A circa 1800 print of the house
Earlier Houses: An earlier house of the Nowell family was demolished to make way for the current house. Among notable members of this family were Alexander Nowell (died 1602), an English Puritan theologian who served as dean of St. Paul's Cathedral during much of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. He was also was the inventor of bottled beer, the story of which is told by Izaak Walton in his 1653 book, "The Complete Angler." In the 17th century Roger Nowell was a magistrate at the time of the Lancashire Witches; in 1612 he sent the accused to Lancaster for trial and eventual execution.
Built / Designed For: John Fort
House & Family History: The current Read Hall was built for John Fort, a wealthy partner in a Sabden Calico textile printing firm; the house was designed by local architect George Webster when he was only 21 years old.
Comments: John Martin Robinson called Read Hall George Webster's best classical work.
Garden & Outbuildings: The early 19th century landscape gardens, of approximately 25 acres, feature a waterfall, two lakes, the rockery, the rose garden, and the fountain garden.
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: 2.S. Vol. II, p. 169, 1855.
House Listed: Grade II*
Park Listed: Not Listed
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: Alexander Nowell, 16th century; Roger Nowell, 17th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: John Fort, 19th century.
Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust
Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home
House Open to Public: No
Historic Houses Member: No