Burnley Civic Trust Heritage Image Collection

The Gawthorpe Hall of times now far away

An article by Andrew Davidson published in the November 13, 1954 edition of the Burnley Express


Just as the Americas have for years been absorbing the peaceful invasion of the nations of Europe, Asia and Africa, so England in the past clung to its more warlike invaders, infusing them gradually into its own blood-stream. Gawthorpe remains as an example of the adoption for the name is of Scandinavian origin - and how piquant a name it is - for it derives from the words "gouke" or "gawke" meaning cuckoo, and "thorpe," a village. Cuckoo - Village - a name to conjure up the then great forest of Pendle that swept down to the tranquil waters of the Calder.

By 1330 the Shuttleworth family was residing at Gawthorpe and since they were of Saxon origin, it must be presumed that by that time the Danes had either moved on or been completely absorbed into the population. Their house was probably built of wood but at a later date a fortified tower of stone, called a peel tower, was added as protection against marauders, and in particular the Scots, whose raids across the border as far south as Whalley and Clitheroe were always troublesome.

In 1589, a year after Armada, Richard Shuttleworth, Sergeant-at-Law and later Judge of Chester, was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I. The house at Gawthorpe must have fallen into disrepair for he planned to build a new one there. Unfortunately, he died, and it was his brother, the Rev. Lawrence Shuttleworth, B.D., who laid the foundation stone of the present hall on August 26th, 1600.

The house, is in fact, a monument to Queen Elizabeth I, for it incorporates the letter "E" in the elevation of its facade. Built of local stone, wood from Mytton and Read, and lime from Clitheroe, the fabric was completed about 1604 and the interior some two years later.

Of the original house only the peel tower remains and it is the top of this tower that can be seen projecting over the roof of the house proper. Even so, this projection is relatively new, for it was added in 1851 by Sir Charles Barry as additional servants' quarters when he supervised the restoration of the Hall. Barry also added the external parapets, removed the panelling of the tower and its staircase and renovated this part in a style inconsistent with the rest of the house. Of the remainder of the renovations perhaps the most important was the reconstruction of the hall entrance.

The frieze of this new entrance contains the Kay motto, and above that, three square stone panels bearing left to right respectively, the arms of Shuttleworth and Kay quarterly, the Shuttleworth crest and the Shuttleworth arms. Only the centre panel dates from the erection of the house, for the name of Kay was added when Janet Shuttleworth married Dr James Phillips Kay in 1842, he having a few days earlier changed his name to Kay-Shuttleworth by Royal Licence.

The long gallery is noteworthy quite apart from its size, fine ceiling and frieze, because at the time of its construction it was a very modern innovation in houses of such a character. It was used for music and dancing but its length - over 70 feet - made it ideal for other purposes as well. Until recent years rent day for the estate used to be observed there, and after payment of their dues the tenants would be feasted. At the end of the gallery a flight of stone steps descends into the kitchens far below, and I am assured that the victuals were passed upwards from hand to hand by willing helpers station on every third or fourth step. Tradition apparently, was not allowed to interfere when it came to keeping the roast beef hot!


The Residence of Lord and Lady Shuttleworth

An article in Lancashire Life dated July 1953 By J A Y THORPE


The Hall is situated on the fringe of industrial Lancashire, near the river Calder, the drives branching south to Burnley and west to Padiham, while northwards, the view of open country extends as far as Pendle Hill. The surrounding country is under cultivation, part of it belonging to the home farm, and the remainder being worked by tenants. There are fine old trees round the house, and terraced gardens form a dignified setting. The grounds were designed by Sir Charles Barry, who, in 1851, restored the house when it was threatened with subsidence, and added the parapet. The terraces were not actually cut until the cotton famine, when Sir James and Lady Shuttleworth carried out Barry's plans in order to give employment to the cotton workers.

The Hall is built round an ancient tower and the original walls, seven to eight feet thick,
are embodied in the structure, and now form the walls of the main staircase; through them are cut other stairways and passages leading to various rooms.

The main door leads into a square entrance hall, where an ancient inlaid panel records five generations of the family, dating from Lawrence Shuttle-worth and his wife, Elizabeth, 1443, down to Elizabethan times. The oak panelling here and in the principal rooms is in excellent condition. There is a pike-chest in this hall, said to date from the second Crusade; it is made of oak, now black with age, and bound with iron bars terminating in fleurs-de-lys.

