Elaine’s talk about Smithills’ Hall and garden took us on a
journey through time from the 13th to the 19th century. However,
the site itself is much older with the chapel dating back to
Her talk though concentrated on the English
Heritage Grade I listed hall and the Grade II listed park.
Over its long history Smithills has experienced many changes
that is well recorded and is, not surprisingly, a many layered
site. During the 1400’s it was one of 40 deer parks in
Lancashire and Smithills was in its mediaeval heyday.
location on higher ground water was abundant and was used to
sustain a moat for defence and as a fishpond.
1600’s there is evidence of an early bleaching industry in which
water availability was essential.
Its gardens were
created and maintained for pleasure and for food to suit the
tastes of the time.
By the 1800’s the importance of
agriculture had diminished set against the rise of industry,
with the Bolton area becoming a centre for bleaching. The owners
at that time were wealthy bleachers.
Elaine wove an
interesting tale down the centuries of the changes its owners
made to the hall and gardens and the tremendous legacy they left
for future generations.