It's very difficult to dig up much information at all on this enigmatic building but we have discovered that it was built in 1869 by a Mr. Henry Hoyle Hardman. Henry was the son of George Hardman, a successful local businessman, who built Oakhill House  - RIGHT -  now the Rossendale Museum, in Rawtenstall. In view of the fact that Horncliffe House as it was then known was such a grand home, it is clear that Henry was also a successful businessman just like his father and in fact he owned Hardman Mill in Newhallhey which is just down in the valley and practically overlooked by the house. Henry died in 1888 but his wife Emily continued to live there until she died a few years later in 1896. The house passed to Annie Hardman (their daughter?) and she lived there until about 1903. The house and it's contents were then sold to a Mr. Roland Rawlinson who owned Myrtle Grove Mill in Waterfoot.

And now we have a huge gap with no idea who, what or when until we reach the 1960s!

At this time Lancashire County Council operated a care home for the elderly at the house until some time in the 1980s. Whilst it was a care home it was still known as Horncliffe House however when it was subsequently sold on in 1993 it was turned into a hotel and function venue, being re-named Horncliffe Mansions in the process. The operators at that time were Horncliffe Mansions Ltd. but the limited company was dissolved on 23rd. June, 2009 and the hotel closed. It appears now that it has passed back into private ownership once again and apparently the new owner, a property developer, is waiting to hear if he is to be granted permission to change the house back to a residential dwelling. An amusing anecdote was quoted in the local paper - apparently the owner started work in his youth as a florist's assistant and used to deliver flowers to the house when it was a care home. He always said at the time that he would love to own the house!

To the rear of the building there is a large, modern, single story function room big enough to seat several hundred people, and literature within the house itself confirms its use as a hotel quite unequivocally. Strangely though a document in the conservatory hinted at a prospective change of use to an old people's home but the document does NOT appear to be from the time period when the house actually functioned in that role! A planning application lodged with Rossendale Borough Council in 2008 states that the owner wished to convert the building from a hotel to a dwelling house, but that was during the period of ownership of the house by the hotel company, not by a private individual!

Abandoned then circa 2008/9 - just three years - so why on earth has the owner let it fall into such an appalling state of dereliction in such a short time?

A further enigma is the number of old Jaguar cars standing on the lane at the top of the grounds next to a very old, and boarded up, cottage and what appeared to be recently deployed flood precautions on that lane. This shows that someone is still going up to the house periodically.

So... after a morning of searching on t'internet all we have managed to find out is that Doctor David Bellamy - he of, "Gwapple me gwapenuts" fame - attended a protest meeting at the hotel back in 2004 when the local NIMBYs decided they didn't like the idea of the nearby moors being used as a site for those appalling windmill power stations. His presence clearly didn't do much good though because they just went ahead and built them anyway!

It's quite saddening to see this magnificent building rotting away. TJ and I lived in Rossendale for years and we used to regularly pass the place. It always seemed to be thriving and although we eventually moved a little further away to Darwen we were quite surprised to drive past recently and see the front all boarded up. When I was 18 or 19 I used to compete in motorcycle trials up at nearby Horncliffe Quarry and when I passed the house I would always look at it with longing!


All things considered then Horncliffe Mansion is a very strange place with buckets of extra added mystery!


Below is a selection of the photographs we took in and around Horncliffe Mansion.

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It was quite a shock to drive past and see this magnificent building all boarded up.

As you walk up the side drive the first thing to hit you is the appalling state of the grounds with rubbish everywhere.

The boarded windows don't begin to hint at the decay inside.

This was clearly a big wig's gaff!
A coat of arms for someone as yet unidentified.
The ornamental pond is full of building debris.

This modern conservatory on the side of the house is not fairing well.

There has not been much rampant chavvery yet but sadly it will happen sooner not later.

The main hall.


H.H.M. But what does it stand for? It's probably "Henry Hardman mansion or manor.


The house's name is etched into the glass over the front door.


Was the double H purely an artistic device? We think not.


The ornamental fireplace in the hall has been removed.
Elaborate embellishments within the hall.
An interesting blend of styles!
Ornamented column heads.


Penetrating damp is bringing down the ceilings everywhere within the building.

This was once an ornate built in bookcase in the reading room. Now it is a wet, rotten mess.

This lamp shade is art deco in style.

Another ground floor room in an advanced state of decay.


We are heading back towards the main staircase from the kitchens now.

French windows open into the conservatory.


This was where I found the document which hinted at a change of use to an old people's home.

Leaving the main hall now and ascending to the first floor.

The staircase continues the magnificence of the hall.
Note the ceiling decor...
Painted panels show cherubs.

This must have looked amazing once upon a time - and it still could if the decay is arrested NOW!

The wonderful stained glass skylight.

The bedrooms open off this corridor.

Through the glass darkly...
Looking into the gardens from one of the bedrooms.
The secondary staircase.
Stair porn... whoop whoop!
Wine racks in the cellars...
Breaking out or breaking in?
The function room is not doing too well either!
This is all rather Jerry built frankly.
The Jaguar dump.

The forlorn cherub looks over the valley towards The Tor.

One final picture before we leave!

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