The first dwelling at Levens was a medieval pele tower, built by the de Redman family of Yealand Redmayne. The Bellingham family, who were wealthy landowners, chose Levens as their main residence in the 1590s and incorporated the fortified tower into a gentleman’s residence. They employed local craftsmen to carve the oak panelling, incorporated elaborate Italian plasterwork, including Elizabeth the First’s coat of arms and stained glass – all of which can be seen today.