Calverley Old Hall

Calverley, West Yorkshire

Overview

Bookings will open to: Landmark Guardians on Tuesday 9 July (by phone), Patrons on Tuesday 16 July,  Friends on Tuesday 23 July, followed by everyone else on Saturday 27 July. Releases will take place online at 9am. 

The restoration of Calverley Old Hall is made possible with The National Lottery Heritage Fund. Thanks to National Lottery players, and a host of other supporters, we have been able to rescue and restore this Grade-1 listed building for future generations.

  • CotCot
  • Mobile signalMobile signal
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • Bath with ShowerBath with Shower
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave

Beds 2 Twin, 2 Double

Sleeps
8
4 nights from
£1375 equivalent to £42.97 per person, per night

Calverley Old Hall conjures the cavalcade of a millennium of history, now brought right up to date with an exciting reimagining of the building for the 21st century. A newly discovered Tudor painted chamber hides alongside new rooms that occupy ancient spaces in spectacular harmony.

This is a solidly romantic place to stay, fascinating to all interested in how life has evolved through the centuries, and how an ancient building changes to accommodate these changing patterns and preoccupations.

A new beginning

Landmark has been caring for this ancient manor house since 1981, when we acquired it to ensure that remained in single ownership after the north wing was gutted by fire. Since then, Landmarkers could stay only in the restored north wing. Fast forward four decades, and it was time for new look at the whole site, by now due for a major maintenance hit, but also, we felt, with so much more potential to unlock.

The new Landmark now includes the stunning Great Hall with its late-15th century hammerbeam roof, overlooked by a gallery that leads to a lovely upstairs sitting room.  There is no doubt that you find yourself in the 21st century: the building is heated by renewable energy and designed for full accessibility, with clean modern design. Yet you are clasped by the changing archaeology of a thousand years, in a Landmark to contemplate the future as well as the past.

Calverley

The Old Hall is located the historic heart of the village, in a conservation area. As Leeds and Bradford expanded, Calverley village also grew around its ancient seat, in which locals take great pride. Victorian terraces and 1950s housing mesh in the close-knit, friendly life of the neighbouring streets, with a corner café and local pubs. The cosmopolitan city of Leeds is close by (not to mention Headington and Eland Road for sports fans) and so too are the Yorkshire Moors. There are many wonderful places in the area to visit, including the Saltaire World Heritage Site, the Royal Armouries in Leeds and Kirskstall Abbey.

With thanks to The National Lottery Heritage Fund

National Lottery Heritage Fund logo

The National Lottery Heritage Fund is the largest funder for the UK’s heritage. Using money raised by National Lottery players it supports projects that connect people and communities to heritage. The Fund's vision is for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future. From historic buildings, our industrial legacy and the natural environment, to collections, traditions, stories and more. Heritage can be anything from the past that people value and want to pass on to future generations. The National Lottery Heritage Fund believes in the power of heritage to ignite the imagination, offer joy and inspiration, and to build pride in place and connection to the past.

We are thrilled that the transformation also has support from trusts and foundations, generous gifts in wills and a remarkable 2,005 further individual supporters.

Floor Plan

Map & local info

The Old Hall is located in Calverley conservation area; the historic heart of the village. As Leeds and Bradford have expanded, Calverley village has also grown. Today the Landmark is situated amid 1950s housing with the close-knit friendly life of the neighbouring streets, a corner shop and local pub. 

Calverley has the cosmopolitan city of Leeds close by, where you can visit the Royal Armouries and Temple Newsam, a Tudor-Jacobean house with beautiful grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. Roundhay Park and the Rodley Nature Reserve are lovely places for walks and to enjoy lots of outdoor activities.

In nearby Kirkstall you can get a glimpse of life in 19th century Leeds at the Abbey House Museum and explore the medieval Kirkstall Abbey and its rolling parklands. The Saltaire Village World Heritage Site also makes a fascinating day out, in this well preserved Victorian model village. The annual Saltaire Festival is staged here in September.

Drive about half an hour from Calverley to Keighley and take a trip on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway to visit the Bronte Parsonage Museum in the delightful, historic village of Haworth. Railway enthusiasts will also enjoy a visit to the Middleton Railway near Leeds, the world's oldest working railway.

Close by is the Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery (9.1 miles), Leeds City Museum (8.8 miles) and Henry Moore Institute (8.6 miles). For more information on things to do during your stay at Calverley Old Hall, please see our Pinterest page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • No.
  • The parking area is just off the main road along an up a track.  Once parked walk approximately 10 metres along a gravel garden parth.
  • Shipley – 3 miles
  • Yes, there are three parking spaces in the main parking area, approximately 10 metres from the property and further parking for one car by the community space.
  • There is underfloor heating and radiators powered by ground source heat pumps and 2 stoves that burn smokeless fuel.
  • Calverly Old Hall is in a Smoke Control Area or 'smokeless zone' that means only smokeless coals or anthracite can be burned in the fuel stove.

