Our Story

Our Story

The Parker’s of Browsholme.

Browsholme Hall has a fascinating story to tell, being one of the oldest family homes in England. Over 500 years Browsholme has been adapted to the fortunes, tastes and needs of each generation of the Parker family. Today Robert and Amanda occupy all parts of the house; both of their children Eleanor (26) and Roland (25) where born there and now live nearby.  Its survival over generations in the ownership of the same family has not been guaranteed. On occasions untimely death, bankruptcy has made succession indirect and so it was that in 1975 Robert, aged 20, inherited from Col. Parker, his unmarried 4th cousin once removed. The Hall was in severe decline, some 2000 acres having been sold in the early 1960’s leaving a small Estate of 420 acres of farmland and woods producing little revenue. The Hall, then had little sanitation, dangerous wiring, undrinkable water, antiquated bathrooms, no kitchen or heating system; so in modern terms virtually unlivable. Born and living in Cambridge with his parents, this unexpected inheritance was not a prospect for the fainthearted.

It was clear that Browsholme would not survive unless major restoration work was done, so the whole family moved to Lancashire in 1978 and over the next 40 years have made the Hall a comfortable home.  Robert and Amanda took over the running of the Hall and estate in the 1990’s. Continuing the work his parents started, they concentrated on developing Browsholme within the community and making it economically sound and sustainable. The Hall is now relevant to the 21st Century with biomass fuelled hot water and heating, energy saving lighting and clean spring water. Over twenty local people now work in the Hall, gardens, Tithe Barn and the Estate as employees or volunteer guides making Browsholme a significant contributor to the local economy.

But this is the end of our story, what of previous generations?

Origins of ‘le parker’

Prior to 1381 the original surname of our family was ‘de Alkincotes’ indicating that we then lived at Alkincoats, near Colne in Lancashire. Peter de Alkincotes is our earliest recorded direct descendent and my 16th great grandfather, his Richard grandson being appointed le parker (park keeper) of Radholme Laund for John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster. Henceforth the surname became Parker denoting the families occupation and the source of the family coat of arms. At the same time many other appointments to le parker were being made to other families, genealogists should be cautious of assuming a link to Browsholme by name alone. Richard le Parker had by 1393 a lease of the adjoining vaccary of Browshome, this lease was renewed every 20 years until 1507, when a new lease was granted to Edmund Parker of Nether Browsholme. Large sums of money were spent on buildings … as the present Hall shows. One hundred years later Thomas Parker purchased the freehold of both Nether and Over Browsholme his portrait hangs in the Hall to this day.

What's On

Hall and Garden Open Days

Wednesday 5th August 2020

Every Wednesday and Thursday in August, the Hall and our glorious gardens are open to the public.  ...

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Garden Workshop ‘Gardening With Containers – Autumn & Winter Highlights’

Tuesday 6th October 2020

A practical container workshop with horticulturalist and broadcaster, Marguerite Hughes, demonstrati...

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