Monthly Archives: October 2013

Towneley – an agricultural wonder – 1795

In 1795, Charles Townley (1737-1805) engaged Joseph Elkington (1739-1806) to improve the drainage at Towneley. Elkington was the first person in England to understand and apply modern geological principles to improve land drainage. In the year he came to Towneley, the House of Commons approved an expenditure of £1,000 to document his methods. Charles Townley was very pleased with the improvements made by Elkington and did all he could to publicize his work. Many people visited Towneley in the next few years just to look at the drainage including the Duke of Norfolk who visited in September 1798 and stayed overnight at Towneley Hall.


This drawing is based on a map drawn on tracing paper by Charles Towneley sometime around 1798. It is likely that he was tracing the field boundaries from an existing estate map. The broken straight lines appear to be the location of the Elkington drains.