The last days of Walton Hall

Walton Hall Walton-le-Dale preston Lancashire UK about 1820
Walton Hall in the time of Sir Henry Hoghton, its last resident

The death of Sir Henry Philip Hoghton of Walton Hall in 1835 at the age of 67 ended the family’s time as resident lords of the manor of Walton-le-Dale. His son and heir, Henry, had married well, acquiring the Bold estate at Wigan, changing his name to Bold-Hoghton and seemingly showing no desire to return to Walton-le-Dale.

Henry Philip Hoghton would appear to have been in somewhat straitened circumstances, judging by his attempt to sell Walton Hall and its estate some years earlier. [1] And shortly before his death, his land agent, Mr Birket, had been advertising much of the estate for sale: which for the landed classes amounted to selling off the family silver. [2]

Related articles:
A tale of two Belvederes
A Walton-le-Dale Jacobin
And for contrast:
Victorian Preston’s ‘worst slum’

In fact, the family silver was put up for auction shortly after Sir Henry’s death, along with the rest of the contents of Walton Hall. The auction was followed by the sale of the fabric and fixtures of the hall ‘To Builders, Plumbers, &c.’ The auction and sale give a fascinating glimpse into the life of the leisured classes in the Preston district in the 19th century, as the advertisement (below) for the auction reveals (the date at the foot of the advertisement is a misprint. It should read 1836, the date of the Chronicle edition). [3]

Advert for sale of Walton Hall, Walton-le-Dale Preston UK 1835Sir Henry had clearly been living comfortably, with his billiard table and his 1,500 books ‘Including most of the Standard Works usually found in a library of consequence’, his bedroom with easy chairs, bidet, night commode and cheval and dressing glasses. And, of course, his vapour bath. But what really catches the attention is the Egyptian mummy, ‘procured on the spot and brought to this country by the Proprietor; the hieroglyphics upon the case are perfectly legible, and the body is supposed to be that of an Egyptian Princess, and that it is upwards of 3,000 years since it was embalmed.’ It is not clear if by proprietor is meant the late Sir Henry or his son, who would have been the present proprietor.

The auction was to start on 7 March and was scheduled to last nine days (not including weekends). On the Thursday and Friday before the auction potential purchasers could visit the hall to inspect the lots, but only if they brought along a sales catalogue they had previously purchased. [4] The fabric and fixtures of the hall went on sale some weeks later. [5]

The sale received only a brief report in the following week’s Preston Chronicle, which revealed that the Egyptian mummy ‘was knocked down at £50 to Mr. Lynch, of Chorley’. [6]

An article on the history of the North Union Railway in the Chronicle two years later records, in passing, the fate of Walton Hall, ‘To the east we behold the delightful village of Walton-le-Dale, and its church upon the hill. The woods and park of Walton Hall are likewise conspicuous. Walton Hall … is no longer standing. It was taken down a few years since by Sir Henry Bold Hoghton, Bart.’ [7]

Newspaper cuttings referring to sale of Walton Hall Walton-le-Dale Preston lancashire UK
The report of the Walton Hall auction and the advertisement of the materials and fixtures sale

Note: Membership of your local library gives you free on-line access to the Preston Chronicle.

1 ‘DDPR/40/25, Sale Catalogue – Walton Hall’, Lancashire Archives Catalogue,
2 ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 8 January 1831, British Library Newspapers,; ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 28 May 1831, British Library Newspapers,; ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 20 August 1831, British Library Newspapers,; ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 27 April 1833, British Library Newspapers,; ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 2 August 1834, British Library Newspapers,
3 ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 13 February 1836, British Library Newspapers,
4 ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 20 February 1836, British Library Newspapers,
5 ‘Advertisements & Notices’, Preston Chronicle, 21 May 1836, British Library Newspapers,
6 ‘PRESTON, SATURDAY, MARCH 19, 1836’, Preston Chronicle, 19 March 1836, British Library Newspapers,
7 ‘A COMPENDIOUS HISTORY OF THE NORTH UNION RAILWAY’:, Preston Chronicle, 27 October 1838, British Library Newspapers,

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