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This Grade II listed country house was
built by John Fielden in 1869 for his
wife Ruth. John was a wealthy mill
owner, Ruth a poorly educated weaver.
When John proposed, Ruth said "build
me a castle and I'll marry you". And so
Todmorden Castle was built.
Ruth was sent to Switzerland during her marriage to John to help improve her
education and etiquette. However when she returned, Ruth no longer wanted a castle
and John built her a Swiss style chalet at the bottom of the hill. She became more
recluse and found it difficult dealing with daily life being the wife of such a prominent
figure, dedicating much of her time on charitable pursuits. She died in her chalet aged
50 and is buried in an unmarked grave at Todmorden Unitarian Church.
John and Ruth were not the only residents in the castle and grounds, there we five
maids, a footman, porter, groom, butler, coachman and gardener. John also adopted
two of his sisters children, Ernest, 9 and Constance, 7, following her, Ann's death in the
1870's. And also, John's second wife, Ellen.
Just 8 months after Ruth's death, John married his longtime friend Ellen Mallinson.
John was kicked by his horse in 1873, an accident which left him wheelchair bound.
He died at Todmorden Castle in 1885. Ellen continue to live at the castle until her
death in 1909.
After Ellen's death the castle was used for political rallies, Winston Churchill visited
here, and was eventually sold in 1942 and became a School for Boys. Accommodation
blocks were built for boys aged 15-18 sent here by the courts to learn skills such as
building and joinery. Graffiti is still on the walls left from previous residents.