Houses of Interest: Yorkshire

Update: now with added executions at Ripley and the tale of 'trooper Jane'

When I researched and wrote the Rupert travelogue entry for Yorkshire, and the entry for Adwalton Moor there were some great houses that I was unable to visit (namely because they were shut). I have slowly been plugging away at visiting and documenting them here on the blog.

Skipton Castle got it's own post, Knaresborough Castle was added to the Rupert Yorkshire post; which leaves Oakwell Hall. (And probably lots of others...)

Oakwell Hall gets the honour of kicking off the Yorkshire Houses of Interest entry. Oakwell was the inspiration for Charlotte Brontë's Fieldhead in "Shirley". More recently it has been used a number of times as a film set, including "Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell".


Located close to the M62 and the Leeds branch of purgatory on Earth (aka Ikea), this Tudor manor house is beautifully maintained by Kirklees Borough Council.

The hall is presented as a seventeenth century home. I really like this approach, as so often historic houses have different rooms decorated for different eras, so it is really nice to see a house presented from one era in it's entirety.


Oakwell was in the ownership of the Batt family, who supported the King, John Batt was a captain and most probably fought at Adwalton Moor. The retreating Parliamentarian troops passed along Warren Lane (adjacent to the house) after the battle.


After the Royalist defeat at Marston Moor, John Batt surrendered the house to Black Tom in order to keep his family safe. John paid a fine of £364 to reclaim the estate in 1649.

What's there today?
As I have already mentioned, the whole house is presented as a seventeenth century residence.


One room documents the whole history of the house and has some cannon balls and musket shot from Adwalton Moor on display.


Another room, has a number of period costumes for you to try on; it also shows the construction of the building off nicely.


A fine portrait of Newcastle hangs in one of the rooms.


There is a beautifully maintained  walled garden, and the remainder of the estate is laid out as a nature reserve with a number of trails.


Of course there is a tea room and shop.

The ECWS have assisted the Council with the Hall, and there are some civil war themed gates into the shop and function room courtyard: resplendent with helmets, swords and breastplates.

All Saints Church in Ripley (Harrogate way, not the one in Derbyshire) was used by the Parliamentarians as a billet for their soldiers who were pursuing fleeing Royalists from Marston Moor. A number were captured and executed against the walls of the church which still bears the scars of musket balls. Inside the Church they added graffiti  "no pompe nor pride let God be honoured" to the tomb of Sir William Ingilby (1546-1618).


Interestingly Sir William's children are both claimed to have fought at Marston Moor: Sir William (junior) was a Royalist cavalry officer, and his sister Jane is supposed to have disguised herself as a man wearing full armour in order to take the field.

After the Battle Sir William (jr.) hid in Ripley Castle's priest hole when Cromwell's men came looking for him; Jane invited Cromwell to stay the night on the understanding she could keep two loaded pistols at her side. Jane became known as 'trooper Jane'. Private guided tours of the castle are available.


Postcodes for SatNavs
Oakwell Hall WF17 9LG
All Saints Church, Main Street, Ripley HG3 3AD
Ripley Castle HG3 3AY

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