Tuesday, 5 July 2016

A Hidden Manor House and Medieval Tower, Broughton Tower | Life in the Past Series


Set back from the village of Broughton-in-Furness, hidden by trees, stands the interesting and suitably impressive Broughton Tower.




Currently private flats Broughton Tower started life as a 14th Century pele tower, much like those found in towns like Dalton-in-Furness. The tower, much like many others, was erected to defend against the ever growing possibility of Scottish attacks. Something that was a common threat at this time as the Scots were performing constant raids on England. In the picture above you can see the original pele tower, with its typical crenelated Medieval style, in the centre of the large complex of buildings.

Much like the castle at Dalton the tower was most likely used as a manorial court, a place where local disputes and wrong doings could be brought in front of the monorail lord and brought to a conclusion. The tower even as a dungeon which could be used to hold wrong doers before further punishment.

The tower was constructed by the Broughton family, Lords of the Manor of Broughton. They stayed in the town until 1487 when Sir Thomas Broughton was killed in the battle of Stoke. Thomas had allied himself with Lambert Simnel and fought against the Kings men for him. On his death his seat at Broughton was seized by the crown and given to the 1st Earl of Derby.

Some hundred and seventy years later the 7th Earl of Derby was executed for his allegiance to Charles II. It was then, in 1658, that the tower and the seat was passed to the Sawrey family. They kept ownership of the tower until the 1920s. The Sawreys, during the 18th Century, turned the tower into a manor house. A grand extension was added to the original 14th Century tower creating a much larger and impressive structure, the structure we can see today.




















The whole site was turned into flats in recent times, which are now in private ownership. This means that the historic site is off limits for any visitors but you can walk along a public footpath through a nearby field and be rewarded with great views of the structure, including the original 14th Century tower.

The manor house and original tower are a real piece of hidden heritage, tucked away out of sight behind the small town of Broughton, and is a real treat to stumble across!

37 comments:

  1. broughton tower was turned into a boarding school for delicate children opened in the early 1950s I think and was closed down as a school in the late 90s

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  2. It was indeed a boarding school. I spent a very happy time there in this beautiful building.

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    1. the reason I know it was a boarding school is because I was there from 1970 to 1973, I was in the dormitory at the back of the building looking out to the fields and the distant forest what we use to call the wood's, the author that wrote about Broughton Tower above fails to state that it was a boarding school and that the last owners had actually gave the building to Lancashire County Council before it was turned into a school, in my day there we had a separate building which was the classrooms,

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  3. I remember as a child going there with my school and staying in an old cottage on the grounds.I got my first little pen knife in the village...Many happy days

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  4. lived her for 2 years from 1971.It was used as a boarding school for children with asthma.Many happy meories here shame its been turned into flats.Would love to go back and see it again.

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    1. ive been back with a few others and all the flats are gone and now it looks more or less like it use to be as a boarding school but with a few new doors added here and there dungeon still there, the girls playroom is where the owners have their sitting room and the downstairs boys play room is a lot smaller which still bares the scars of being a flat

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  5. I was there in late fifties and early sixties I was happy there except when I fell into moat left dangling on the barbed wire that covered it and still have the nasty scar to remind me,fond memories Janis.

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    1. I was there 1960-62... remember you Janis,,, as Janis Carter,, shared same dining table a few times...very happy days.Teachers mr Sharples miss Hill and Mrs Crawford...,,my name Bleddyn Williams..

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  6. Has anyone got any more information about this school in the 50s for children with asthma. My nanna went and has the best memories about it. Would like to know more.

