Thursday, 6 June 2013

Smithills Hall

With a gorgeous day forecast for last Sunday, it was time for another outing. I was happy with  a walk but Chickpea prefers a day with things to see and do, and not walking just for the sake of it. We discussed a few options and decided on Smithills Hall near Bolton. Originally we planned to visit a nearby park too but, in the end, we spent all afternoon looking round the Hall and its grounds.

The oldest parts of Smithills Hall date back to the early 1300s with various extensions being built up to the late 1800s. I particularly loved this part with its classic Tudor architecture and details.

This little window looks into the Great Hall which is the oldest part though two of the walls were rebuilt with stone in the 1600s.  

And this is the Hall from the inside with its wonky flagstone floor. Unlike National Trust properties, you're allowed to take photos inside.

Such a beautiful timber ceiling.

This small window near the kitchen is believed to be an alms window or lepers window which was used to pass food scraps to the poor to avoid direct contact with them.

The Withdrawing Room dates from the 1500s. Interestingly, one of my great-grandparents surnames appears on the family crests by the window so, you never know, we may have some connection in the distant past.

All of the walls are covered in oak panelling.

The chapel was originally built in the 16th century but was refurbished after two fires in the 1800s. This stained glass window is one of the few original features which remain. The window second from left is the crest of Henry VIII.

Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury during Henry VIII's reign but was burned at the stake by Queen Mary after Henry's death. Almost all of the stained glass bearing his crest were destroyed but this is one of the rare ones to survive.

The other stained glass in the chapel is Victorian but equally as colourful and beautiful.

Other parts of the Hall, like Mrs Ainsworth's Room, date from the 16th century but are decorated in Victorian style. I could picture myself in this room, curled up on the sofa in the bay window with a good book or some hand sewing.

I particularly loved these tiles in the fireplace. I think the info board said they were by William De Morgan.

After looking round the Hall, we took a walk around the grounds. There's a woodland trail which winds down towards the stream with steep slopes on either side. Most of the vegetation was similar to the photo above - lots of trees, ferns and old rhododendrons but no pretty vistas to photograph for you.

An interesting looking fungus was growing on an old tree trunk. I'm not a fungus expert but I'm sure one of you will be able to tell me what it is.

And back nearer to the house was a small waterfall.

As we left, instead of turning back towards home, I decided to drive up the road towards the moors. One of these days I'll have to find out where the public trails are as the views must be amazing from the top. If you saw my photo of Winter Hill in the April Scavenger Hunt, the TV mast on the top of it is just over to the left of here.

The views were still pretty fantastic though with views over Bolton and the surrounding countryside and the Pennines beyond.

Another lovely day out and we're planning to go to the park I mentioned at the beginning this weekend. Two sunny weekends in a row - who would believe it!


  1. What a lovely and interesting day out. Your photographs are beautiful, as always.
    M x

  2. What a lovely property, I especially like the stained glass windows and the tiles they're beautiful.

  3. Simply wonderful! Amazing architecture. I love how you captured the details!

  4. That looks like a place I'd like to visit. I love those bird tiles and the grounds look great.

  5. Oh, I loved this post. The house and the grounds both very lovely.
    I loved the photos of the stained glass too.
    I wonder if your have some family connection here? I would look into it!

  6. Isn't this weather lovely? The weekends are such a treat. That looks like a really nice day out. x

  7. What lovely pictures of a beautiful house and gardens. It looks a good place to visit. I might just have to look it up when I come home in summer :)