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Hoghton Tower

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;

In the civil parish of Hoghton.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Lancashire.
1974 county of Lancashire.
Medieval County of Lancashire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD62272642
Latitude 53.73280° Longitude -2.57339°

Hoghton Tower has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House, and also as a probable Pele Tower.

There are no visible remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Hoghton Tower is strikingly situated near the summit of a bold eminence about half-way between Blackburn and Preston. The position is a commanding one, and the prospect from the top of the entrance tower is very extensive, ranging from the mountains of the Lake District to those of North Wales, with the great plain of south-west Lancashire stretching to the Irish Sea below. On its north and east sides the hill, which is the highest ground in the neighbourhood and a conspicuous object in the landscape for miles around, is precipitous, and at its base on the east side the River Darwen passes through a deep wooded ravine. On the west it slopes gradually, and on the higher part of the sloping side, but some little distance from the summit, the building is situated. The site of the house is about 560 ft. above the sea level and some 360 ft. above the general level of the surrounding country, but the building follows very largely the slope of the hillside, the gardens at the east end being at a considerably higher level than the outer, or west, courtyard.
The house is an admirable specimen of the large stone-built mansion of the middle 16th century, erected round two courtyards, with the great hall and living rooms generally grouped round the upper court. The offices and servants' quarters are built westward north and south of the lower courtyard, the west end of which is inclosed by an embattled gateway, with low flanking towers joined to it by curtain walls. (VCH)

Mansion house of de Hoghton family. Begun by Thomas Hoghton 1562-3; dated 1565 in upper courtyard and 1700 on south wing of lower courtyard; probably mostly sequential building from the earlier date, with parts of mid- to later C17, and additions of c.1700 and c.1900; derelict by mid C19, but restored from 1862 (ex situ datestones of 1673 in south-west turret of ramparts). Sandstone, with stone slate roofs. Dramatically sited on crown of Hoghton Hill escarpment, on a conservative double courtyard plan, mostly 2 storeys, and employing some similarly conservative features, probably deliberately. Lower courtyard enclosed by screen wall with embattled gate tower and corner towers facing down westward slope, added ranges on north and south sides of this courtyard; upper courtyard with gateway on same axis (tower destroyed 1642), Great hall and kitchen on north side, state rooms on east side and living rooms on south and west sides; former chapel attached at north east corner decayed by mid C19 and replaced with porch; most of these elements apparently of different builds. Gateways of lower and upper courtyards have 4-centred double-chamfered arches which have semi-octagonal responds with moulded caps; over the outer arch of the lower gate a carved plaque representing a man wrestling with a beast and lettered T H, in Renaissance architrave; over the upper gateway on its outer side a carved plaque with shield of arms (2 bulls as bearers) and helm in heavily foliated surround lettered TH, and on its inner side another with Hoghton arms and date 1565. Windows throughout have slightly-recessed mullions (some moulded, some cavetto) but no hoodmoulds, and are variously of 2,3, or 4 lights, except those to the principal rooms of the upper courtyard, which have transoms. These rooms are all above ground floor: the Great Hall raised over a basement has a full-height semi-octagonal bay to the inner and outer sides of the upper (east) end, fenestrated all round with 3 transoms, gable corbelled out over the corners bearing ball finials on the kneelers and the apex, on the courtyard side a high-set tripartite window with 2 transoms (12, 15 and 15 lights) and opposite this on the outer side an external chimney stack to a side-wall fireplace, and at the lower (west) end a moulded 4-centred arched doorway up 9 semi-circular steps, a similar doorway at the north end of the screens covered by a short outer wing or porch decorated at ground floor with remains of good Renaissance detailing, including pilasters, strapwork, and entablature, a moulded cornice carrying a slightly-oversailing upper floor. The east range of this courtyard has transomed windows at 1st floor of 8+8, 8, and 10+10 lights, and the south range has similar windows of 4, 6+6, 6+6 and 6+6 lights. Interior: principal features of interest include late C17 screen and minstrels' gallery in hall with turned balusters in both parts; staircase in east range with twisted balusters; well-house in north-east corner of outer courtyard, with wooden winding gear; and ovolo-moulded beams, panelling, Renaissance-style fireplaces and overmantels variously restored or copied. (Listed Building Report)

The description and history of the house in the VCH is notably full. The current house is an embattled Elizabethan courtyard house worthy of inclusion in the Gatehouse database as a fortified house but there may have been an earlier house on the site (or a site nearby below the hill near the river) which has been suggested as a 'pele tower'. The manor was held for a fifth of a knights fee suggesting the manor house was a small one and although the family were of knightly class it would not be unreasonable to think their house was of a scale and status to be considered a pele tower rather than a tower house. The Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust website gives a construction date of 1109 for the original Hoghton Tower.
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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:29

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