‘Time Team’ hunt aims to unearth medieval manor

One of Burnley’s oldest houses – long since buried by the sands of time – could be recreated, thanks to the work of archaeologists.

Ightenhill Manor is the subject of an extensive investigation by experts who are hoping to trace the outline of the Norman-era house.

Maria Chattle (project leader), Tony Mitchell (chair of parish council), Irene  Hardy (project coordinator). James Lawton, Tony Moores, Joe Perry and Coun. Roger Frost at the start of the geophysical survey at the site of the  former Manor House at Ightenhill.

Maria Chattle (project leader), Tony Mitchell (chair of parish council), Irene Hardy (project coordinator). James Lawton, Tony Moores, Joe Perry and Coun. Roger Frost at the start of the geophysical survey at the site of the former Manor House at Ightenhill.

Local historian and former clerk to Ightenhill Parish Council Roger Frost believes the house dates to 1188 when King Henry II sat on the throne of England.

The parish council has now been awarded nearly £30,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a project to bring the medieval site to life.

A team of archaeological experts from Bradford-based GSB Prospection are now carrying out a “Time Team” style geophysical exploration of the site.

Mr Frost said: “I’m hoping the experts can uncover the shape of the Manor House. Our hope is then to have a scale model of the original house built. We also want to maintain the site and put up a display board detailing its history.”

Mr Frost believes Ightenhill Manor may have been built by Roger de Lacy, who was a Norman nobleman.

It was the administrative centre of the Ightenhill Manor and provided local government functions.

The site probably also comprised a chapel, a series of barns and a blacksmiths, according to Mr Frost.

He added: “It survived as a manor house until around 1522 when Sir John Towneley was the tenant. We know he carried out repairs but it soon after became disused.

“The Tudors had started to get rid of the manorial system because it was too closely related to the feudal system, and the economy was changing and expanding.”

Sara Hilton, the head of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, said: “The site of the former Manor House at Ightenhill has hidden clues as to the way our ancestors lived and how the community around here developed into what it is today. This project will provide a unique record of the area.”