Hoghton Tower was built in the mid-sixteenth century probably on the site of an earlier castle or pele. The complex comprised a Great Keep, Elizabethan house and ancillary buildings, all of which were laid out around two courtyards. The Keep was blown-up during the Civil War but the rest of the site underwent regular modification during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Hoghton Tower was built between 1562 and 1565 by Thomas Hoghton. He was descended from Harvey de Walter, a Norman who had accompanied William the Conqueror on his invasion of England. His descendants had been granted land in Lancashire in the early twelfth century and may have built some form of fortification on the site at this time with some sources suggesting a castle was raised circa-1109. Certainly some form of residence existed as evidenced by the family adopting the name Hoghton from around 1150. A 500-acre park was enclosed at the site in 1337 and a licence to enlarge this was granted to Richard de Hoghton in 1386. A pele tower may have been built in the fourteenth century either on the site of the later tower or on the lower ground. Whatever existed on the site beforehand, the sixteenth century building/rebuilding by Thomas Hoghton was substantial.
The tower was built upon a steep hill overlooking the River Darwen and the Lancashire plain. The location was chosen due to its commanding position which is over 170 metres above sea level and would have made the tower a conspicuous object for miles around. The complex was configured around two courtyards. The upper (east) courtyard hosted the high-status buildings including the Great Hall, state rooms, chapel, living accommodation and the Great Keep. The lower (west) courtyard was surrounded by the administrative and ancillary buildings. The lower courtyard was fronted by an embattled gatehouse and curtain wall flanked at either end with towers. These 'defences' were purely cosmetic. Some additions were made to the site in the mid to late seventeenth century including construction of the south wing.
At the outbreak of the Civil War in Autumn 1642, Hoghton Tower was owned by Sir Gilbert Hoghton. He was a committed Royalist who raised troops for the King. Accordingly, a Parliamentary force under Captain Starkie seized Hoghton Tower in 1643. Following his assault, either by accident or design, the Great Keep was blown up and was never rebuilt. The rest of the site was undamaged and continued to serve as the primary residence of the Hoghtons.
Between 1692 and 1702 Sir Charles Hoghton initiated a building programme to modernise the site and some of the surrounding gardens may have been laid out at this time. However, following the death of Sir Henry Hoghton in 1768, the family relocated to Walton Hall in Walton-le-Dale. Hoghton estate was rented out to tenant farmers and for much of the next century the tower complex was left vacant and thus neglected. In 1862 Sir Henry Hoghton commenced restoration work and this continued in spates for the next forty years. The site continues to serve as a residence for the Hoghton family.
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Hoghton Tower is an Elizabethan era mansion house that has subsequently been extensively modified. The tower that gave the site its name was destroyed during the Civil War.
Approach. The approach to the site is via an avenue which leads up the steep hill giving the visitor a good view of the Tower.
Defences. The tower was fronted by an crenellated gatehouse and flanking towers connected by a screen wall. This were for decorative purposes rather than actual defence.
Outer Courtyard. The outer courtyard incorporated an elaborate internal gate and stairs which led to the Upper Courtyard.
Approach to Upper Courtyard.
Upper Courtyard. The high-status buildings were contained within the upper courtyard (also called the East or Inner courtyard).