Smithills Hall

Has been described as a Possible Fortified Manor House

There are major building remains

NameSmithills Hall
Alternative NamesSmithells Hall
Historic CountryLancashire
Modern AuthorityBolton
1974 AuthorityGreater Manchester
Civil ParishBolton

Large house, part now converted into a museum. Originally an early 14th century hall house, extended in the 15th or early 16th century and again in 1590. The chapel was rebuilt in 1858 and the house was remodelled and extended circa 1875. The north and west sides of the house were formerly protected by a moat. Mostly stone-built, with some timber framing and with stone-flagged roofs throughout. (PastScape)

The manor of Smithill Is first belonged to the Hospitallers, and was held by the Hulton family before becoming the chief manor of the Radcliffes in 1335. Although the date of 1680 is found upon a stone above the entrance door to the Hall, and tradition records a history of a house on the site from that date, the oldest part of the present building dates back probably to the earliest part of the 15th century. The Hall is situated on a naturally defensive position. The north and west sides were protected by a moat and the south and east sides by Astley Brook and Raveden Brook respectively. The house has been much altered and added to.

The Hall was originally a timber construction. The 'quatrefoil decorated open timber roof and supporting east and west walls are pre-1350; the wide walls were also possibly timber-framed. Later sections including the 16th or 17th century east wing can also be seen. During one of the numerous alterations made at a later date the pitch of the roof was raised, and the 19th century saw considerable addition and repair work. Owing to later alterations, especially those of the Victorian period, the Hall displays a rather misleading aspect; it is, in fact, one of the oldest surviving houses in the area.

Nearly all the windows of SmithiIIs Hall are modern insertions and are more elaborate than the former square headed ones. The eastern wing of the house is the least altered, but the west wing is Victorian and is now in use as an old people's home and is not open to the public

The last person to own the HalI was Captain Nigel Ainsworth, who sold it in 1938 to the County Borough of Bolton. Smithills Hall was in need of extensive repairs after the Second World War, and Government aid was granted for its restoration. The Hall is now open to the public. (Walker and Tyndall 1985)

Gatehouse Comments

Taylor writes the position is defensive and that there was a, now lost, detached gatehouse.

- 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 ReferenceSD699118
Latitude53.6025314331055
Longitude-2.45570993423462
Eastings369940
Northings411870
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Books

  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 260
  • Walker, J.S.F. and Tyndall, A.S. (eds), 1985, Country Houses of Greater Manchester p. 96 online copy
  • Burton, N., 1981, Historic Houses Handbook (London) p. 315
  • Chapman, M., 1971, Lancashire Halls (Norwich) p. 64-66
  • Pevsner, N., 1969, Buildings of England: South Lancashire p. 89-90
  • Haward, W.I., 1964, Secret Rooms of North-West England (Lancaster) p. 28, 29
  • Farrer, William and Brownbill, J. (eds), 1911, VCH Lancashire Vol. 5 p. 14-19 online transcription
  • Taylor, H., 1884, Old Halls of Lancashire and Cheshire p. 60-65 (plan) online copy