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    1. Yes l was there in 1958 for 6 months
      Although being a sick kid with a chest complaint at the time .Broughton Tower was classed as a converlesant home .
      What was Nana name ? We had nursing staff looking after us and we we're schooled there by lots of nice teachers ,
      Beautiful grounds to have long walks everyday .played in a big sandpit watched one program on tv at 5pm think it was black beauty or champion the wonder horse .them at 6 pmwe had super which was hot milk and biscuits. Bed by 7pm
      Always up early woken by the Scottish Piper who walked up the drive playing the pipes .Yes good memories and made nice friends although a bit scary as a young child coming away from home l remember crying most of the first night l was there and the matron there was lovely and she let me play with her dog for comfort he was a little Scottish terrier. What was your nana name l did have a best friend there called Nancy Howard .

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    2. My dad was sent there in mid 50's. What was your Nan called? My dad remembers a nurse called Nurse Fyre. He has so many memories of this place. His name is Robert Hibbert.

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    3. I went to Broughton Towers In 1983, Best time of my child hood apart from detention, being made to stand for an hour solid, It was agony I was also made to wear pyjamas as punishment for running away, my own fault but I did have serious issues at the time. Still, It was brillint, my favourite house parent, as we nad at that time was called Debbie Wignall, I think that was her maiden name, she was beautiful, I always looked forward to seeing her, I used to Imagine that I was goin to marry her but anyway I loved tjere It was a brilliant experience, love to go back for a visit, maybe I will one day, who knows.

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    4. I am thinking about writing a book on how it use to be as a boarding school and about what life was like there as a child

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  7. There in the mid 60s. Lovely memories. Nurse fits in particular looked after me. Making rugs. Etc. Colourful halcion days. Paul crompton

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  8. Thank you to everyone for your wonderful comments. It's lovely to hear about Broughton Tower as a boarding school - more history to add to this fascinating building! :)

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    1. I would be happy to tell you all about life at Broughton Tower if you would like to get some incite from an ex pupil

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  9. Yes l was there in 1958 for six months chest complaint with many others we we're looked after by a nursing staff .the matron l remember had a scotish Terrier l also remember a scotish Piper walking up the drive most mornings playing the pipes .made a few nice friends there but sadly never kept in touch Nancy Howard was one of them Jenny Wren as we called her .also Norman and Paul .could anyone else share this time with me in Boughton Tower. Love to catch up june

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  10. The best thing is, I know the owners kid! I go to school with her and she’s my friend’s girlfriend!

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  11. I was born in 1954I developed asthma as a little girl and was SENTto Broughton Towers when I was just 5 .I stayed for quite a while then returned home to wigan for a short stay only to return to Broughton Toweers at the age of around 7-8 .my name then was Christine Peet (peetyweety) nurses Walker and Carrington were there then ..Such a happy secure place to enjoy my childhood .

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  12. I was there from 1967 to 1969 it was great, i remember the nursrs and one old nurse who lived in a cottage in the woods, i remember my first crush and loved every week when we danced, i remember going to see mother goose and peter green my friend, and many others the professor. Where has the time gone

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  13. Ive been back many times, there was a girl called evans, one lad broken his nose crossing over the path from tree to tree he fell, one young nurse came crying when her boyfriend left her she was great made us stuffed toys

