Chorley Historical and Archaeological Society

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Apr 2019




Tue 09th Apr 2019
Elaine Taylor – Turnpikes and Maps in the North West.

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 AD763.

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.

Its location on higher ground water was abundant and was used to sustain a moat for defence and as a fishpond.

By the 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.

Elaine Taylor

Smithill's Hall

The Great Hall

Smithill's Hall

Peter Robinson