At the foot of the Duddon Valley, the old market town of Broughton-in-Furness lies upon the southern boundary of the Lake District National Park. It is also close to the River Duddon and the hamlet of Foxfield. In the market square resides the original 1766 clock on the market hall with the Market Charter proclaimed annually from the market square. Most of Broughton is built upon a hill and the central obelisk in the town square was erected to mark the Jubilee of King George III in 1810. Broughton Tower, up an avenue from the market square, was once the home of the Broughton family. In fact, in the 15th century, Sir Thomas Broughton rashly threw in his lot with Lambert Simnel, an ambitious baker's son who had himself crowned King of England of Dublin. He was unable to live up to his claim after his defeat at the Battle of Stoke Field which involved the killing of Sir Thomas who had sided with the pretender. His possessions were seized in order to punish the Broughton family
The town apparently grew from the settlement established in the 11th century. Broughton is mentioned in the Domesday Book as one of 26 townships forming the Manor of Hougun. This land was held under Earl Tostig Godwinson, brother of the King Harold Godwinson and also the Earl of Wessex, Northumbria and Kent who was killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. The town grew up from a small fishing village into a bustling market town particularly for woollen and cattle trading. Most of the houses are from the Georgian era. The Tourist Information Centre is in fact located in the town hall which is surrounded by history (from merchant houses to old stocks used for punishments).
The parish church, St Mary Magdalene's Church is a once Norman church with more recent structural designs added to it. Some may say that the more modern designs spoil the church and the Norman archway. This alterations were added in the 16th and 19th century with the restoration being overseen by Paley and Austin in the period of 1873-1874.
Another historical and considered ancient site near Broughton-in-Furness is the Swinside Stone Circle which is hidden in the hills beyond the Duddon Bridge. The site is a prehistoric relic of an estimated 3500 years old. It is also known as Sunkenkirk and like many stone circles serves an unknown purpose. People have guessed it to be a place of worship, a place of sacrifice or an ancient way to chart the passage of time. Whatever its origin and purpose, the stones are masked in the missing parts of history.
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