daniel Defoe's Tour Through the Whole Island of Great Britain, 1726 (10)
  3. A. Wainwright, Wainwright in the Limestone Dales (Guild Publishing, 1991) page 19