An 1870s woodblock print from "Morris's Views of Seats"
The house from a 1921 photograph
House & Family History: The site of Astley Hall was acquired in the 15th century by the Charnock family from the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. The Charnocks built the original timber-framed courtyard house circa 1575-99; it was around this core that the house as seen today was created in the following centuries. Astley is known for the stunning, over-the-top mid-17th century Jacobean plasterwork ceilings in the great hall and the drawing room. Local legend has it that Oliver Cromwell stayed at the house during the Battle of Preston in 1648 and supposedly left his boots behind. In 1922 Astley Hall and its contents were given to Chorley City Council by Reginald Tatton as a memorial to the local men killed in World War I.
Collections: Astley Hall contains a fine collection of oak furniture, Flemish tapestries, and wooden paneling.
Comments: In his 2003 book, "England's Thousand Best Houses," Simon Jenkins called Astley "the most exhilarating house in Lancashire."
Garden & Outbuildings: The Victorian walled garden was fully restored in 2009 with the assistance of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The coach house houses an art gallery and conference room on the second floor, with a café and education space on the first floor.
John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: Vol. I, p. 54, 1852.
Country Life: LI, 284 [Furniture], 1922. LII, 14 plan, 50, 1922. CXVIII, 1214, 1955.
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Possible Seat of: Thomas Part, 19th century.
Past Seat / Home of: Charnock family, 15th-17th centuries. Richard Brooke, 17th century. Robert Townley Parker, until 1879. Reginald Tatton, early 20th century.
Current Ownership Type: Government
Primary Current Ownership Use: Museum
Ownership Details: Owned by Chorley Borough Council and operated as Astley Hall Museum and Art Gallery
House Open to Public: Yes
Historic Houses Member: Yes