Leighton Hall
Leighton Hall
This modest Victorian house has a history going back to at least the 13th century. Records show that Adam D'Avranches had a fortified manor house here in 1246. The present owner of Leighton Hall is descended from D'Avranches, through 26 generations, though the house has been sold twice during its long history.


One of the most famous owners was Sir George Middleton, a staunch Royalist in the Civil War. Middleton was knighted and then made a baronet in one single day of fighting at Durham in 1642. He was also the only owner in the history of Leighton Hall to be a Protestant.

Even during the darkest days of the Reformation, the owners of Leighton were Catholics, and there was always a priest in the house, though he often had to be hidden!

The next owner was Albert Hodgson, a Jacobite supporter who was imprisoned during the 1715 Rising in favour of James Stuart. The Hall was burned by government troops and the estate seized. One of Hodgson's friends bought the house at auction and gave it back to him, though it was not until his daughter married a wealthy husband that the Hall could be rebuilt.

That wealthy man was George Townley, who rebuilt the medieval house in neo-classical style. He also laid out the surrounding parkland, and much of the house and grounds we see today date from Townley's ownership.

The estate eventually passed to Richard Gillow, grandson of the famous furniture maker, Robert Gillow of Lancaster. Around 182 Richard Gillow renovated the Hall in fashionable Gothic Revival style, and it is this 19th-century facade we see today, though it hides a much earlier building.

Visiting Leighton Hall is very much a hands-on experience; visitors are encouraged to relax in chairs and enjoy find a place at the 18th-century table in the dining room. If you play the piano you'll enjoy trying out the family's Steinway Concert grand. As you can imagine the house is filled with Gillow furniture, but there are also collections of fine art.

One of the highlights is the sweeping and elegant Flying Staircase, a very early example of Gothic Revival style, with slender pillars supporting a curved stone staircase that seems ready to lift off!

Garden: The style of Leighton's 19th-century gardens is informal and charming. Herbaceous border and rose-covered walls fill the main garden with colour, while in the Walled Garden are flowering shrubs, herbs, and vegetables. Children will enjoy the caterpillar maze. Birds of prey are flown daily, weather permitting.