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  14. HI - I WAS SENT TO BROUGHTON TOWERS WHEN I WAS ABOUT 6 OR 7 - I'M 72 NOW SO I DON'T REMEMBER TOO MUCH - MY HOME WAS IN WIGAN BACK THEN WHEN EVERY HOUSE WAS BURNING COAL FOR THEIR HEATING - THE POLLUTION WAS VERY BAD IN THOSE DAYS - I HAD BRONCHITIS AND THE DOCTOR RECOMENDED I GO TO BROUGHTON TOWERS TOO GET AWAY FROM THE POLLUTED AIR IN AND AROUNG WIGAN - IT WAS USED AS A CONVERLESENT HOME THEN - I DON'T REMEMBER ANY BAGPIPES BEING PLAYED - I REMEMBER WE HAD A VEGIE PATCH - THE DORM WAS A ROOM WITH SEVERAL BEDS - THERE MUST HVE BEEN SEVERAL OF THESE AS I REMEMBER THERE WERE QUITE A FEW OF US KIDS OF VARIOUS AGES - I REMBER THERE WAS A LONG DRIVEWAY LEADING UP TO THE [ CASTLE AS WE USED TO CALL IT ] I VAGUELY REMEMBER THAT ONE NIGHT I WAS WALKING DOWN THAT DRIVEWAY IN MY PAJAMAS AND WAS STOPPED BY A LADY WHO MUST HAVE BEEN A NURSE GOING ON DUTY AND SHE ASKED WHERE I WAS GOING AND I REPLIED '' I'M GOING HOME TO MY MUM '' IT WAS JUST AS WELL I GOT STOPPED AS GOD KNOWS WHAT WOULD HAVE HAPPENED HAD I NOT BEEN STOPPED - I DO REMBER BEING OUTSIDE THE '' CASTLE'' AT DUSK HAVING THE GLASS OF MILK - I REMEMBER HAVING BREAKFAST IN A ROOM WITH A LONG TABLE - I ALSO REMEMBER AT NIGHT OR EARLY MORNING HEARING A STEAM TRAIN QUITE SOME DISTANCE AWAY AND I ALWAYS WONDERED WHERE IS THAT TRAIN GOING TO - OTHER THAN THAT I DON'T REMEMBER MUCH MORE -- REGARDS DEREK JONES

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    1. I attended BT when I was living in warrington

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  15. If anybody is interest i am admin on the Broughton Tower Facebook group,message me when you were there as we do not just want anybody joining,link is below,cheers :) https://www.facebook.com/groups/352618128403797/

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    1. Hello my name is Sandra Austen maiden name smith I attended broughton towers in early 1968 to 1969, I was nine years old when I was there and had my tenth birthday there I would love to be part of your Facebook group

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  16. I spent 7 years here in the early 90s I was 7 years old and it was not the nicest place at times the woods at the back we called the black woods and this is were we had the best times as a child

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    1. you went at the wrong time as in the 70s it was great, and the woods at the back we never called it the black woods just the woods,my dorm was at the back looking out towards those woods

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  17. My name is John watson I went there for 18 months maybe in the late 50 early 60s

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  18. I'm Robert Eaves, I posted comments regarding the school being the best part of my child hood, Debbie Wignall was the best house parent, full respect to her considering what she had to put up with, I only hope the residents there now fully appreciate the place, I'd love to live there again. My best goes out to every one who was privalidged to live there It's a very special place In my memories.

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    1. the current owners have done their best to restore all the rooms and areas back to the way it was as a boarding school and when I last visited in 2016 the owners said that they wanted to put it back to the way it was and that its an ongoing project

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  19. My Mum came here in the mid 50s, she was a very poorly child. X

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  20. Hi, I was resident there in 1953/4. Hated the place, only saw my parents once a month or not at all if roads were blocked by snow. Must have been healthy there come to think of it, had no problems with my chest the whole time I was there. I was in what was called silver room, so called I guess because there were big mirrors on the walls and doors. If we misbehaved after lights out we were made to sleep on the stairs or in a bathroom. Roger T.

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    1. I was in the silver room when I was there in the 70s but when I first arrived there which was days after everyone else had returned after their summer hols I was put in the green room and I hated the place at first, I didn't have any health issues whatsoever and couldn't understand why I was put there, even my discharge paper shows no medical conditions, but I later found out it was all down to my mother as she didn't want me

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  21. There are some people who attended the school in the 50s in the FB group called
    Broughton Tower Residential Special School
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/1838994706327144/
    It is a closed group. BT was a brilliant school. Lots of good memories!

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  22. The elderly nurse was probably Mrs. Goulding. I remember the name Peter Green.

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  23. yes I remember her and you always knew she was on duty without even seeing her as she was always either humming or going LA LA LA LA, and even when she was on the earlies you was awake before she got to your dorm as it would wake you, and she was the one I feared the most even though she did have some good points

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