Many of the fireplaces have the old open stone arch, but have been fitted with Victorian basket-grates to facilitate the burning of coal. Fine Elizabethan plaster ceilings adorn the more important rooms, that in the drawing-room having a design of grapes, acorns and pendants. This ceiling has a striking frieze, with lions in full relief, standing on corners above the inlaid and carved panels, and holding Tudor badges in their paws. The date 1604 can be seen in the room, with the initials and arms of Sir Richard Shuttle-worth and his wife, Margaret (nee Legh of Lyme and widow of Robert Barton of Smithells, Bolton).

The Hall is well provided with windows, in most of which the original glass remains, and the metal catches also Date from 1600.

The great hall is a perfect example of the Elizabethan mode, with dais and minstrels' gallery, in the spandrels of which are carved the initials of Sir Richard Shuttleworth and his brother, the Rev. Lawrence, both of whom built the present house, and also the initials of their father, Hugh, and brother, Thomas, and the date 1605.

The heraldic stone fireplace and the ceiling decorated with large pendants and the monogram K-S interlaced were the work of Barry, this ceiling being the only modern one. The previous fireplace and chimney were so primitive that falling snow would put out the fire.

Several family portraits hang in this room; a pleasing group by Wright of Derby shows James Shuttleworth and his wife (Mary Holden, heiress of Aston, Derby) and their daughter. James Shuttleworth was M.P. for Preston in 1748, and later for the County of Lancaster. Nearby hangs a portrait of his father, Richard Shuttleworth, by Vanderbank; he sat in ten Parliaments and was Father of the House 1705-49. The picture of Miss Janet Shuttleworth, with raven hair and a white satin dress, was painted by Sir Francis Grant, who remembered her in his old age as "the most beautiful lady" he had painted. Near to her portrait hangs one of her father Robert, known as "the people's magistrate", by Raeburn.

Herkomer's full-length picture of the first Lord Shuttleworth is on the stairs, and beside him his wife, Blanche (nee Parish) is portrayed in Florence by Gordigani, in 1873, her wonderful blue dress showing the artist's exceptional talent for painting materials. Also on the staircase, in pleasing contrast, is a striking modern portrait of the present Lady Shuttleworth by W. de Glehn.

The bedchamber of the Rev. Lawrence Shuttleworth contains a fourposter bed dated 1650, with hangings expertly embroidered in wool with a Jacobean design, and with the arms of her parents and their children, by the Hon. Miss Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth.

Other treasures include exquisite oriental china brought from the East by Charles Marjoriebanks, uncle to Janet, the heiress; a Boule table, and a Chinese lacquer cabinet with curved panels.

The long gallery, considered essential by the gentlemen of the Elizabethan and following ages, is on the second floor, and leading into it is a lobby with linenfold panels carved with many Royal and family coats-of-arms.

The gallery is some 70 feet long, is lit by seven great windows, and has a fine ceiling, frieze and over-mantel of plaster, the last-named recording the accession of James I. There are many good specimens of carved furniture, including a cupboard for armour, dated 1577, and a curious narrow case-clock, with date 1654"though it is generally considered this type was not made before 1660-70. Here also hang many family portraits "one of Colonel Richard Shuttle-worth, by Jansen, who fought in the Parliamentary Army during the Civil War with five of his sons, one being killed at Lancaster. He married in 1612 the heiress of Barton-in-Amounderness, whose picture is there showing her in a tall hat with a small golden ruff.


In the Colonel's bedchamber hangs a pedigree giving the date and hour of birth of the twelve children, with the words"

Thus prays their Father, that his children, like Israel's offspring, learn ye the Lord to know, and His behests, which never will decay, and unto 1,000 generations grow. And opposite"
And thus their Mother, that their inclination to virtuous ways in perfect, pure religion, exceed their birth, excell their education, leading their lives in love.

An ebony spade is preserved in the gallery, which was used by Queen Mary to plant a tree when she visited the Hall in 1913 with King George V.

Shuttleworths have lived at Gawthorpe since the early 14th century. Henry de Shuttleworth married the heiress of William de Hacking in 1330, one of their sons first bearing the family name of Ughtred. Sir Richard Shuttleworth, joint builder of the Hall, was Chief Justice at Chester.

Sir James was formerly Dr. Kay of Bury, the great educationalist, who married in 1842 the heiress of Gawthorpe and assumed the additional name of Shuttle-worth by Royal Licence.
Their son, who became the first Baron, had a distinguished parliamentary career, representing Clitheroe for many years, and holding various ministerial posts, including that of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He was also Lord Lieutenant of the County from 1908-28.