Martholme Manor is a Grade 1 listed manor house dating back to the 13th century. A medieval gem hidden away in Great Harwood, members of Pendle Archaeology Group visited recently for a private tour of the house and grounds. The current, owners whose family have lovingly restored and refurbished this charming house over the past fifty years, welcomed us into their home.
Martholme Manor Today
Unsurprisingly, the house has undergone many C16 and C17 alterations and additions. ‘T’ shaped in plan, it has a timber framed kitchen range which was stone clad in 1577. Try not to miss the Elizabethan gatehouse, walled outer courtyard and dry moat. Equally the Hesketh arms on a stone panel on the gatehouse are certainly worth a viewing.
Back inside the hall, two lovely arched doorways (possibly mediaeval) are thought to be two of three serving doors for the Hall. Hidden by a large screen (a screen passage), this would have acted in the same way as restaurant doors do today.
In the East wing, parts of the building show the original timber frames in a plastered wall. We saw king trusses, stone plinths, chamfered mullion windows, a deeply recessed fireplace and a bressumer (load bearing) beam in the loft.
Leaving after a welcome cup of tea, we climbed up onto the railway viaduct and saw the meander of the Calder river and viewed Martholme from above. Set in what was the Manor of Great Harwood we were accompanied by swallows (or were they house martins?) swifts and a heron.
A very pleasant afternoon indeed.
Did you know?
In order that travellers could be seen approaching from a downstairs window, the road to the entrance was deliberately offset. Was this in order that the gatekeeper could be gainfully employed whilst on the lookout for guests?
The current owners can still remember Pevsner’s visit to assess the building which must have been an exciting ocassion.
Partially filled in, the moat still overflows during periods of heavy rain.
Why not join us at a future event? We really are a friendly bunch.
Banner Image: Gatehouse to Martholme Manor. Attribution: Ian Fairclough. GHHS