Turton Tower

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are major building remains

NameTurton Tower
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityBlackburn with Darwen
1974 AuthorityLancashire
Civil ParishNorth Turton

A late medieval fortified house which was later altered and enlarged, restored in 1835 and further altered in the mid 19th century. The original stone tower was raised from two to three storeys circa 1596. The timber and stone ranges to the north and east are also of 16th century date. The building was used as a farmhouse from 1809 to 1835 and is now in use as a museum. (PastScape)

TURTON TOWER stands on high ground in a situation described by Camden as 'amongst precipices and wastes,' about 4 miles north of Bolton. It is an exceedingly interesting building, the oldest part of which consists of a stone tower built square with the compass, measuring externally 45 ft. in length from north to south, and 28 ft. in width, with walls 4 ft. thick. There is no architectural feature remaining to determine the precise date of the original walls, which are of a somewhat rough order with large quoin stones; whether any part of the building is earlier than the first part of the 15 th century is very doubtful. The tower was altered and raised in the 16th century, when additions in stone and timber were made on its eastern and northern sides, and a range of buildings erected at right angles to it on the north-east. The plan thus formed, which is still that of the house, follows the lines of two sides of a court inclosed by buildings on the north and west. These later buildings were much altered in the first half of the 19th century, when they assumed their present appearance. The house therefore belongs to three main periods: the tower proper to the Middle Ages, the original north wing and additions to the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the alteration and refacing of the latter to the early years of Queen Victoria

The whole forms a very picturesque group of buildings, the stonework of the older part offering a strong but agreeable contrast to the irregular wood and plaster work set against it.

There is no trace of the building ever having been of larger extent than at present, and the original structure no doubt consisted simply of a single peel tower with wooden buildings adjoining. The masonry of the tower is in a very good state of preservation, and at the north-east corner are the remains of a projecting vice perfect still at the top, but cut away in recent times in the lower story. In the north-west corner is still the shaft of a garderobe projecting from the main structure, and there is a garderobe cut in the thickness of the wall, probably at a later date. The original tower would be about 35 ft. high, and consisted of three low stories, evidences of which still remain in the old blocked window-openings which can be seen from the outside—two on the ground floor, one on the upper floor, and five on the original top floor. These windows were of two lights on the two lower stories, and of one light above. There are also the remains of a window almost entirely destroyed on the north side, near what is now the pantry door, and further remains of another window above it, now internal, proving that at this time there were no buildings adjoining the tower proper on the north side. (VCH)

Gatehouse Comments

Built circa 1420, possibly by John de Torboc, the manor came to the William Orrellin 1475, The Orrells relatives, the de Lathorn and Torboc families had claims to the manor and the tower had some defensive purpose. The manor was a small one held for a part (a quarter or an eighth) of a Knight's fee.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSD730152
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Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved
Copyright Dave Barlow of Abaroths World All rights reserved

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  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 39
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 252
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 136
  • King, D.J.C., 1983, Castellarium Anglicanum (London: Kraus) Vol. 1 p. 247
  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus, 1969, Buildings of England: Lancashire, The rural north (Harmondsworth) p. 250
  • < >Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1911, VCH Lancashire Vol. 5 p. 275-8 (plans and notably full architectural description) online transcription < >
  • Fishwick, 1907, 'Castles and Fortified Houses' in Fishwick and P.H. Ditchfield (eds), Memorials of Old Lancashire (London: Bemrose and sons) Vol. 2 p. 20 (weak) online copy
  • Mackenzie, J.D., 1896, Castles of England; their story and structure (New York: Macmillan) Vol. 2 p. 205-6 online copy
  • Taylor, H., 1884, Old Halls of Lancashire and Cheshire p. 75-76 (plan) online copy
  • Scholes, James C., 1880, Notes on Turton Tower and Its Successive Owners (Bolton: Daily Chronicle Steam-Printing Works)
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 217 online copy


  • Fishwick, H., 1901, 'The Old Castles of Lancashire.' Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society Vol. 19 p. 73 online copy

Guide Books

  • Dowland, Martin Robinson, 1999, Turton Tower - a guide (Lancashire County Museum)
  • Laws, G.E. Peter, 1985, A Guide to Turton Tower


  • Howard, R.E. and Arnold, A.J., 2008, Turton Tower, Chapeltown Road, Turton, Blackburn with Darwen: Tree-Ring Analysis of Timbers (English Heritage Research Department report no. 93)