OS Grid Ref: - SD494744
Award winning Leighton Hall is the lived-in house of the famous furniture making Gillow dynasty and is situated to the west of the village of Yealand Conyers, just outside Carnforth in Lancashire.
The earliest recorded mention of Leighton Hall dates back 750 years to 1246, when it is known that Adam D'Avranches had a fortified manor there. Once the seat of Sir George Middleton, who was High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1661. The hall was inherited by his grandson, George Middleton Oldfield, who died in 1708. The property passed to his son-in-law Albert Hodgson, who had married his daughter Dorothy. Hodgson took part in the Jacobite rebellion of 1715, during which was taken prisoner at Preston, the hall was sacked and burnt by government troops and all his possessions confiscated.
The hall was sold by public auction in 1722 and was purchased by a Mr Winkley from Preston, who allowed Hodgson, his friend, to live in the partially ruined house after his release from prison. The estate later came into the possession of wealthy George Towneley of Towneley Hall in Burnley, who in the 1759's had married Hodgson's daughter Mary.
The present Georgian style building was constructed by George Towneley in 1759–61 the architect was John Hird, the woods replanted and park laid out in 1763. The couple produced no children, and the estate was inherited by George’s nephew John, who sold it off in 1805.
In 1822 the property came into the possession of Richard Gillow, the grandson of furniture manufacturer Robert Gillow, who Gothicized the façade in 1822–25. A three-storey wing designed by Lancaster architects Paley and Austin, was added in 1870 by his son, Richard Thomas Gillow. Richard died in 1906, the hall was succeeded by his grandson, Charles Richard Gillow, who died in 1923.
Charles' widow continued to reside at the hall until her own death in 1966 at the age of 96. The property then passed via her daughter Helen to her grandson, Richard Gillow Reynolds who is the current owner/occupier.
The Flying Staircase is an exceptionally fine example of the early Gothic revival, with long dlicate pillars supporting a landing and framing a beautifully curved stone staircase. The family chapel features a fine late eighteenth century Gillow altar front.
The romantic Gothic towers, acres of beautiful gardens and trained birds of prey annually lure thousands of visitors. As well as the house and grounds, with extensive views of the Lakeland Fells, Leighton has a children’s play area and caterpillar maze, plant conservatory and charming tea rooms.
Leave M6 at jct 35 and then on to the A6 North (signposted Milnthorpe) and follow the brown tourism signs for Leighton Hall.