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Hoghton Tower

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Author Topic: Hoghton Tower  (Read 131 times)

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« on: July 26, 2009, 05:46:00 am »

another spookey place within a 15 minute drive , have been to a ghost night, it a very creakey place full of static and cold spots, you can hear weird whispers and sounds , there is a warren of tunnels under the manor house ....sadly no photos allowed.....

Hoghton Tower, a Grade I listed building, is the ancestral home of the de Hoghton family.  The de Hoghtons are descended directly from Harvey de Walter, one of the companions of William the Conqueror, and through the female line from the Lady Godiva of Coventry, wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia.

Since its re-creation in 1565 by Thomas Hoghton this ancient, fortified, hilltop manor house has retained its Tudor-Elizabethan character and construction in its entirety and is the only true baronial residence in Lancashire.

It is situated mid-way between Preston and Blackburn on a hill 650 feet above sea level with magnificent views of Lancashire, the Lake District and North Wales.  The approach is along a perfect straight ¾ mile long drive.

To the north-east the hill is precipitous and around the foot the River Darwen plunges through a deep ravine.  In the wooded land and pasture surrounding the hill above the River Darwen,  113 species of birds have been observed.  Red deer and white bulls used to roam in great numbers and the white bull survives in the family crest and on the weather vane atop the Gate House Tower
Thomas Hoghton was a Catholic but the faith was out of fashion in the then Queen Elizabeth’s day.  In order to practice their religion Jesuit priests travelled from house to house avoiding detection from the authorities by hiding in concealed recesses several of which have been discovered in the house.  Thomas went into exile in France and remained there until his death in 1580 when Alexander inherited the title.  One of the first visitors was a young playwright named William Shakespeare.  He stayed with the family as a member of a troup of theatrical players and whilst there he was a tutor to the children.
James I was particular about where he slept as several attempts had been made on his life.  It was not unknown for very small people to be smuggled into a royal bed-chamber, hidden beneath the bed and emerge in the middle of the night to murder the occupant.  James I didn’t believe in taking chances so, before alighting from his horse, he rode up the staircase along the passageway until he came to the last room on the top floor with only one means of access to be guarded.

During the three day visit the King and his retinue went stag-hunting and dined lavishly.  A copy of the menu is on display in the Banqueting Hall.  It was in this room that history was made when during a banquet King James so enjoyed a loin of beef that he knighted it ‘Sir Loin’.  Unfortunately, the unstinting hospitality bankrupted Sir Richard and he spent some years in Fleet Debtor’s Prison.

The King’s Bed Chamber as it is now known contains the gown worn by Lady Philomena de Hoghton at the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey.

In the 17th century King William III was a frequent visitor to the Tower being a personal friend of Sir Charles Hoghton who founded Preston Grammar School
King George V and Queen Mary visited in 1913.  This time the long drive was lined by tenants, school children and visitors.  The King later recorded in his diary that he had dined at the same table as his Stuart ancestors nearly 300 years before.  This Tudor table was crafted ‘in situ’ from a single oak  tree felled from the estate’s woods.

There is however a darker side to the Tower.  So many ghostly experiences have been witnessed by the staff and visitors that an extensive record has been kept in a special ghost file.  Beneath Hoghton Tower, reputedly the third most haunted house in Britain, lies a warren of underground passages and dungeons, a reminder of the legend of the Lancashire Witches.

The building has many other interesting features including the Tudor Well House, 120 feet deep with horse-drawn pump and oaken winding gear.  The State Bedroom contains the State Bed carved in Samlesbury (1560-65).  The beautifully proportioned Ball Room with fine, decorative late Victorian doors and panelling by Gillows of Lancaster.  The magnificent Banqueting Hall with windows containing  4,000 panes of Flemish stained glass, original decorative ceiling and Minstrels’ Gallery.  Leading off the Minstrels’ Gallery is the room containing an impressive collection of Dolls’ Houses.

Hoghton Tower is a popular choice of venue for photography and filming and has featured in many cinema and television productions.

Sir Bernard de Hoghton the 14th Baronet, continues to welcome distinguished guests to Hoghton Tower the most notable being Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and the former American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice.

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