Browsholme Hall

Browsholme Hall /ˈbrzəm/ is a privately owned Elizabethan house in the parish of Bowland Forest Low in the borough of Ribble Valley, Lancashire (although historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire), England. It is claimed to be the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire.[1] Since 1954, it has been designated a Grade I listed building by English Heritage.[2]

Browsholme Hall - - 829290.jpg
Browsholme Hall from the front
LocationRibble Valley, Lancashire
Coordinates53°54′09″N 2°28′55″W / 53.9024°N 2.4819°W / 53.9024; -2.4819Coordinates: 53°54′09″N 2°28′55″W / 53.9024°N 2.4819°W / 53.9024; -2.4819
Listed Building – Grade I
Designated16 November 1954
Reference no.1072272
Browsholme Hall is located in the Borough of Ribble Valley
Browsholme Hall
Location of Browsholme in the Borough of Ribble Valley


In the fourteenth century, Edmund Parker was park-keeper of Radholme Laund, west of Browsholme, one of the two great deer parks in the Forest of Bowland.[3] In 1393, his sons Richard and John were deputy parkers of Radholme, but from 1380, they had a lease of the vaccary (mediaeval cattle farm) of Browsholme. Richard probably built the original house on the present site around that time.[3]

Browsholme Hall Lodge

When in 1507, King Henry VII disafforested Bowland,[4] Edmund Parker obtained a copyhold of Nether Browsholme and began the present house. Thomas Parker, purchased the freehold of Browsholme from the Crown in 1603 and further improved the house, which had been enlarged by his father.[3] His grandson, also called Thomas, is believed to have added a formal garden in 1674.[3]

On the death of his father, John Parker in 1797, Thomas Lister Parker succeeded to the Browsholme estate. In 1804 and 1805, he made alterations to the Hall, rebuilding the west wing, and afterwards he made additions under the superintendence of Sir Jeffry Wyatville. He had a taste for landscape gardening, and between 1797 and 1810, spent large sums in laying the grounds. In the house, he displayed a collection of antiquities and pictures, partly formed by himself. He had a large series of drawings and prints bought during a tour on the continent in 1800 and 1801, at Moscow, Venice, and Paris; a large collection of drawings of castles and manor-houses by John Chessell Buckler, and portfolios of his own drawings. He also possessed pictures of the Flemish school and works of James Northcote and Thomas Gainsborough. Thomas Lister Parker ultimately bankrupted himself and was forced to pass the estate to a cousin.[5]

Robert Goulbourne Parker repaired Browsholme in 1958 with the aid of the Historic Buildings Council, and from 1957, opened the house to the public, giving personally guided tours.[3]

In 2010, the present owners Robert and Amanda Parker, restored the 17th-century tithe barn for use as an event space.[6] In April 2015 Amanda Parker became High Sheriff of Lancashire.[7]

Bowbearers of the Forest of BowlandEdit

The Parker family have been Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland since the Restoration.[8][9] The office fell into abeyance in the late 19th century but in 2010, the 16th Lord of Bowland re-asserted his ancient right and appointed Robert Parker his Bowbearer of the Forest of Bowland, the first Parker to be so appointed in more than 150 years.[10][11]

In 2011, Robert Parker led a party of dignitaries from the Bowland Higher Division Parish Council, the Forest authorities, and local community, to welcome the 16th Lord to Dunsop Bridge on his first official visit to the Forest.[12][13] In October 2012, Robert Parker was formally presented with his Bowbearer's "wand of office" by the 16th Lord at a public ceremony in Slaidburn. This ceremony marked the 90th anniversary of the final meeting of the manorial court at the town's Tudor courthouse.[14]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Browsholme Hall Lancashire Ribble Valley Historic House Wedding Venue". Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  2. ^ Historic England. "Browsholme Hall (1072272)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e "The Parkers of Browsholme" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  4. ^ Porter, John (1980). The Making of the Central Pennines. Broughton Gifford. p. 30.
  5. ^ "Parker, Thomas Lister" . Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
  6. ^ "The Tithe Barn at Browsholme Hall Opening Ceremony". Lancashire Life. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
  7. ^ [1][dead link]
  8. ^ Baines' History of Lanc., Vol. III.
  9. ^ for example: [2] "hereditary in his family for many generations" (as at 1779) and [3]
  10. ^ Forest of Bowland official website Archived 2011-07-11 at the Wayback Machine)
  11. ^ Lancashire Evening Post[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Lord of Bowland official visit Archived 2011-04-18 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ A Sign for the Times "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 9 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Browsholme Hall and The Tithe Barn – Historic House and Wedding Venue". Browsholme.

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit