Gawthorpe Hall's origins are in a pele tower, a strong fortification built by the Shuttleworths in the 14th century as a defence against invading Scots. The Shuttleworths occupied Shuttleworth Hall near Hapton from the 12th century. The Elizabethan house was dovetailed around the pele tower from plans drawn up by Richard Shuttleworth but carried out after his death by his brother the Reverend Lawrence Shuttleworth. The foundation stone was laid on 26 August 1600. The architect is not recorded, but the house is generally attributed to Robert Smythson. In 1604 Richard Stone, from Carr House in Bretherton, imported Irish panel boards and timber and stored 1,000 pieces in the tithe barn at Hoole until they were needed. An early occupant was Colonel Richard Shuttleworth (MP), who inherited it in about 1607 from his uncle. Colonel Shuttleworth was High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1637, Member of Parliament for Preston (1640 to 1648 and 1654 to 1659) and commander of the Parliamentarian Army of the Blackburn Hundred during the Civil War. After his death Gawthorpe was leased to tenants, the Shuttleworths preferring to live at Forcett Hall near Richmond. After Forcett was sold the Shuttleworths returned to Gawthorpe. In 1818 barrister, Robert Shuttleworth died and his daughter Janet inherited the estate at an early age. Her mother remarried and remained at Gawthorpe to protect her inheritance. In 1842 Janet married Sir James Kay of Rochdale, who adopted the surname Kay-Shuttleworth and commissioned Sir Charles Barry to carry out restoration and improvements to the house in the 1850s. Sir James was made a baronet in 1849 and served as High Sheriff of Lancashire for 1864. Charlotte Brontë, a family friend visited the house. The porch was rebuilt by Sir Charles Barry in 1851 who replaced the round-headed archway over the door with a four-centred arch on columns set on raised plinths and installed a three-light mullioned window above it to create a tile-floored vestibule. A stone plaque displaying the Shuttleworth, (three weaver's shuttles) Kay and Kay-Shuttleworths arms carved by Thomas Hurdeys in 1605 was retained. The Kay motto was inscribed on the outside of the door lintel and the Shuttleworth's on the inside. The door's decorative ironwork was designed by Pugin and made by Hardman's of Birmingham in 1851 at a cost of £17 1s 6d. The interior is decorated with a carved stone panel bearing Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth's arms and two ceremonial sheriff's javelins and a black oak sword-chest dated to about 1500.
Robert Shuttleworth changed the medieval "dyning chamber" into a drawing room retaining its Jacobean panelling and plasterwork. The Italian Renaissance-style inlaid panelling with arabesques in semicircular arcading by the craftsmen who made the entrance screen, was started in 1603 and took a year to complete. The panelling's cornice supports a frieze and ceiling by Francis and Thomas Gunby. The frieze's contains a grotesque in which human, half-human and animal figures are entwined with fruiting stems and foliage. The ceiling is decorated with vines and oak branches in the spaces between strapwork ribbing. The plaster work took five months to complete in 1605. The fireplace arch was renewed by Barry in 1851 retaining the l7th-century hearthstone and stone fender and has a cast-iron gothic fire grate, designed by Pugin. Its andirons have armorial plates and wrought brass finials.The overmantel is dated 1604 above the Shuttleworth arms. The small ornamental garden was laid out on a terrace overlooking the River Calder at the rear of the house by Charles Barry. The semicircular terrace wall is Grade II listed. The course of the river was diverted away from Gawthorpe Hall in the 19th century because of pollution and again diverted to accommodate an open cast coal scheme north of the river in Padiham in the 1960s. Other listed buildings associated with the hall are the Great Barn (built 1602–04), the old farmhouse (1605–06, now used as the estate offices), the game larder, the coach house (1870), and the lodges and gateways on Habergham and Stockbridge drives (both c.1849). Burnley F.C. have trained at a centre in the grounds since the 1950s. Gawthorpe is one of the trailheads of the Brontë Way, a 43-mile (69 km) long-distance footpath that crosses the South Pennines to Haworth, continuing to Oakwell Hall, Birstall, West Yorkshire. The Gawthorpe Textile Collection showcases the most extraordinary and intricate needlework, lace and costume amassed by Rachel Kay Shuttleworth as well as contemporary pieces from talented artists across the region. The Hall is due to reopen on 20th Aprile after extensive renovation. Mobility drop-off point. Adapted toilet in courtyard. Wheelchair accessible. Braille and large print guides available
Location : Burnley Road, Padiham, near Burnley, Lancashire, BB12 8UA
Transport: Rose Grove, Burnley Barracks and Burnley Manchester Road stations (All National Rail) nearby. Frequent buses from Burnley bus station stop nearby.
Opening Times: From 20th April. Wednesday to Sunday 12:00 to 17:00
Tickets: Adults £4.00 Concessions £3.00 Children Free
Tel: 01282 771004