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Posted:  Monday 04 June 2018

North West Associates
visit Browsholme Hall

- Thursday 31st May -

On the last day of May fifty-five intrepid Associates from Manchester Plant set off on yet another jaunt.

As we get under way, the weather is bright and sunny and we are heading for Browsholme Hall, in the Forest of Bowland.  A lovely scenic drive through the Lancashire countryside.

On arrival we had a short while to relax and say hello to everyone as we alighted the coaches, before making our way to the Tithe Barn where we all enjoyed a very nice lunch of either Bowland Beef Hotpot or Fish Pie.
This was followed by Summer Fruit Crumble or Chocolate Cake, all washed down with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

After lunch we all gathered outside the hall to be given a talk on the history of Browsholme.

We then split up into three groups, each with a guide to have a very comprehensive tour taking about an hour and a half.  It was very interesting and the guides had a wealth of knowledge to pass on.

Browsholme is situated in the stunning countryside of the forest of Bowland.  It is the oldest surviving family home in the county palatine of Lancashire.

Built in 1507 by the Parker family, Browsholme - pronounced "Brusom" - is not a museum but a historic family home that has evolved over 500 years, reflecting the lifestyles, taste and fortunes of each of the many generations who have lived here.

The Parkers of Browsholme are descended from Peter de Allancotes, who held the Manor of Alkincoats in Colne in the mid 13th century, and became Park-Keepers of Radholme Land on the two great deer parks in the Forest of Bowland.

Subsequent generations have lovingly maintained, restored and added to this unique historic house.  In 1804 Thomas Lister Parker pulled down the front of the west wing and rebuilt on the same ground plan adding a portrait gallery.

He then completed his ambitious programme of modernisation by landscaping the garden in the style of Capability Brown.

In 1975 Robert, the present owner, then aged 20, inherited the hall from his distant cousin, Colonel Robert Parker.

Over the next 40 years the main hall been gradually restored.  The exterior was made wind and watertight, while the interior was redecorated, furniture repaired, pictures cleaned and their frames gilded.  Today the hall is still the family home, and the whole building is used by the family.

The hall is really one of the jewels in the crown of Bowland.  Not that well known, but well worth a visit.

After the tour we all took the opportunity to wander round the beautiful grounds, with its lake and boathouse, and the views of the forest and the Pendle Hills - no sign of any witches though.

Now it was time to say our goodbyes and re-board our coaches to head for home having had a very nice day.  Here's to the next time.

Cyril Heap

(ch  01/06/2018)

(ph  03/06/2018)

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