Dowry Castle remains today and aerial view of the site

Dowry Castle: A Victorian Mansion in a Farming Landscape

The brewer John Gartside began building Dowry Castle in 1867. The Dowry Castle site included a mansion, a farmhouse and farm buildings. The buildings were at the heart of a 400-acre moorland estate farming dairy cattle and sheep. The buildings were demolished around 30 years later following the construction of local reservoirs.

This short-lived Victorian mansion was just one chapter in the story of this special landscape. Earlier chapters include hunter-gatherers, Roman soldiers, wealthy Yorkshire families and Cistercian monks.

In 1543 the Gartside family from Rochdale enter the scene. These pages follow the journey of the Dowry Castle site through to your experience of it today.

Follow the links below to find out more about Dowry Castle. Why not make a trip to the site itself?

John Gartside builds Dowry Castle

Dowry Castle farm buildings and estate 

Building the reservoirs and the end for Dowry Castle

Dowry Castle mound

Dowry Castle timeline

The Dowry Castle story is being told as part of the Watershed Landscape project. If you want to know more about the history of Dowry Castle, take a look at the detailed research report.

Information for your visit

Although the buildings were dismantled, there are stone walls, earthworks and architectural features to remind you of the site's former grandeur. The buildings’ remains are potentially dangerous so are best viewed from the Pennine Bridleway which runs just outside the site. Take care not to climb the walls and watch your step.  

The countryside is a great place to exercise dogs, but please make sure your dog is not a danger or nuisance to farm animals, wildlife or other people.

Please help to preserve this important place by leaving it as you found it.