Leighton Hall is located near Yealand Conyers, Carnforth, Lancashire.
The earliest record of this historic house was back in 1246 when it was a fortified manor, owned by Adam D’Avranches.
George Middleton, a cavalier, was the only owner to conform to the Church of England, the rest being Roman Catholics. He was a colonel of the Royal army, he was both knighted and made baronet on the same day at Durham in 1642. He was the High Sheriff twice, once being in 1641 and the Middleton legacy died with him. He was succeeded by his grandson, George Middleton Oldfield, who died at Leighton Hall in 1708.
The next owner, Albert Hodgson, was involved in the Jacobite Rising of 1715 in Preston and he was taken to prison for his participation. The manor was burnt to the ground and all his possessions were confiscated.
In 1722, the hall was sold, which was the first of only two times this happened. It was purchased by Albert’s friend Mr Winkley, who later gave it back to Albert. Once he was released from prison, Albert returned to his ruined property. The house wasn’t repaired until Albert’s daughter Mary married wealthy George Towneley in the 1750’s.
George Towneley rebuilt the hall between 1759 – 1761. The woods were replanted and the park was laid out by 1763. Most of the estate’s layout and how it appears today is thanks to George’s investment.
George and Mary had no children so the hall was inherited by George’s nephew John, who sold the estate in 1805.
The house was sold to Alexander Worswick who was married to Alice Gillow. Their son Thomas was a failed businessman but when he sold the property to his cousin Richard Gillow, this sparkled the long legacy associated with the famous Gillow family.
Richard was the the grandson of Robert Gillow, the founder of the famous furniture business Gillow & Co. of Lancaster.
Richard refaced the house between 1822 and 1825 into the Gothic style using white limestone.
In 1849, their son Richard Thomas Gillow inherited the property where he added a three-storey wing containing a billiard room and guest rooms.
In 1906 Richard died at the age of 99. He had left the building in a neglected state to which his grandson, Charles Richard Gillow inherited the very dilapidated property.
Charles died in 1923, but his widow lived on at Leighton Hall until her death in 1966 at the age of 96. Their daughter Helen married James R. Reynolds and upon her death in 1977 the house passed to their son Richard Gillow Reynolds.
Richard married Susan, they are the current owners of the estate and they have two daughters Katherine and Lucy.
Even though the house was sold twice, the current owners are descendants of the original owners.
This cottage garden is full of fragrant roses and herbs with a herbaceous border.
The pond was created in the 18th century and had at some point supplied water to the house. It is now full of wildlife and plants. To the right side of the pond is a sundial that was built in 1647, standing as one of the oldest remnants, it has the initials of George and Ann Middleton on it.
The woodland was planted in the 18th century.
Surrounded by Yew trees which are traditionally found in graveyards, the old stone cross is a reminder that this was once a graveyard to the Catholics of the family who couldn’t be buried anywhere but on private land.
It wasn’t until the 19th century that Mr Gillow built a Catholic church in Yealand that the bodies were removed and reburied there.
The wall marks the boundary between the woodland and the parkland. The parkland is inhabited by sheep, cows and deer.
The Russia house is something left behind from a film set. It has views overlooking the Lake District fells, Arnside and Silverdale.
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