Bolton Library and Museum Services

Bower and Solar rooms

These two rooms were created in the early 1400s to provide private quarters for the Radcliffe family and accordingly have a more intimate, domestic feel than the grand and spacious medieval hall.

The Bower room


The bower, the lower room, was where the family normally ate and a place where they could talk between themselves or with their guests, away from servants and staff.

The Solar room at Smithills Hall


The name of the upper room, the solar, comes from ‘seul’ the French word for alone.

It was so named because it was a private space that was used for sleeping and also as a retiring room for the ladies when the lord needed to discuss issues of the estate in the bower room below.