The history of Broughton-in-Furness dates back to the 11th Century, with the oldest building thought to be St Mary's Church, first built in Saxon times. The focus of the town is the Georgian market square with its obelisk, erected to mark the jubilee of King George III in 1810. In Elizabethan times a charter was granted to hold fairs, and it is in the Square that the annual reading of the Charter takes place on 1st August.
Broughton was once an important market town, particularly for the woollen and cattle trades. Surviving from these days are the stocks for misbehavers, and the fish slabs nearby used to sell fish caught in the River Duddon. Most of the houses are Georgian, including those in the elegant Square, set out in 1760 by John Gilpin Sawrey, the Lord of the Manor, who lived at Broughton Tower, a large mansion just a short distance from the Square.
In the Square is the 'Town Hall', once the market hall, and now the Tourist Information Centre, two slate fish market slabs, and old stocks, which together with the surrounding three storey merchants houses and Town Hall, creates a unique feeling to this historic market town.