Lytham Hall is an 18th-century Georgian country house in Lytham, Lancashire, a mile from the centre of the town in 78 acres of wooded parkland. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building.[1]


The manor of Lytham was recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Lidun.[2] In the 12th century it was given to the Benedictine monks of Durham Priory for the foundation of a monastic cell—Lytham Priory. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, Lytham Priory came into the possession of Sir Richard Molyneux. In 1606 the land was acquired by local landowner Cuthbert Clifton who built a house there.[3][4] Cuthbert's descendant, Thomas Clifton, replaced that house with the current hall, which was built 1757–1764 to the design of John Carr of York.[5] For the next two centuries the Clifton estate, at its largest, comprised 8,000 acres.

Ownership of the property descended to John Clifton (1764–1832) and thence to his son Thomas Joseph Clifton (1788–1851), who extensively remodelled the estate by extending the surrounding parkland. [6] It passed via Colonel John Talbot Clifton (1819–1882), MP for North Lancashire, to his 14-year-old grandson, the colourful John Talbot Clifton (1868–1928), during whose stewardship the railway was built along the estate's southern boundary and part of the land sold for housing.[7] During the First World War the house was used as a military hospital and after the Cliftons had moved to live in Ireland in 1919 and then Scotland in 1922 the house was somewhat neglected. Clifton was a passionate traveller and died in 1928 on an expedition to Timbuktu with his wife, Violet Beauclerk. She later wrote a biography of her husband, published under the title The Book of Talbot, which won the 1933 James Tait Black Prize,[8] and was the last person to live in the house. Their dilettante film producer son, Henry de Vere Clifton, had squandered much of the family's wealth and the house had to be sold to Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance in 1963 for office accommodation.[9]

On 1 December 1965, Lytham Hall was designated as a Grade I listed building.[10] The Grade I designation is the highest of the three grades.[11] The hall is on the Heritage at Risk Register because its condition is considered to be only "fair".[12][not in citation given]

In 1997 Lytham Town Trust bought the building, with help from a donation from BAE Systems, and subsequently leased it to Heritage Trust for the North West for 99 years.[13]


Lytham Hall is constructed in the Palladian style of red brick in Flemish bond with stone dressings and stuccoed features.[3][10] It has three storeys on a rectangular, symmetrical plan and sits on a stone plinth.[5][10] The front façade lies to the east; it has a central bay that extends slightly forward and has an Ionic pediment.[5] The main entrance is also pedimented and is flanked by Doric columns.[3] There are four pilasters between the first floor and roof cornice.[5] The ground floor window have Gibbs surrounds.[3]

In contrast to traditional Palladian-style houses in which the servants' and utility rooms were on the ground floor (piano rustico) and the important family rooms were on the first floor (piano nobile), Lytham Hall's main rooms are on the ground floor.[5]

Dovecote in trees at rear

In the grounds are several Grade II listed structures, including the Gatehouse, a large stable block, a large dovecote, the inner gates, a statue of Diana in what used to be a formal garden, and a screen wall running south from the west wing.

See also



  1. ^ Historic England. "Lytham Hall (1219078)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  2. ^ Fishwick (1907), pp. 2–3
  3. ^ a b c d Hartwell, p. 436
  4. ^ Brazendale (1994), p. 254
  5. ^ a b c d e Brazendale (1994), p. 255
  6. ^ "The Clifton Family & Lytham Hall". Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  7. ^ "THE HISTORIC PARK VOL I" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  8. ^ Violet Clifton in Google Books
  9. ^ "Lytham Hall - Lancashire's Downton Abbey". Lancashire Life. Retrieved 2013-01-11. 
  10. ^ a b c Historic England, "Lytham Hall (1219078)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 21 August 2013 
  11. ^ "Listed Buildings", National Heritage List for England, English Heritage, archived from the original on 24 January 2013, retrieved 27 June 2011 
  12. ^ "Lytham Hall", Heritage at Risk Register, English Heritage, retrieved 27 June 2011 
  13. ^ "Lytham Hall History & Further Information", Official Lytham Hall website, retrieved 27 June 2011 


External links