Towneley Hall Art Gallery and Museum was the last place we’ve been to in Burnley. It might be a little too much to have 3 posts about one day trip, but I like to talk more about each place without having to cramp everything in a single post. It’s also an opportunity to look again at the pictures taken and read a bit more about the places we’ve been to. Towneley Hall lies within a beautiful parkland. In the parkland there are 3 or 4 car parks and plenty of fields to walk. I think there is a map at the Hall with different routes.
The hall was the family home of the Towneley’s for nearly five centuries. In 1901 it was sold to Burnley Corporation, and it was opened to the public the following year. There are so many interesting things on display.
The Great Hall looks amazing. This is the oldest part of the Hall, from 1620.
On the ceiling, in the corners, there are the portraits of Richard Towneley (1689-1735) and of his wife, Mary.
The private chapel was built in early 16th century. The altarpiece is Flemish, from the same period, but installed in 1800s. The family was Catholic and they kept their faith after the Reformation. A small cupboard tucked out of sight in the chapel hides a very unusual secret. For almost 200 years, “Uncle Frank’s” head was there, separated from his body as a punishment for his part in the Jacobite rebellion.
The kitchen looks wonderful. It wasn’t opened when we visited the Hall.
Among the interesting things that are on display at the Hall, are the pottery from 1908. All these are part of the Arts and Crafts Movement at the beginning of the 20th century. The pottery pieces are painted with powdered metal that will make them shiny after firing. Initially I thought they are made of glass, they are really shiny and beautiful.
The Egyptian coffin was made in 700BC and it has two halves with wooden pegs. The coffin is painted with religious scenes and inscriptions from the Book of the Dead.
This is a capsule and pigeon post. It’s the first time I see something like this. I imagined the pigeon post would have been much smaller.
The craftsmanship is amazing. In the hall, there are many pieces of wooden furniture embellished with beautiful carvings, like this chair.
Like most Catholic houses, there is a priest hole in the upper floor. Queen Elizabeth I in 1559 required everyone to conform to the Anglican faith and attend church or face fines. She was excommunicated in 1570 by the Pope, so she made it illegal to perform or attend a Catholic Mass. This priest hole was used during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. In early 1700s there were 7 hiding places.
The Long Gallery looks beautiful. There are plenty of rooms to have a look at, all guest bedrooms. There used to be family portraits on the walls, over 100.
Towneley Hall is beautiful. I enjoyed my visit a lot. There are many more things to see and there is an art gallery too.
To visit the Hall, the address is: Towneley Park, Burnley, BB11 3RQ. Entry Fee is £5 for a 12 month pass.