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Capernwray Hall


Capernwray Hall comprises a house and park first constructed in the mid-19th century and further developed in about 1901. The site is bounded to the north by the River Keer and elsewhere by stone walls.


The park is on land which slopes northwards down to the River Keer overlooking rising terrain on the other side of the river valley.
The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Formal gardens of the mid- to late 19th century, a Rose Garden of 1901 by Thomas Hayton Mawson, and parkland of early 19th-century date.



Capernwray Hall is situated c 1.5km north-east of the village of Capernwray. The c 70ha park is on land which slopes northwards down to the River Keer overlooking rising terrain on the other side of the river valley. The setting is rural and agricultural. The western boundary is formed by a stone wall which runs from the junction of Keer Holme Lane and Borwick Road at the north-west corner to a point c 100m south of High Lodge at the south-west corner. The wall continues along the northern boundary alongside Keer Holm Lane as far as East Gate Lodge. The remaining northern boundary is formed by the meandering River Keer, and the eastern boundary by a stream running down to the Keer from Petersgill Wood. The south-eastern and eastern boundaries are formed by fencing.


There are four entrances, all with lodges. To the north is East Gate Lodge, a stone building with a hipped roof and central chimney, which is not shown on the 1st edition OS map surveyed 1844 but does appear on the 1916 edition. It is probably of mid C19 date. A disused drive, shown on the 1844 OS map, leads south from this point to join a drive from Borwick Lodge (listed grade II), which is situated on the west side of the site. The latter is a stone lodge with an arched gateway, shown on the 1844 OS map. The drive leads south-east to the Hall, crossing the River Keer in the parkland via a stone bridge. Also on the west side are Middle Lodge and High Lodge, both of which are shown on the 1844 OS map. Drives lead north-eastwards from these and join c 200m east of Middle Lodge, continuing to a secondary entrance with stone gate piers c 50m south-east of the Hall. The southern part of the park is recorded on the 1840 Tithe map of Over Kellet which shows Middle Lodge and the drives from this, High Lodge and Borwick Lodge.


Capernwray Hall (listed grade II*) was built for George Marton in 1844 by Edmund Sharp. It replaced a house erected in 1805, known as Keer Bank in 1830 and afterwards renamed Capernwray Hall, which is shown on the 1840 Tithe map and the 1844 OS map. The Hall is of ashlar, in Perpendicular style, and a service court with a clock tower is attached to the east side of the building. The house and its general setting conform well with a view published by F O Morris in the later C19.

Some 200m north-east of the Hall there are a number of agricultural buildings relating to the home farm. The drive from Middle Lodge divides c 50m south-east of the Hall, one branch continuing north-east past the agricultural buildings and on to the farmhouse and barns. The barns have been converted for residential use and there are a number of other late C20 conversions or new buildings in the area between the farmhouse and Hall; these are screened from view by planting between Hall and kitchen garden.


The Hall is set into the slope of the land, and a broad terrace with a stone retaining wall gives views over the parkland to the north and north-west. The areas to the south-west, south and south-east of the Hall are planted with ornamental woodland, much as shown on the large-scale OS map surveyed 1889.

On the north-east side of the Hall the entrance drive leads through a gateway flanked by walls with primary and secondary piers, to a terrace. The wall on the north side of the entrance turns and runs along the outer edge of the terrace. The part of the terrace alongside the service block is used as a car park. Paths lead on from this to the main entrance to the Hall. Some 10m from the north-west corner of the Hall a set of C20 steps lead down the terrace to a gateway in the walls.

A grassed terrace on the north and west sides of the Hall drops sharply down to a secondary terrace with a stone retaining wall which is reached from a flight of stone steps leading down from the centre of the west side of the Hall, as shown on the later C19 Morris view and on the 1889 map.

Some 20m from the south-west corner of the Hall, steps with piers surmounted by ball finials lead down from the terrace to a rectangular area called the Rose Garden, which was laid out by Thomas Mawson (1861-1933) in 1901. The area has a perimeter walk and a central circular fountain flanked by rectangular lawns with geometrical beds. A second set of steps lead up from the south side of the garden to connect with curving walks through woodland. At the west end of the garden a late C20 house has been erected. On the south side of the garden there is a series of raised beds set into the slope.

Two C20 buildings have been erected in the woodland south-west of the Rose Garden.

The rear, south side of the Hall has a garden consisting of three terraces stepping down the slope with a set of centrally placed stone steps on each, as shown on the 1889 OS map. These lead down to a lawn with a perimeter path. A wing projects southwards partially enclosing the east side of the garden which is fringed with ornamental woodland, giving it a more intimate atmosphere than the other parts of the garden. Stone steps lead up from a point immediately south of the projecting wing to lawns fringed with woodland behind (south of) the service block. This area is shown as woodland with curving paths on the 1889 map.


The park consists of gently rolling land with areas of woodland, individual trees and clumps. A substantial belt of trees, called Breast Wood, runs along the southern boundary on high ground above the Hall and gardens. This is shown on the 1840 Tithe map and provides a backdrop for views of the Hall and park from the north. There is planting along the southern part of the west boundary. The northern side of the park is less heavily planted, affording views out in this direction. The River Keer meanders across the north-western corner of the park, and there is a lake c 700m north-west of the Hall, on the north side of the river. This is surrounded on all but the south side with ornamental planting. It has an island and the southern edge is formed by a stone wall which is built with a curving pattern of bowed projections into the water. A boathouse marked on the 1844 OS map is no longer evident.

The pattern of planting does not differ substantially from what is shown on the 1840 Tithe map and the 1844 OS map, except that the planting is less dense and a belt of trees on the northern boundary, called Kirkby Wood on the 1916 OS map, has disappeared. This, and the fact that the pattern of entrances and drives was in place by 1840, shows that the parkland was not greatly altered after the rebuilding of the Hall, and it may relate to the building of the earlier house in 1805.

The park is used as pasture apart from an area under arable cultivation in the north-west corner of the site. Two late C20 hard tennis courts have been positioned on either side of the drive c 120m north-east of the Hall.


A stone-walled kitchen garden is situated c 100m north-east of the Hall and is reached from a path leading from the Hall, much as shown on the 1840 Tithe map. A glasshouse of early to mid C20 date is situated in the centre of the garden and perimeter paths and glasshouses shown on maps of 1889 and before no longer exist. Most of the garden is under cultivation.


Capernwray church (listed grade II) is situated c 400m west of the Hall in woodland. It was built as the chapel to the Hall by George Marton and is shown on the 1840 Tithe map, showing that it was erected, or is on the site of, a church built before the rebuilding of the Hall in 1844. The church is divided from the park by a C20 fence. A footpath shown on maps after 1844 leads eastwards from a stile behind the church to the Hall.


F O Morris, A Series of Picturesque Views 4, (1866-80), pp 14-16

The Victoria History of the County of Lancashire 8, (1914), pp 146-7

N Pevsner, The Buildings of England : North Lancashire (1969), p 85


Tithe map for Over Kellet, 1840 (Lancashire Record Office)

OS 6" to 1 mile: Lancashire sheet XXV NW, 1st edition surveyed 1844; 1916 edition

OS 25" to 1 mile: Lancashire sheet XXV.2, surveyed 1889, published 1891; 1913 edition

Description written: August 1997

Edited: March 1999

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


East of the M6 junction 35, and north of the B6254.


The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


The estate was acquired by the Marton Family in the 18th century, and they lived at Capernwray Old Hall, in the village of Capernwray. In 1805, after the enclosure of the commons, a new hall was built on the site of the present Capernwray Hall. The family disposed of the Hall and estate after the Second World War and the Hall and most of the parkland are now (1997) owned by a religious organisation.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1942
  • Grade: II


  • Lawn
  • Shrubbery
Key Information





Principal Building

Religious Ritual And Funerary


Victorian (1837-1901)





Civil Parish

Over Kellet