Dobroyd Castle, Todmorden

In 1865, John Fielden's uncle Thomas bought the Stones Estate and sold it to his nephew. John then proceeded with his plans to build Dobroyd Castle for his wife, Ruth.

Between 1865-1869, John Gibson built an ornate mansion at Dobroyd with 4 small turrets and a main tower, The building was to

immortalise the name of Fielden

and would be

the most commanding object in the neighbourhood

In May 1866, the first sod was turned. On 11th October 1866, the corner-stone was laid by Mrs Fielden. On 9th May 1868, there was a rearing dinner. On 10th July 1869, over 300 people went by special train to attend a workmen's rearing dinner held at the Lake Hotel, Hollingworth Lake.

The Fieldens moved in on 1st July 1869. The total cost of construction was £71,589.

The Castle originally had 66 rooms and stables for 17 horses. It was 223 ft long by 90 ft wide. The height of the flag tower from the floor line was 82 ft. The top of the main tower was 27 ft square.

There are many carvings and stained glass depicting the cotton industry and the life of John Fielden. The JR monogram – for John and Ruth – is incorporated into the interior décor. The columns are of Devonshire marble.

A version of the marble sculpture – The Flight from Pompeii – by the Italian sculptor Giovanni Maria Benzoni [1809-1873] stood on the grand staircase at the Castle. It was later moved to Todmorden Town Hall.

The staircase is decorated with scenes depicting the processes involved in the manufacture of cotton. One of these shows a slave master with his whip.

On 28th July 1888, between 8,000 and 10,000 Conservatives from Middleton and Sowerby parliamentary divisions, walked in processing from Todmorden Town Hall to attend a picnic at the Castle.

After John's death, his second wife, Ellen, lived the rest of her life at the castle.

In 1942, the building was sold for £10,000.

There are three standing stones behind the castle.

During World War II, the building was used as a Home Office approved school where young men – aged between 15 and 18 – were sent by the courts to learn skills such as building and carpentry. The school closed in September 1979. It reopened 3 months later as a private school for boys with emotional and behavioural problems.

In 1995, the Castle was bought by monks from the New Kadampa Buddhist Tradition for £320,000 and the Losang Dragpa Buddhist College and Meditation Centre was established. They left in August 2007.

In June 2008, Robinwood Activity Centres announced plans to turn the Castle into a children's activity centre.

The farm stands to the west of the Castle.

Click here to read Alan Thomas's memories of Dobroyd Castle

See James Fielden, William Hubbard and Pighill, Walsden

© Malcolm Bull 2022
Revised 17:58 / 4th December 2022 / 5897

Page Ref: MMD44

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