History

Anderton Mill

Andertons Mill is the name of the hamlet that The Owls barn is located in, it consists of a dozen houses and must be one of the least known places in the UK, Wikipedia only has half a sentence listed about it (that in itself must be a record).

We suspect Andertons Mill was held in moieties from an early time by the Anderton and Cunliffe families who owned the surrounding estates. The hamlet was owned by the Andertons for many centuries and was granted to the Baron of Manchester, Robert Gresle in 1212 whose family owned it until the 17th Century. The original Anderton estate began in the Rivington area of the county (about 6miles South East of Chorley), but grew over time.

Anderton House

My family bought Andetons House in 1916 as a small holding consisting of approximately 20acres, over 100 years later the family now own just less than one acre of grounds. The barn was part of the working farm which consisted of four fields of pasture, orchards of apples, pears, plums and damsons, soft fruit gardens and ponds. The barn, which included a Dutch barn’s hay loft, housed working horses in two loose boxes, farm machinery, and a pig sty. I can only imagine it being like the Darling Buds of May…

There are very few records of Andertons house or the barn that can be traced. It is clear though the house itself was built in three distinct phases across several hundred years. The latest part of the house was the Georgian facade added in the mid 19th Century with rendered stone quoins, heads and sills and stone lead-lined gutters. This work also included 3 cellars, a scullery, grand entrance hall and feature stairs. The middle part of the house was constructed in the 18th Century and contained the first stairs in the building. The oldest part of the house is to the rear, this part of the house has the original bread oven over a large open fire and an alleged priest hole.

The Owls

It is, therefore, difficult to date when the barn was built. The main features of the barn are the original cart entrance doors which face the farm, the three large round windows with stone surrounds and the roof construction. The largest feature, however, is the King Post truss spanning from front to back, at around 29feet (8.8meters) which in turn supports three purlins (a horizontal beam along the length of a roof) which span the full 24feet (7.3meters) width.

At the time of the conversion of the barn in the early 1980’s, it was discovered that the purlins were so large that they could have spanned the width of the barn without the use of the King Post Truss. On closer inspection, it is very easy to see that most of the timbers of the truss and purlins have been reused from a previous structure. What the structure was and how old it is, remains a mystery.

Lucy IsherwoodHistory