Dining Room

Period Room


Towneley Hall


Set in Burnley's largest and most popular park there are plenty of events throughout the year so you may wish to co-ordinate your visit. The Towneley family were an important Catholic family and once owned extensive estates in and around Burnley, the West Riding of Yorkshire, and County Durham. Charles Towneley (1600–1644) was born at Towneley Hall, the son of Richard and Jane. A Catholic he attended St. Omer's College and Louvain in Belgium and the English College in Rome between 1614 and 1624. Married Mary Trappes in 1628. Inherited the estate in 1635 upon the death of his brother Richard. Killed leading a small Infantry regiment for the Royalists at the Battle of Marston Moor during the English Civil War. Richard Towneley (1629–1707) recovered the Lancashire estates from the Parliamentary Sequestration Committee. The first person to make regular measurements of rainfall in England and inventor of the Deadbeat escapement. Charles Towneley (1658-1712), son of Richard and Margaret. Married Ursula Fermor in 1685. Implicated with his father in the plot to secure the return to the English throne of King James II in 1690 that resulted in the Battle of the Boyne. Richard Towneley (1689-1735), son of Charles and Ursula. Married Mary Widdrington, the sister of William Widdrington, 4th Baron Widdrington in 1713. Arrested for treason in 1715, after the Battle of Preston, he was later acquitted after an expensive trial. Two of his brothers, John and Francis joined the French army before aiding the Jacobite rebellion of 1745. Francis Towneley was the Colonel that raised the Manchester Regiment, later being captured after the Siege of Carlisle (December 1745) and executed in 1746. The children’s book How The Hangman Lost His Heart, although a work of fiction, is inspired by his story. John returned to France before Culloden and was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the order of Saint Louis. Another brother, George avoided the conflict, instead marrying Mary Hodgson, the heiress of Leighton Hall near Carnforth. Towneley Hall not only contains the 15th-century Whalley Abbey vestments, but also has its own chapel – with a finely carved altarpiece made in Antwerp around 1525.


The hall was the home of the Towneley family for more than 500 years. The male line of the family died out in 1878 and in 1901 one of the daughters, Lady O'Hagan, sold the house together with 62 acres (250,000 m2) of land to Burnley Corporation. The family departed in March 1902, leaving behind a building almost completely empty except for a couple of tables and a few pictures in the chapel. Much of the family history was affected by the persecution of the Catholics from Tudor times onward, in fact there is a priest's hide at the Hall which you can explore. Today, the Museum houses a variety of displays encompassing; Natural History, Egyptology, Local History, Textiles, Decorative Art and Regional Furniture. You are able to explore the period rooms, art gallery and learn more about Burnley's history whilst a Mouse Trail through the Museum keeps children entertained. Pushchair and wheelchair access to first floor gallery via lift. Wheelchair accessible throughout the Park and Hall. Toilet facilities available. Pre-booked guided tours availabe. Facilities for the visually impaired.


Location : Towneley Holmes Rd., BB11 3RQ Burnley, Lancashire

Transport: Burnley Manchester Road or Burnley Central (Northern Rail). No bus service.

Opening Times: Saturday to Thursday 12:00 to 17:00

Tickets: Adults £4.00   Children/Burnley Residents/Students Free

Tel: 01282 477 130