Ashton Hall

Has been described as a Certain Pele Tower

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains

NameAshton Hall
Alternative Names
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityLancashire
1974 AuthorityLancashire
Civil ParishThurnham

Mansion, now used as golf club house. C14th and 1856. Sandstone with slate roofs. Comprises a medieval tower of redder stone, of rectangular plan with diagonally set angle towers and with embattled parapet, with additions to north in grey stone on site of wing of c.1600, now demolished. East front has tower at left, of 2 storeys with basement. The basement has a 4-light mullioned window of C17th type. Above are 2 windows with plain stone surrounds and glazing bars. The right-hand one is sashed and has the upper glazing bars intersecting. Above it on the 1st floor is a similar window. To the right of the tower is a section of one storey with basement, and an embattled parapet. It has a porch with octagonal corner turrets and a moulded doorway with pointed head approached by a flight of stone steps. On each side is a mullioned and transomed window, with a canted bay window at the far left. At the right of the facade is a tower balancing the one at the left, but smaller and with square corner turrets carried upwards at the front corners. It is of 2 storeys with basement and has a canted bay window on the ground floor. The south wall of the south tower has 3 bays between the corner turrets which have sashed windows with glazing bars which form Gothick tracery at their heads and with plain stone surrounds. On the west side the central section has a moulded doorway with pointed head, approached by stone steps similar to those to the east. Interior not fully accessible at time of survey. Entrance hall in central section of building has open timber hammer-beam roof with carved pendants. This continues in the dining room to the south. Hall has carved stone fireplace and timber doors and doorcases in Gothic style. (Listed Building Report)

Mansion, now used as golf club house, dating to 1856, incorporating the remains of a C14 tower

Constructed from sandstone with slate roofs, the medieval tower is of a redder stone, of rectangular plan with diagonally set angle towers and with embattled parapet, with additions to north in grey stone on site of wing of circa 1600, now demolished. Earthwork remains of medieval fishponds are also present. (PastScape)

ASHTON HALL lies about 3 miles to the south of Lancaster overlooking the estuary of the Lune to the west. With the exception of the mediaeval tower, which forms the southern wing of the building, the whole of the house is modern, having been rebuilt by Mr. Starkie in a castellated Gothic style in 1856. Views of the hall before this date (Tywcross; Paley; Whitaker) show the main wing to have been of two stories above a lofty basement, with the principal entrance on the west side facing what is known as the Green Court. Dr. Whitaker was of opinion that the walls throughout the building, not only those of the tower, were of the age of Edward III, but whether this was really so it is now impossible to say. The probability is, however, that if any buildings originally existed on the north side of the present tower, which appears to be of late 14th-century date, they were of wood or erections of a more or less temporary nature. The original structure consisted probably of the tower alone, a good example of a tower-built house with a turret at each angle set diagonally to the main structure, but what additions were made to the fabric before Jacobean times, or whether there were any at all, cannot now be well determined.

The tower measures internally in the basement 50 ft. 10 in. by 25 ft. 10 in., the greater length being from west to east, and is 42 ft. in height to the top of the battlements from the present ground level, but this has been raised at least 5 ft. (This may be seen from the area in front of the east or garden elevation of the modern house, from which the tower rises to a height of 47 ft. 3 in.) The walls are 6 ft. thick, constructed of rubble masonry of mixed sandstone and gritstone in large irregular blocks with gritstone quoins and ashlar parapet. Little but the shell of the tower now remains, the interior being wholly modernized and divided up, and all the original features either destroyed or concealed. The ancient plan and arrangements are, therefore, to a great extent lost, but probably consisted of a large room on each of the two floors above the basement, with smaller apartments in the turrets, one of which may have contained a staircase. The turrets vary slightly in size, but average 14. ft. 6 in. square externally with walls 3 ft. 9 in. thick, and rise about 6 ft. above the top of the parapet of the main walls. The parapet is embattled and carried all round the building between the turrets on a corbel table; the merlons and embrasures being moulded all round. The turrets terminate in similarly corbelled battlements. The leaded roof and the floors are modern. Few of the old window openings remain, three large square-headed sash windows having been introduced into the long south front on each floor, and there are two similar windows, one to each floor, on the shorter east and west fronts. The north side is now hidden by the modern building, but in the basement are the embrasures of two loopholes and two doorways now giving access to the basement story of the middle wing. From the easternmost of these doorways there was a passage-way 2 ft. 9 in. wide in the thickness of the wall which may have contained a staircase to the upper floor, but it is now built up. There is a similar passage in the thickness of the north wall at the first floor level, which was, no doubt, the means of communication between the turret rooms without going through the chief apartment. The basement has a segmental barrel vault and is 11 ft. 6 in. high in the middle and 5 ft. at the sides. It has a wide four-light mullioned window at its east end and one of three lights at the west, both probably 17th century insertions. On the long south side there are three loopholes 1 ft. 8 in. by 5 in. wide, now built up but otherwise perfect, splaying out inside to a width of 3 ft. 4 in. with segmental heads, and there are similar built-up loopholes in the basement of the turrets. The upper windows of the turrets were small square openings, and most of these remain, but modern windows, now built up, however, have been introduced, those in the north-east turret being circular in shape. On the south side the evidence of the masonry of the main wall seems to show that originally there were two windows of some size to each floor, but no indication of their architectural character remains. There is a modern stone staircase 9 ft. in diameter in the south-east turret to both floors, but the leads are approached directly from the garden by a wooden stair in the south-west turret. The whole of the internal arrangements being modern are without architectural or antiquarian interest. (VCH)

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 ReferenceSD461572
Latitude54.0087089538574
Longitude-2.82272005081177
Eastings346100
Northings457200
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink
Photograph by Matthew Emmott. 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
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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Books

  • Salter, Mike, 2001, The Castles and Tower Houses of Lancashire and Cheshire (Malvern: Folly Publications) p. 22
  • Emery, Anthony, 1996, Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales Vol. 1 Northern England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press) p. 184
  • University of Manchester Archaeological Unit. 1996, Ashton Old Hall. a medieval fortified manor house in Tameside
  • Pettifer, A., 1995, English Castles, A guide by counties (Woodbridge: Boydell Press) p. 133
  • Gibson, Leslie Irving, 1977, Lancashire Castles and Towers (Dalesman Books)
  • Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1914, VCH Lancashire Vol. 8 p. 53-55 online transcription
  • Paley, E.G., 1875, John O'Gaunt Sketch Book (Lancaster) Vol. 3 plate 1
  • Turner, T.H. and Parker, J.H., 1859, Some account of Domestic Architecture in England (Oxford) Vol. 3 Part 2 p. 213 online copy
  • Twycross, Edw., 1847, The Mansions of England and Wales Vol. 2 : The county palatine of Lancaster, Northern division, the hundreds of Lonsdale and Amounderness p. 1–2
  • Whitaker, T.D., 1823, A History of Richmondshire in the North Riding of the County of York (London) Vol. 2 p. 475 online copy