Last weekend I ventured over to Lancashire. I’d been invited to a garden party at a friend’s allotment (dress code: fascinator and wellies) in Higher Walton, near Preston. It was raining as I left home in Yorkshire but by the time I was across the Pennines it had stopped and we enjoyed a Jacob’s Join lunch in the open air. I must say that allotment gardening, and gardening in general, look like an awful lot of hard work … but the gain is tremendous; Kath’s plot exceeded all expectations.
Welcome to the Party!
Kath’s Bee Hotel
It turned out that the allotment is just a few minutes from Hoghton Tower so after lunch two of us made our way to the Tower where we came across a reenactment of the Battle of Preston (1715). Amongst the reenactors I was surprised to see the Leeds Waits a group of musicians specialising in medieval music and, incidentally, my next-door neighbours!
“The battle of Preston at Houghton Tower 2015 : a short film showing the musicians that used to play at executions!”
We booked a tour of the house at 2.30 and made for the tea room for refreshments beforehand.
Some significant people are associated with Hoghton. In particular our guide was impressed by the James I connection. James is reported to have spent a few nights at the Tower in 1617 and it was here that he was so pleased with his roast beef dinner that he knighted the joint Sir Loin. James was apparently a small chap and instead of dismounting outside in the courtyard he rode his horse right into the house and up the stairs.
It is also reported that William Shakespeare spent some time here during the period known as his ‘lost years’.
Charles Dickens was also familiar with the house and wrote a short story centred around it including a description of the building as a farm house: George Silverman’s Explanation.
“And so, by fragments of an ancient terrace, and by some rugged outbuildings that had once been fortified, and passing under a ruined gateway, we came to the old farm-house in the thick stone wall outside the old quadrangle of Hoghton Towers.”
The “quadrangle” today
Read here about another blogger’s visit to Hoghton.
The Battle’s Over – Time to go Home
It looks like a day out I would have enjoyed too, though having an allotment, so I hear, can sometimes be fraught with petty fall-outs and fierce competitiveness (I wonder if you’ve seen the wonderful film Grow Your Own?). Coincidentally, Sir James Graham of Norton Conyers is or was a member of the Sealed Knot Society, devoted to Civil War re-enactment. I love the old musical instruments – it’s like hearing history.
Hopefully Kath manages to avoid the fall-outs – there are only a few allotments belonging to a farm … and, anyway, hers must the best by far! No I haven’t seen the film – it’s going on my list. Thank you for mentioning it. I love the old instruments too, now I know that’s what they are; when we first moved in we thought we had problems with the boiler and radiators!
What a coincidence. Sadly it took me a year to write my trip up. 😦
I’m glad you report on your visits eventually!
Did you remember your passport? Or did you sneak through the border?
Haha! It took a long time to reach the border by the shortest route (Keighley/Colne) so I made a much quicker getaway via the Msixty-something and M62!
That was a full day out! Wearing fascinator and wellies the whole time, were you?
Good question, sherry! No, of course not. I can’t drive in wellies, for start, and fascinator had to removed to get into the car.
Greetings from the next door neighbours. Isn’t serendipity a wonderful thing?
Greetings neighbours! You found my online presence! I hope you approve!
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