Rufford's must-see collection items

Check out the must-see objects and collections from Rufford Old Hall's five centuries of history you won't want to miss on your journey through the house.

Screen inside Rufford's Great Hall

Carved screen in the Great Hall

The only one of its kind known to have survived intact, Rufford Old Hall's screen has stood in the Great Hall since it was built in 1530-40. As it is freestanding, the screen has been officially called 'moveable', however this would be very difficult to do. It bears two angels carrying shields carved with the family arms of the medieval heiresses who set up the fortunes of the Hesketh family.

Philip Ashcroft's collection of rural Lancashire objects at Rufford Old Hall

Philip Ashcroft collection

In 1936, local man Philip Ashcroft conceived the idea of forming a village museum to preserve some of the fast-disappearing relics of south-west Lancashire folk life. Rufford Old Hall became a home for that museum and now contains a great deal of old agricultural equipment, displayed in the stable, as well as furniture, ceramics, books, toys and more around the house. Step back in time to a not-too-distant past to discover the story of rural Lancashire's people.

The Drawing Room at Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire

Stained glass in the Drawing Room

The Drawing Room was given the full Tudor Gothic treatment when it was decorated in the 1820s, including quatrefoils for stained glass above the large window at one end. Most of them depict 17th century German or Swiss coats of arms, biblical scenes, saints and martyrs, probably collected by Sir Thomas Dalrymple Hesketh on his European travels. When the morning sun hits them, a dazzling display of colours can be seen across the floor - come and see how many colours you can spot.

Suit of armour collection at Rufford Old Hall

Arms and armour

Likely inspired by the craze for chivalry in the early 1800s, the Hesketh family collected various weapons and suits of armour from various European countries to form the collection you can see in the Great Hall today. They range from the 16th and 17th century. Can you imagine what it would be like to fight wearing these? We even have some replica items to try on!

Step into Rufford Old Hall's Dressing Room to admire Ellen Stevens' watercolours

Ellen Stevens watercolours

Dating from the late 1800s, this collection of Ellen Stevens' botanical watercolours is a delightful feature of the Dressing Room. Most of the paintings have been hung in seasonal groups, from early spring to late autumn. Which one is your favourite? The view of a tree in Epping Forest is a striking image and shows her immense talent as a landscape artist.

These are just a few of the objects and collections waiting to be discovered at Rufford Old Hall. Visit the homepage to check our opening times and plan your visit to explore the house.

Delve deeper into Rufford's collection
A painting being inspected in the Dining Room at Rufford Old Hall

Collections review 

Read about our current project to explore the history of over 4,000 items here at Rufford and finally understand how all these objects came together to form this unique and diverse collection. Discover how you can get involved in this fascinating process too.