Browsholme Hall from the front
|Location||Ribble Valley, Lancashire|
|Designated||16 November 1954|
Browsholme Hall // is a privately owned Elizabethan house in the parish of Bowland Forest Low in the borough of Ribble Valley, Lancashire (historically in the West Riding of Yorkshire), England. It is claimed to be the oldest surviving family home in Lancashire. Since 1954, it has been designated a Grade I listed building by English Heritage.
In the fourteenth century, Edmund Parker was park-keeper of Radholme Laund, west of Browsholme, one of the two great deer parks in the Forest of Bowland. In 1393, his sons Richard and John were deputy parkers of Radholme, but from 1380, they had a lease of the vaccary (mediaeval cattle farm) of Browsholme. Richard probably built the original house on the present site around that time.
When in 1507, King Henry VII disafforested Bowland, Edmund Parker obtained a copyhold of Nether Browsholme and began the present house. Thomas Parker, purchased the freehold of Browsholme from the Crown in 1603 and further improved the house, which had been enlarged by his father. His grandson, also called Thomas, is believed to have added a formal garden in 1674.
On the death of his father, John Parker in 1797, Thomas Lister Parker succeeded to the Browsholme estate. In 1804 and 1805, he made alterations to the Hall, rebuilding the west wing, and afterwards he made additions under the superintendence of Sir Jeffry Wyatville. He had a taste for landscape gardening, and between 1797 and 1810, spent large sums in laying the grounds. In the house, he displayed a collection of antiquities and pictures, partly formed by himself. He had a large series of drawings and prints bought during a tour on the continent in 1800 and 1801, at Moscow, Venice, and Paris; a large collection of drawings of castles and manor-houses by John Chessell Buckler, and portfolios of his own drawings. He also possessed pictures of the Flemish school and works of James Northcote and Thomas Gainsborough. Thomas Lister Parker ultimately bankrupted himself and was forced to pass the estate to a cousin.
Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland
The Parker family have been Bowbearers of the Forest of Bowland since the Restoration. The office fell into abeyance in the late nineteenth century but in 2010, the 16th Lord of Bowland re-asserted his ancient right and appointed Robert Parker his Bowbearer of the Forest of Bowland, the first Parker to be so appointed in more than 150 years.
In 2011, Robert Parker led a party of dignitaries from the Bowland Higher Division Parish Council, the Forest authorities, and local community, to welcome the 16th Lord of Bowland to Dunsop Bridge on his first official to the Forest. In October 2012, Robert Parker was formally presented with his Bowbearer's "wand of office" by the 16th Lord of Bowland at a public ceremony in Slaidburn. This ceremony marked the 90th anniversary of the final meeting of the manorial court at the town's Tudor courthouse.
- "Browsholme Hall Lancashire Ribble Valley Historic House Wedding Venue". Retrieved 2011-04-21.
- Historic England. "Browsholme Hall (1072272)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- "The Parkers of Browsholme" (PDF). www.browsholme.com. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
- Porter, John (1980). The Making of the Central Pennines. Broughton Gifford. p. 30.
- "Parker, Thomas Lister". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.
- "The Tithe Barn at Browsholme Hall Opening Ceremony". Lancashire Life. Retrieved 2011-04-21.
- Baines' History of Lanc., Vol. III.
- for example:  "hereditary in his family for many generations" (as at 1779) and 
- Forest of Bowland official website http://www.forestofbowland.com/node/1923)
- Lancashire Evening Post http://www.lep.co.uk/news/Ancient-titles-rise-again.6200640.jp[permanent dead link]
- Clitheroe Advertiser http://www.clitheroeadvertiser.co.uk/valleynews/First-39Bowbearer-of-the-Forest39.6229215.jp
- Lord of Bowland official visit
- A Sign for the Times http://www.forestofbowland.com/node/2656
- http://www.browsholme.co.uk/downloads/Oct%202012%20Lord%20King%20of%20Bowland%20flyer.pdf[permanent dead link]
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