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Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire

In the civil parish of Ightenhill.
In the historic county of Lancashire.
Modern Authority of Lancashire.
1974 county of Lancashire.
Medieval County of Lancashire.

OS Map Grid Reference: SD80703412
Latitude 53.80283° Longitude -2.29478°

Gawthorpe Hall, Lancashire has been described as a probable Pele Tower.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Country house of 1600-05, possibly built around a pre-existing pele tower. The interior was drastically restored by Charles Barry in 1849-51. Now owned by the National Trust. (PastScape ref. Pevesner)

Country house, 1600-1605, for Rev. Lawrence Shuttleworth, possibly to plans influenced by Robert Smythson; altered c.1850-60 by Sir Charles Barry; now museum. Coursed sandstone with ashlar dressings. This house is the only example in this county of the late Elizabethan type associated with Smythson (e.g. Wollaton, Hardwicke, Bolsover, Worksop). Relevant features of the building are: the compact plan within a rectangle, surrounding a tower (which is off-centre and possibly of medieval origin); the high 3-storey elevations over a basement kitchen (basement exposed at rear making 4 storeys) with the tower rising above; the symmetrical 5-bay facade composed of full-height porch and flanking semi-octagonal bays; and the internal plan placing the great hall not in the centre but to one side. Original interior features of particular interest are the screen and gallery in the hall, the panelling and plaster work in the dining room (now drawing room), overmantels in two 1st floor chambers, and the long gallery on the 2nd floor. (Listed Building Report)

There was a medieval manor with deer park in Ightenhill but this was not Gawthorpe and the park was disemparked in 1519, although it was leased by the Shuttleworths of Gawthorpe after this (VCH 6 p. 487-9). This would mean that supposed earlier tower was a modest tower house (i.e. a pele tower) of gentry or even yeoman status (Richard Shuttleworth, a lawyer, was knighted in 1589 but before that the family were not gentry)
The evidence for an earlier pele tower surviving within the property seems to be the opinion of Pevsner and is not supported by actual architectural or documentary evidence. Goodall seems to suggest the whole building, including the stair turret, was a new build of the early C17. Tenurially a pele tower is not impossible or even unlikely although probably of a later date than most (C15 rather than C14) as the Shuttleworth family only gradually gained in social status.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:21:27

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