    Unfortunately, there is currently no arrangement for the purchase and delivery of fuel, however details of local sources will be provided with your order confirmation.

  • Mobile signal appears to be quite good with most networks delivering a minimum of 4G in many areas of the building. To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit signalchecker.co.uk.* Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, two dishwashers, two fridges, a freezer, two electric ovens, an eight ring halogen hob and a microwave.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, two dishwashers, two fridges, a freezer, two electric ovens, an eight ring halogen hob and a microwave.
  • There are a lot of changes of level within the landmark and a number of steps and stairs.  There is a lift that provides access to the kitchen, the ground and first floor.
  • There is a garden (not enclosed).
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
Facilities
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival. Except for the Llwyn Celyn Bunkhouse.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.
History

Traces of a 1320s first-floor hall

A family called Scot was living in Calverley from the 1160s, later taking the name of the place as their own. Around 1324, timber analysis shows they built a stone and timber-framed first floor hall with service rooms below and fine stone fireplaces on both floors. A solar (private quarters for the family) ran off at right angles to the west. This first-floor hall was enlarged around 1400, this time entirely in stone. New tie beams were inserted in the roof, with ornamental braces.

Documents and house together then tell a story of a steady climb in wealth and status as the Calverleys (the heirs all called William or Walter) added to their estates bit by bit and married into the leading families in the area. Many were knighted or served as magistrates and later as county sheriff. They never rose higher than that: they were county magnates, not national ones. Some stand out as individuals: Sir Walter, in the 1300s, was a vigorous improver, a pioneer of the iron industry.

A mighty hammer-beamed Great Hall

In the 1480s, a William Calverley married a wealthy Savile heiress and built the current enormous hammer-beamed Great Hall with a great stone fireplace. Its 30-foot span was made possible by the use of projecting hammerbeams, richly carved in the latest fashion. The original entrance was at the west end, where there was a cross passage between two doors, behind a screen and with a fine spere truss above. The first-floor hall now became part of the solar rooms. The chapel was built at the same time,  also a very rare survival. It has a private gallery for the family, entered from the solar (now the sitting room), a fine altar window (restored in the 1980s) and a miniature hammerbeam roof, very similar in its detailing to the great hall’s. A panelled oak ceiling is fitted over the two bays at the altar end. The chapel was first restored in the 1980s, reversing changes that had turned it into a cottage.

The Calverley wall paintings

More is known about the 16th Century Calverleys during the difficult years of the Reformation. Chief among them is another William (?1507-72), who was briefly imprisoned in the Tower of London for religious opposition in the 1530s. He learnt his lesson, and embraced Henry VIII’s Protestant regime. He was knighted in 1545 fighting in Scotland, and became Sheriff of Yorkshire in 1548-9. He also found time to produce 17 children with his two wives before his death. Sir William also upgraded his father’s Parlour Block, where in 2022 the painted chamber was discovered beneath plasterboard in a bedroom. Covered in tightly planned wall paintings of Renaissance grotesque-work, it is a room national significance. In the next generation, the Lodging Block was added (dated to the 1580s).

Tragedy and decline

Tragedy struck the family in April 1605, when Sir William’s grandson, Walter Calverley, ran amok, murdering his two small sons, William and Walter. He was executed for his crime by pressing to death. A play was written about this real-life Jacobean tragedy, A Yorkshire Tragedy. This was long attributed to Shakespeare but is now believed to be by Thomas Middleton. The surviving son, Henry, became a poignant figure, dogged by ill luck in youth and later burdened by a huge fine imposed by Parliament for being a Royalist. Read more about Calverley's Yorkshire Tragedy here.

The story of the Calverleys ends on a happier note. Sir Walter Calverley (1629-91) was the last of his family to have much to do with the Old Hall, though he chose not live there but in the new mansion he built nearby at Esholt, having married heiress Frances Thompson. His son, Sir Walter, 1st Baronet, married Elizabeth Orde Blackett of Wallington in Northumberland, and their son left Yorkshire altogether to live at Wallington.

The cottage years

Calverley Old Hall_cottages.jpg

Calverley Old Hall in 1902, by now divided into many cottages.

