Updates from Calverley Old Hall

Follow the ambitious restoration

£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 Cazyer 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 chiseling? 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?