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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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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.
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