Slackwood Farm, Silverdale (Desk-Based Assessment)

Slackwood Farm, Silverdale, Lancashire: Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment

Prior to the submission of a planning application to convert a former barn and renovate the farmhouse at Slackwood Farm, Silverdale, Lancashire, an archaeological investigation was carried out following a request by Doug Moir, Planning Officer (Archaeology) at Lancashire County Council. As the Farmhouse is Grade II* listed, and the barn is within its curtilage, this was to comprise an English Heritage Level 2/3 and 3 type recording of the buildings to be effected in order to provide a permanent record of the structures, provide information about their historical development, and to assess the significance of the surviving fabric. This report contains the results of the desk-based assessment for the site, carried out prior to the first element of the building recording, which will be reported separately. The work was carried out by Greenlane Archaeology between March and October 2009.

There are numerous pieces of historical and documentary evidence concerning the site of Slackwood Farm, but detailed information is surprisingly sparse. However, this study has revealed that some or all the current farmstead was constructed early eighteenth century, when an earlier house was replaced. The earliest recorded occupiers, recorded from at least 1632, are the Walling family who were clearly of some importance in the local area, were almost certainly the original owners, and were responsible for the early 18th century rebuilding. They probably held and occupied the site until the end of the 18th century, but by the mid 19th century it had been acquired by the Leighton Hall estate, who continued to own it until 2009. There are few details about the physical development of the buildings; the available maps only show that the house and barn were present by at least the early 19th century, although there are some discrepancies in the details they depict, and there were additional outbuildings that have subsequently been removed. The most significant proposed period of alterations was actually in 1977, when plans were drawn up to divide the house into two dwellings, but these apparently never came to fruition.

The buildings at Slackwood Farm represent a historically and architecturally interesting group, especially the farmhouse, although the sparse nature of the available sources and lack of specific detail about the buildings makes interpretation difficult. This is something that will hopefully be more fully resolved by the completion of the subsequent building recordings.

The full report is available on the Archaeology Data Service website: