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Elizabethan Browsholme Hall, (pronounced 'Brewsom') is situated four miles from the town of Cltheroe and lies in a picturesque setting in the scenic Forest of Bowland , an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Browsholme Hall is claimed to be the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire, the house reflects the lifestyles, taste and fortunes of each of the fourteen generations of the Parker family who have there.
In the fourteenth century, Edmund Parker was park-keeper of Radholme Laund, west of Browsholme, which was one of the two great deer parks in the Forest of Bowland. In 1393, his sons Richard and John were deputy parkers of Radholme, but from 1380, they had a lease of the vaccary (mediaeval cattle farm) of Browsholme. Richard probably built the original house on the present site around this time.
The first Tudor king, Henry VII disafforested Bowland in 1507, when Edmund Parker obtained a copyhold of Nether Browsholme and began building the present house, in the traditional H-layout of the Tudor period, with a central block and two projecting wings.
Thomas Parker, purchased the freehold of Browsholme from the Crown in 1603 and further improved the house, which had been enlarged by his father. His grandson, also called Thomas, is believed to have added a formal garden in 1674. On the death of his father, John Parker in 1797, Thomas Lister Parker succeeded to the Browsholme estate. In 1804 and 1805, he made alterations to the Hall, rebuilding the west wing, and afterwards he made additions under the superintendence of Sir Jeffry Wyatville. Robert Goulbourne Parker repaired Browsholme in 1958 with the aid of the Historic Buildings Council, and from 1957, opened the house to the public.
The house contains a collection of portraits, weapons, armour, and antiquities, including superb oak chests, Gillow furniture, Portraits, Porcelain, Civil War arms and armour and relics including mementoes of Bonny Prince Charlie and a fragment of a Zeppelin.
The original Tudor hall was shortened in 1754, but otherwise is unchanged since it was built. Within the hall are pieces of Tudor and Stuart futniture, and a few peculiar items of historic interest.
Other rooms open to the public include the Library, which was originally part of the Tudor hall, and features wonderful wood panelling dating to 1620 and an Elizabethan overmantle to the fireplace. The Drawing Room, which dates from much later, was designed by James Wyatt in the early ninettenth century. The room boasts paintings by George Romney, Angelica Kauffman and JMW Turner, among other notable artists.
Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland
The Parker family have been Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland since the Restoration. In Old English law, a Bowbearer was an under-officer of the forest who looked after all manner of trespass on vert or venison, and who attached, or caused to be attached, the offenders, in the feudal Court of Attachment.The office fell into abeyance in the late nineteenth century but in 2010, the 16th Lord of Bowland re-asserted his ancient right and appointed Robert Parker his Bowbearer of the Forest of Bowland, the first Parker to be so appointed in more than 150 years.