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Turton Tower

OS Grid Ref: - SD73051521

Turton TowerTurton Tower is situated in the small village of Turton, on the edge of the popular walking area of the West Pennine Moors in Lancashire.

It was constructed in the late medieval period as a three storey pele tower which was altered and enlarged mainly in late sixteenth century. A north wing and additions were made in Elizabethan times while further alterations were made during the early years of Queen Victoria's reign.

Turton Tower was home to the lords of the Manor of Turton and in around 1200 was part of the barony of Manchester by which time part of the manor was owned by the de Lathom family. It was inherited in 1420 by the Orrells who were responsible for rebuilding the the pele tower. The original stone pele tower measures 45 feet in length and is 28 feet in width. It stands around 35 feet high. In the north-west corner of the tower the shaft of a garderobe projects from the main structure.

In the early sixteenth century two cruck framed buildings were added to the tower, turning it into a comfortable home. Inside the building this Tudor architecture can be seen including part of the cruck structure along with exposed and restored sections of the wattle and daub and lath and plaster wall panelling.

In 1628 the Lathom family sold Turton Tower to Humphrey Chetham, a Manchester merchant who was responsible for the creation of Chetham's Library and Chetham's School of Music. It passed to his descendants, the Bland, Green and Frere families who leased it to a succession of tenant farmers. During the seventeenth century the cruck buildings were clad in stone.

The tower was sold in a poor state of repair in 1835 to the inventor James Kay who added the Dutch gable fašade which now forms the main visitor entrance to the house and transformed it into a romantic Gothic building. The Kays left in the 1890s and, after occupation by several more tenants, the house was purchased by Sir Lees Knowles who used it as a hunting lodge and weekend retreat. On his death in 1929 Lady Nina Knowles, his widow, gave the tower and grounds to Turton Urban District Council to use for the benefit of the public. Turton Tower is now owned by Blackburn with Darwen council.

The house displays one of the finest collections of period oak furniture and paintings in the region. Some of the most interesting pieces of furniture include the Courtenay bed, which dates to 1593, which was brought to the house by the Kays in 1840 and a collection of books which were originally given to the parish church at Turton by Humphrey Chetham who once owned the Tower.

Turton Tower includes a gift shop and Taste Lancashire Quality Assured Tea Room.


M65 Exit at Junction 4 and take the A666 through Darwen, left at Greens Arms Road to Chapeltown, right onto B6391.

M66 At end of motorway take A676. At Bradshaw turn right along B6391.

M61 Exit at Junction 5 onto the A58 and then turn left onto the A676 to Bradshaw, left onto B6391.

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