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The History of Lytham Hall

This Grade 1 listed building is probably the finest Georgian house in the North West. It was designed and built for Thomas Clifton by John Carr of York between 1752-1764. Apart from Basildon in Berkshire, Carr worked entirely in the North of England and always in the Palladian style. His works include the Castle and Court complex in York, Tabley House, Knutsford and the Royal Crescent in Buxton. Unfortunately, none of Carr's plans, specifications or accounts for Lytham has been found, but it is known that he incorporated parts of the Jacobean house into the service quarters behind the new three-storey main block. The design is unusual in that all the main rooms are on the ground floor rather than the first.

The Hall itself is built mainly of red brick, with stone dressings used for the windows and doors. An Ionic portico links the first and second floors over the main (east) entrance. The surmounting pediment originally carried the Clifton coat of arms in stucco. The symmetrical proportions are typical of Carr's work.

Internally, the main rooms are very fine, with delicate Adamesque plasterwork and the central staircase has a magnificent coffered ceiling with a central relief of Jupiter hurling thunderbolts. There are 8 bedrooms on the first floor, each with differently carved wooden chimney pieces, and 9 plainer bedrooms on the second floor, one of which and its dressing-room have panelling out of the earlier house, and are reputed to be haunted by Sir Cuthbert. There has been little alteration to the hall since it was built, apart from up-grading of services over the years, and it is in excellent condition, having been sympathetically restored and well-maintained by the previous owners.

Amongst the furnishings are some notable pieces. Pride of place goes to a magnificent early Gillow servery, semicircular to fit the domed alcove in the dining room, together with a set of dining chairs after Chippendale, also likely to be early Gillow.

 Family paintings adorn the walls of most rooms. They give an insight into how the Cliftons were connected to other wealthy families. Perhaps the most interesting is an oil-on-panel portrait of Sir Cuthbert Clifton who purchased the manor in 1606.

The surrounding grounds are the remains of the inner Home Park and extend to about 80 acres in all. Much is woodland but with grassed areas and two large ponds. The open aspects are to parts of the separately-sold Home Farm. The views are protected, and the whole area has been listed.

Other buildings in the grounds are Grade 2 listed: the Gatehouse (after Wren), a large stable block, a huge dovecote with 850 nesting boxes, 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.