A look around Turton Tower

Turton Tower is a property of mediaeval origin situated between Bolton and Darwen in Lancashire. It’s made up of three distinct and originally separate buildings, the stone tower being the oldest dating back to the 16th century. In later times, the other buildings were added and eventually all three were consolidated, with the newer additions constructed in the older Tudor style for an homogenous and perhaps more grandiose appearance.

In the 1920s, the property was given to the local council for the benefit of the local community and it’s run by a professional, knowledgeable and friendly team of volunteers, on hand to provide guided tours and a wealth of information. The American lady in the reception area/ gift shop revealed that she hailed from Detroit, where a couple of my granddad’s older brothers had emigrated in the 1930s to find work in the Ford car factory. Years ago, when I was seriously into genealogical research, I sourced the documents which outlined their initial passages from Southampton and Liverpool respectively as they set sail for their new lives. I could happily have chatted for longer to find out more about Detroit but more customers arrived and our tour guide invited us to start our exploration.

Look closely at the sizeable front door to spot a much smaller door within, a clever way to prevent ill-intentioned callers from entering unhindered and wielding their swords, possibly like the fine example displayed below.

What old English country house would be compete without a suit of armour or two? A less than discreet design feature allowed for the call of nature to be answered.

Most of the artefacts, whilst totally authentic and in keeping with the various periods of its occupation, do not belong to Turton Tower but are on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum. There are some splendid examples.

A grand if not very comfy-looking seat
ornate engraved cabinet
Early 18th century engraved box
A child’s bed engraved with sea creatures and mermaids, themes that can be found in other houses of the same era
Some of the most interesting exhibits were a variety of chairs, including
An amusing engraving
This exotic looking example
This intriguing ‘reading chair’, designed for men to sit facing towards the back, leaning on the arm rests to enhance the reading experience. The back of the chair, at crotch level, contains a little door, obviously essential for reading

All of the rooms were well presented and, perhaps because the exhibits were on loan and carefully chosen, there wasn’t that over-stuffed feel that I’ve encountered at some similar historic houses where much of what was on show seemed superfluous and untidy.

The drawing room with furniture from different eras
Top floor of the tower which provided a perfect lookout for approaching enemies, wattle and daub wall section exposed

One of my favourite objects was not one of the oldest but this gorgeous clock which shows the phases and faces of the moon peering out as if from behind the clouds . I’d never seen a clock like it, but our guide, Margaret, remembered her granny owning one and thinks they were probably not uncommon. I would love to see this charming timepiece in working order.

It was time for a cup of tea in the sunshine, so off we went to the little outdoor cafe, to enjoy the fresh air and the daffodils on a perfect spring day.

2 thoughts on “A look around Turton Tower

  1. Eunice April 14, 2022 / 11:10 pm

    Turton Tower isn’t that far from me and I very often walk round there with the dogs. It’s a very interesting place – did you see the Timberbottom skulls on the bible in one of the rooms?

    Like

    • Welcome to the Beautiful North April 15, 2022 / 9:32 am

      Yes, I saw the skulls. The story is intriguing but I don’t like seeing people’s (or animals’) remains on display. It doesn’t seem.dignified.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s