Updates from Calverley Old Hall

Follow the ambitious restoration

Community garden design updates

We are creating a brand-new community garden at Calverley Old Hall. We wanted to ensure that the garden becomes a real asset to the people who live nearby and is valued for years to come, so we invited our neighbours in and around Calverley to contribute ideas for the design of the space. 

Follow the progress so far

Lifts, ladders and the tale of the moving staircases

The past few months have seen some real progress at Calverley Old Hall. Read about some of our latest additions and find out why our staircase keeps moving.

Get the latest update

Progress in the painted chamber

One of the things that we are asked about the most on our open days is what is happening with the painted chamber. With initial work now starting in this area, read our latest update to find out more about how we are looking after these incredible paintings.

Find out more

Working at Calverley Old Hall

Hear from Ellie, one of the on-site team from Dobson Construction, in her blog telling us why working at Calverley Old Hall is so special.

Read Ellie's blog

Pressing on with work at Calverley

As work goes on behind the scenes to restore Calverley Old Hall, we've made huge progress on site in the last few months. We still have a way to go yet before completion, but the works are progressing well thanks to the hard work of our on-site team.

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‘Floored’ by progress in the solar

If you have been to Calverley in the past few months, you will have seen that the site has been a flurry of activity. However, it is the work that has been completed in recent weeks which is perhaps the most exciting yet; the installation of floors.

Whilst it may not seem like much, this is a huge step in our progress on site. The installation of a first floor in the solar is particularly special, as it allows us to experience a view of the site from the stunning mullion window which hasn’t been seen for many years.  

By adding the floor where it once was, the solar is given a completely different feel and you're able to imagine the space as it was originally intended; the private chambers on the upper floor, with the service space on the ground floor. There is also the ability to get up close to both the intricately carved timberwork and a small panel of original wattle and daub infill, a traditional technique which rarely survives in buildings of this age.

Weaving inspired by Calverley Old Hall

We recently ran a series of workshops in collaboration with weaver Agnis Smallwood, to design and produce a final woven textile artwork inspired by Calverley Old Hall. Over 100 people took part in our project to help us weave a series of six pieces which will be displayed in our community space once the restoration project is complete.

Find out more about the project in Agnis’ new blog

Apprentice Update December 2022

In June 2022, we hosted a six week Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) on site at Calverley, which resulted in two fully funded apprenticeship positions. The apprentices have been working with our onsite contractors Dobsons Construction since October.

Apprentice Samanta gave us a quick update on her progress so far: "In the time I’ve been here I’ve spent a total of 4 weeks in college and the rest of my time on site. I have learned a lot such as masonry repair and pointing at work, this has been on both stone work and brickwork. I have also gained knowledge in concreting, shuttering and underpinning. Furthermore, I have used other equipment such as a wacker plate and a laser level to get the right height on flooring and participated in a master class with Kevin Woods from Woods Build. I have also learnt different pointing mixes and applied this to my work."

Concealed finds revealed at Calverley Old Hall

Throughout the restoration of Calverley Old Hall, the number of objects emerging from the walls is surprising even the archaeologists. To date, we have found five distinct areas holding tens of objects, clearly deliberately placed.

Discover the archaeological finds

Installation of a sustainable ground-source heating system

As part of our efforts to make Calverley Old Hall more sustainable and environmentally friendly, we are installing a ground-source heat pump system. 

By extracting heat from the ground, ground source heat pumps can be used to heat appliances like radiators and underfloor heating systems within buildings. In essence, small, extremely deep boreholes of approximately 140 metres are drilled in six key areas of the site. They are then fitted with pipes which are used to gather the heat from the ground, which is then transferred via the pipes to heat the radiators and water within the building. Although the system still uses electricity, it is a much more environmentally friendly way of heating properties as an alternative to a traditional gas boiler. 

For more information about ground source heat pumps visit the Energy Saving Trust.

£1,600,000 Heritage Enterprise Grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund

We are delighted our ambitious project to transform Calverley Old Hall has been awarded £1,600,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, enabling the scheme to go ahead.

More about the award

Re-roofing phase enabled by the Culture Recovery Fund

Landmark secured a major grant in November 2021 from the Culture Recovery Fund Round 2 which enabled an early phase of work to repair and re-slate the solar and parlour block roofs. Designed to safeguard heritage and culture in the wake of the pandemic, this grant reduced the immediate risk of damage to the wall paintings and 14th century timber structure of the solar.

A ‘discovery of a lifetime'

The need to re-roof as soon as possible was brought into acute focus by a stunning discovery in 2021: an astonishingly well-preserved scheme of Tudor wall paintings, hidden beneath later lath and plaster. The paintings were discovered as the Landmark team were carrying out some routine investigation, removing small areas of plaster around the building to see whether the main joints of the great timber frame were still sound.  

As Landmark's Historian Caroline Stanford explains on seeing the extent of the decorative scheme: “Suddenly, we are transported from a dusty, dilapidated building into the rich and cultured world of the Tudor Calverleys, a well-educated family keen to display their learning and wealth by demonstrating their appreciation of Renaissance culture. The Calverley paintings are very carefully planned, in a vertical design that uses the timber studwork as a framework.”  Read Caroline’s reflections on the paintings and their historical context in full. We are enormously grateful to the trustees of the Elizabeth Cayzer Charitable Trust for generously and fully funding the painstaking conservation work to these astonishing wall paintings. 

The wall paintings were picked up by local and international media, with publications from the GuardianYorkshire Post,  BBC radio, Mail Online and Apollo magazine to USA Today championing the discovery.

Read director Anna Keay’s blog about the discovery


Under the scaffold: during the recent roofing works

Thanks to the Culture Recovery Fund, we brought forward essential repairs to the dilapidated roof. All of the stone roof tiles have been carefully removed. Those that were re-usable were sorted and stored, then replaced as close as possible to their original positions on the roof. Extensive repairs have been made to the roof timbers, which were installed in the 19th century but were salvaged from a much earlier 16th century structure. The repairs were undertaken by skilled craftsmen using traditional carpentry techniques.

Charming finds

In the process of repairing the roof, Dobsons found several curious objects and artefacts which are being carefully catalogued by our archaeologist, Jonathan Clarke of FAS Heritage. Two 19th century clogs have been found, one child’s size and one a little bigger. Both were beautifully crafted from leather with a wooden sole. Shoes were often built into houses as good luck charms. We will record the details of the shoes, photograph them, and then replace them where they were found, to continue offering their luck to all those who spend time in and around Calverley Old Hall.

Who is William..?

In the process of lifting, recording, and removing the stone pathway which led to the door of Calverley Old Hall, joiner Michael found this unusual lettering on the reverse of a slab half buried in the ground. It reads: 'William Waterhou… His My Name And… My hammai An…' Could this be a ‘William Waterhouse’? Is this a practice piece for William to learn the skill of chiselling? How and why did it end up being used as a border stone for the pathway? We don’t know much about it, and our local history research group found no one living at the Old Hall by this name in the 19th-century census returns that start in 1841. But several people with the name William Waterhouse lived in Calverley over the years. One William Waterhouse was baptized on 11 October 1601. There was also a William Waterhouse who married Sarah Swithenbank on 28 August 1769. They had 11 children, 9 girls and 2 boys, one of whom was also William Waterhouse. But we don’t know which William Waterhouse may have created the lettering, or even if it is ‘Waterhouse’, and how did it end up edging the path at the Old Hall?