In 1754 the Calverley estate was sold to the Thornhills, another local family, and the Old Hall was divided into cottages, including the chapel and the vast volumes of the Great Hall and Solar Block. Many generations of cloth workers, labourers, cobblers and others lived on the site. Barns and stables which stood around it gradually disappeared as cottage gardens and orchards were replaced by streets and houses. But the cottage tenants had no reason to make major alterations, so the shell of the medieval house remained intact, a rare and complete survival. A remarkable aspect of this phase that came to light during the 2020s restoration was hundreds of everyday objects and fragments concealed by the cottagers in the walls of the Old Hall. We can only assume that these were in the tradition of good luck charms. After study and cataloguing, they have all been returned to the building.

For a short history of Calverley Old Hall please click here.

Restoration

Acquired to keep in single ownership

The Landmark Trust has owned Calverley Old Hall since 1981, when it was for sale in three separate lots. It had long been divided into cottages, but under a single landlord, the Thornhill Estate.

As Calverley Old Hall is such a large grouping in several units, its restoration was always planned to be carried out in several phases. In 1982-4, a Landmark let was formed from the two fire-damaged cottages at the north end. This Landmark was enjoyed by thousands from 1983-2020.  The Chapel, Solar and Great Hall were also cleared and partially restored in the 1980s, then kept wind- and weathertight by Landmark while their future use was decided, not a simple decision for such a large and important group of buildings.

 

 

Forty years on, a brand new Landmark

The last cottage was vacated in 2010 and maintenance need had now built up, requiring major expenditure. Landmark decided it was time to bring the whole site back into use. In 2017, an open architectural competition was held with a brief to turn the Great Hall and Solar blocks into a new, larger Landmark. The Lodging Block, where the former holiday let was, became a community space on the ground floor and a one-bedroomed residential flat on the first floor. From the outset, we also looked for renewable energy use and sustainability, as well as full accessibility compliance. The competition was won by Cowper Griffiths Architects of Cambridge.

Work began in 2021 during the Covid pandemic, when thanks to the Cultural Recovery Fund, we were able to begin by re-roofing the Great Hall and Solar even though we had not yet met our appeal target. Under a canopy all the stone tiles were removed and re-bedded, the process yielding a great deal of archaeological information about the building’s evolution. The goods news of an enabling grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund meant we were then able to move straight onto the internals works, undertaken by local firm Dobson’s Construction Ltd of Ilkley.

A sustainable restoration

Six deep bore holes were drilled in the grounds for ground source heating, and this now feeds underfloor heating. The highest standards of sustainability were observed throughout the works, re-using salvaged fabric whenever possible, and using traditional materials even down to the sheep’s wool insulation of the Great Hall roof. The exterior stonework was meticulously repointed inside and out in lime mortar by masons who took great care to match mortar colour and pointing style. The last remnants of the cottage phase were cleared and the floor was reinstated in the Solar Block. Stairs and a new mezzanine level  gallery were created in the entrance area, where the medieval screens passage once stood. The gallery echoes a landing leading to the earliest 1320s first-floor hall.  

Secret items and astonishing discoveries

Throughout the works, hundreds of concealed objects were found in walls and openings, in places they could not have got to by accident: shoes, eggs, metal objects, plaster fragments, bobbins, scraps of clothing and many more. These were all carefully saved and studied and are now stored in the building in archive boxes. Humble objects in themselves, they are assumed to be charms against bad luck and tell a tale of enduring local folk superstition, another remarkable aspect of the story of Calverley Old Hall.

The ground floor of the Solar Block (originally service rooms) has become two bedrooms and bathrooms (one suite fully accessible), with a further ground floor  bedroom and bathroom in the 16th-century Parlour Block, which has an original moulded ceiling. The airy upstairs sitting room in the Solar Block can be reached either by the stairs or a newly installed platform lift. The original entrance from Solar to Chapel has been re-opened, so that you can now step out onto the Chapel gallery just as the Calverleys did, its floor newly restored.

A (later) doorway into the upper floor of the Parlour Block, which holds the painted chamber, was also re-opened, allowing access to the chamber direct from the sitting room. This astonishing find after work had already started required us to re-think our scheme. We were determined that the paintings should be fully revealed and enjoyed, and use as a bedroom seemed the most appropriate given that light levels must be kept low. A sophisticated environmental monitoring system has been installed to manage heat and humidity levels, and a lobby created between it and an en suite bathroom for the same reason. The wall paintings have been sensitively cleaned and consolidated where there was decaying plaster by Opus Conservation. Covered by panelling soon after its creation, the scheme is in astonishingly good condition.

Community events and engagement

Throughout the restoration works, Landmark’s Engagement team carried out a lively programme of visits, activities and workshops for the wider community. Some of the results of these can be seen in the community space, and also the stone sculpture and community garden created in the grounds.

Calverley Old Hall has been altered many times over the centuries. It has now entered a new phase of existence, one that suits life in the 21st century while still respecting the site’s long history and ancient fabric.

 

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