Thornton Lodge often surprises people – it did us when we first saw it! We were looking for a modest pair of semi’s that had been knocked into one in the village – without success and pulled into the gateway of a field to ponder what to do when hubby nudged me and our jaws collectively dropped as we surveyed the decidedly uncottagey building across the fields.
You see, the people who had Thornton Lodge built as their summer home were incredibly wealthy and owned a huge property in Burnley, so to them this particular ‘huge property’ was quite modest and lodge sized. Coupled with the fact there already existed a Thornton Rust Hall and sundry properties with Manor in the title it is understandable where the name Thornton Lodge sprang from. Even more confusingly, the house built at the entrance, described in its last set of sales particulars as an Edwardian Gentlemans residence, is known as Thornton Lodge Cottage!
Another confusing thing about Thornton Lodge is its age. It was built in 1909 but is typically Victorian as a local builder was used who drew upon his experiences within Wensleydale, the end result being something looking as if it were 30 – 40 years older. I have been told by his grand daughter that this was his favourite project of the many he worked on in the Dales, which is a pleasing thought.
We have modestly sized cellars at the house but adjoining them and accessed from outside is our boiler room and ‘hidden tunnel’! It isn’t really hidden as there is a lobby at the bottom of the steps which lead down to the boiler room on one side and the access tunnel on the other side. It runs some 10 meters East beneath the house to underneath the staircase and then turns to run North underneath what was originally the billiard room, eventually opening out into a space you can stand up in – or so I am told…. I’m relatively brave, especially if I tell myself I have to be but have never yet had the urge to crawl around underneath my house. I almost plucked up the courage when we’d not lived here long and hubby failed to materialise when I called him – not once but several times and finally bellowing for him with an exceptional set of lungs. Poised to climb into the tunnel I was saved the ordeal when he came wandering into view from the direction of his workshops. Ever since I’ve taken the view that if he did get stuck down there, he’d shout loudly enough for me to hear him!