Hoghton Tower

Hoghton Tower, a fortified hilltop manor house, is nestled in the heart of the Lancashire countryside. It is near the village of Hoghton, between Preston and Blackburn.

This magnificent Grade I listed building has been the ancestral home of the de Hoghton family since the 12th century, a lineage that stretches back more than 900 years.

The house is steeped in history. Inside, the rooms are adorned with period furniture, historical artefacts, and family portraits, offering a glimpse into the lives of the Hoghton family and their distinguished guests over the centuries. The architectural grandeur of the house extends to its exterior, with its fortified walls, turrets, and ramparts.

Hoghton Tower, a historic manor house near Preston and Blackburn in Lancashire

The grounds are equally impressive. The Great Barn is a historical building in its own right. Meticulously maintained gardens offer serene retreats. 

The house stands proudly on a hilltop, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. Its imposing presence is a reminder of its historical importance and the power of the family that has called it home for centuries.

The legacy of Hoghton Tower is a timeless testament to the resilience of historic preservation and the enduring allure of England’s heritage. For visitors, it offers a journey through the annals of time, making history come alive in the heart of Lancashire.

House Tours and Visits

The house is open to the public. Visitors can explore at their own pace or join a guided tour. Guided tours are led by knowledgeable guides who share fascinating stories and anecdotes about the house and its inhabitants. 

It is advisable to book tours in advance on the official website as availability is limited. 

Gardens and Grounds

Hoghton Tower has several beautiful gardens, each with unique charm and history. The gardens are a testament to the importance of landscape design in enhancing the beauty and appeal of historical buildings.

These gardens are open for visitors to explore independently, offering a cheaper alternative to house tours.

  • The Tilting Ground, also known as the Tilting Green, is west of the house. This area was historically used for jousting tournaments. This space is a perfect spot for a stroll.
  • The Wilderness is a rectangular walled garden to the east of the house. The walls, except the south wall, are crenellated. A herbaceous border and topiary frame the central lawn. 
  • The Rose Garden is a formal garden on the south side of the house. It is characterised by an avenue of clipped yews that link it to The Wilderness. The garden is a delight for the senses in the summer, with beautiful rose blooms and sweet scents filling the air.
  • The Rampart Garden is a rectangular garden at the southwestern corner of the house. The house encloses it on one side and crenellated walls on the other three sides. A viewing platform at the southwest corner of the garden provides sweeping views of Lancashire.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or just looking for a peaceful day out, the gardens offer a unique and enjoyable experience.

Tickets to explore the gardens and grounds can be purchased in advance on the official website. They can also be purchased on arrival.

Opening Times

The house and gardens are closed during the winter except for special events. In the open season, guided tours are available on specific days.

The estate sometimes closes for private events in the open season.

To find the current opening times, visit the official website.

History of Hoghton Tower

Hoghton Tower’s roots are intertwined with the Hoghton family lineage, which has owned the land since the 12th century. The present building was erected between 1560-1565 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

Thomas Hoghton oversaw the construction, which adopted a fortified design. This choice reflected a tumultuous period when England faced internal and external conflicts. The house was built to withstand siege and protect its inhabitants.

A staunch Catholic, Thomas Hoghton found himself at odds with Elizabeth I’s stringent anti-Catholic laws. Rather than renounce his faith, Thomas chose self-imposed exile shortly after the completion of the house. Despite his departure, the estate thrived under successive Hoghton generations.

Some historians believe that the famed playwright, William Shakespeare, may have spent some time working at the house in the late 16th century.

One of the more notable moments in the house’s history was the visit of King James I in 1617. King James was said to be impressed by the hospitality of the Hoghton family that he knighted a loin of beef during a banquet, giving birth to the term’ Sir Loin.’ However, most etymologists dispute this explanation.

The tranquillity of the house was shattered during the English Civil War. Supporting King Charles I, Gilbert Hoghton found himself and the estate embroiled in the conflict. Parliamentary forces besieged Hoghton Tower, and it suffered extensive damage. Gunpowder stored in the fortified keep between the two courtyards ignited, destroying the keep. The keep was never rebuilt.

Between 1692 and 1702, Sir Charles Hoghton, the founder of Preston Grammar School, conducted renovations and reconstruction work. King William III, a close friend of Sir Charles, often visited the house. 

In 1768, following the death of Sir Henry Hoghton, parts of the estate were rented out to local farmers. Over the subsequent years, the once magnificent estate faced a period of neglect and decay, and by the mid-19th century, the house had fallen into a state of disrepair.

The decline ended when Sir Henry Hoghton inherited the estate in 1862. Filled with a sense of duty to his family’s legacy, he initiated restoration efforts to return the house to its former glory.

During this time, the iconic author Charles Dickens visited the estate. The house’s sombre atmosphere and the dilapidated state moved Dickens deeply, inspiring him to feature the house in his 1868 short story, George Silverman’s Explanation.

By 1876, renowned Lancaster architects Paley and Austin had been commissioned to lend their expertise to the restoration efforts. Their work notably the rejuvenation of the iconic Banqueting Hall.

Upon Sir Henry’s death in 1876, his brother, Charles, continued the painstaking restoration work. Despite the intensive work, the house remained unfit for habitation until 1880. During this period, Paley and Austin made further contributions to the estate. These included the restoration of the gateway tower and adjacent walls in 1877, the design of an entrance lodge in 1878, improvements to the offices in the east wing, the construction of a new kitchen, and an underground service corridor.

Since 1978, the Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust has been responsible for preserving and managing this historic house. The trust operates through funds raised from admission fees, events, holiday accommodations, and venue rentals.

Afternoon Tea

Visitors to Hoghton Tower can indulge in a delightful afternoon tea experience in the tea room of this 16th-century landmark. The traditional afternoon tea features a selection of delectable sweet and savoury treats accompanied by tea or coffee.

For those looking to add a touch of sparkle, there is also an option to upgrade to a glass of prosecco or enjoy a refreshing bottle of beer. 

Pre-booking is essential.

On Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays, visitors can book an organised tour of the house before enjoying their afternoon tea experience. Saturdays offer unguided visits with knowledgeable volunteers available onsite to share fascinating stories about Hoghton Tower’s past.

Events at Hoghton Tower

The house hosts numerous special events throughout the year. These events offer visitors entertainment and enjoyment and contribute to the preservation efforts of the Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust. The trust is responsible for maintaining and preserving this historic site, ensuring future generations can enjoy it.

Always check the official website before travelling for the latest schedules and information.

Farmers’ Market

Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich history of the house while also indulging in the flavours of Lancashire at their monthly Farmers’ Market. This vibrant market showcases local produce on the third Sunday of each month.

Visitors can sample and purchase a variety of delicious goods. The market is a popular attraction for locals and tourists alike, offering a unique experience combining agricultural heritage with the castle’s fascinating history.

The Farmers’ Market is a wonderful way to spend a Sunday morning supporting local farmers, producers, crafters, and artists, all in the beautiful setting of the gardens.

Other Events

Apart from the Farmers’ Market, the estate hosts various events. Events vary but have included wedding shows, car and motorcycle shows, theatrical performances, and music concerts. 

For upcoming events, please check the official website.

Accommodation: Stay at Hoghton Tower

The Irishman’s Tower is one of the most unique places to stay in Lancashire. This self-catering property lies within a tower at the front of the house and offers beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.

This accommodation is suitable for two people. It has two floors filled with interesting old features, but it’s been updated to have everything you need for a comfortable stay. Amenities include a king-sized bed and WiFi. There’s even an open fireplace that adds a warm and romantic touch to the place.

The Irishman’s Tower is more than just a place to sleep. It’s a chance to step back in time and experience a piece of history while enjoying modern comforts. It’s a unique and unforgettable way to experience Lancashire.

Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust

The Hoghton Tower Preservation Trust oversees the preservation of the estate. The trust is committed to maintaining the tower and its grounds, ensuring that future generations can enjoy this important piece of history. The work involves various activities, from routine maintenance and repairs to more significant restoration projects. The trust also works to promote the tower as a cultural and educational resource, hosting events and activities that engage the local community and visitors alike.

Location

Hoghton Tower is located just off the A675, near the village of Hoghton in Lancashire. It is midway between Preston and Blackburn. Its postcode is PR5 0SH.

Getting There by Car

The attraction is close to Junction 3 of the M65 motorway. After leaving the motorway, take the A675 and follow the brown tourist signs for 1.5 miles. The postcode for satellite navigation systems is PR5 0SH. 

Getting There by Train

The closest train station is Pleasington, around 3 miles drive away. However, travelling to this station is not recommended. It is a suburban station with few services and no onward connections.

The nearest main line station is Preston, around 7.5 miles away. Taxis are readily available at Preston Station. The 152 bus to Hoghton runs from Preston Bus Station.

Blackburn Station is 6.5 miles away. The 152 bus to Hoghton also runs from Blackburn.

Getting There by Bus

There is no direct bus service to Hoghton Tower. The 152 bus service from Preston Bus Station to Burnley Bus Station stops on the A675, around 1/3 mile from the entrance to the estate. 

Stops on the 152 bus route include Preston Bus Station, Walton-le-Dale, Higher Walton, Coupe Green, Hoghton, Blackburn Bus Station, Whitebirk, Rishton, Clayton-le-Moors, Padiham, and Burnley Bus Station.

The bus journey from Preston Bus Station to Hoghton takes around 20 minutes. 

Please be aware that the estate’s driveway is approximately 1/2 mile long.

Attractions around Hoghton Tower

The house is surrounded by several noteworthy attractions that are worth exploring. Some of the nearby attractions include:

  • Samlesbury Hall: This stunning medieval manor house is just a short drive from Hoghton. 
  • Avenham Park and Miller Park: Adjacent parks in the city of Preston.
  • Cuerden Valley Park: Sprawling country park following the course of the River Lostock.
  • British Commercial Vehicle Museum: This museum in Leyland explores the history of British road transport. Knowledgeable and friendly volunteers staff it.
  • Astley Hall and Park: The beautiful building boasts a rich history and magnificent interiors, while the park offers a fantastic playground.
  • Brockholes: Brockholes offers a unique experience with its floating visitor village and diverse wildlife habitats. 
  • Ribble Steam Railway: You can take a nostalgic journey along the banks of the River Ribble on a steam train. The railway also has a museum dedicated to industrial heritage and railways.
  • Darwen Tower: A trip to Darwen Tower is a must for hiking enthusiasts. The tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.

Remember to check the opening times when planning your visit to these attractions.

This fortified manor house is situated between Preston and Blackburn and in its long history has welcomed many distinguished guests including King James I, William III, George V and Queen Mary.

Map

Map showing location of Hoghton Tower.

Map showing location of Hoghton Tower

Details

Hoghton Tower

Address and postcode
Blackburn Old Road
Hoghton
Lancashire
United Kingdom
PR5 0SH

Visit Hoghton Tower Website