Dives House, Wakefield Road, Dalton
Reportedly the site of the farmstead of Thomas Dives of Dalton in the early 1300s, parts of the property which are shown in archive photographs dated from Elizabethan times.
Following the purchase of the Ramsden Estate by Huddersfield Corporation in 1921, the surrounding land was used for terraced housing and Dives House and its adjoining barn fell into a state of disrepair. By the early 1950s, the barn was being used by the Tolson Museum to house "a collection of agricultural equipment and machinery" but a violent storm in December 1954 severely damaged the barn's roof. The buildings were finally demolished in October 1957. The barn was partially re-erected at Shibden Hall, Halifax, only to be destroyed by a fire.
According to Haunted Huddersfield, the property was known locally as "The Old Bogard" — a bogard or boggart being a local word for a malevolent ghost occupying a specific location. Reports of mysterious footsteps and the "apparition of a tall lady wearing a black dress and white apron" are noted, with "such disturbances ... [being] at their strongest on 15 November."
Discovering Old Huddersfield
Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
Soon after turning into Wakefield Road notice (if traffic conditions allow) a metalled path at the end of the row of shops on the right. This was once the entrance road to Dives House, an old farmstead which was demolished in 1957. The house and its ancient barn can be traced back to the sixteenth century and it seems likely that it stood on the site of a medieval building as the name is thought to originate with Thomas Dives who was living in Dalton in the fourteenth century. As with most old houses there were several legends attached to Dives House including ghostly apparitions, unexplained noises and the murder there of a Catholic priest. It was also firmly believed that Cromwell's soldiers used the barn as an overnight billet.
After passing through the hands of several local families, Dives House was purchased by Sir John William Ramsden in 1878 and it became the property of the local authority when the Corporation bought the Ramsden estate in 1921. Thereafter, the house was partitioned into three dwellings, the lands were sold to developers and by the end of the 1930s Dives House was surrounded on all sides by modern houses. In 1950 the barn became an offshoot of the Tolson Museum when it was used to display old agricultural equipment.
Four years later, as a result of storm damage, the barn became unsafe and was closed to the public. At that time there was little local interest in conserving historic buildings and when, in November 1955, the Council met to consider the future of the barn the consensus was for demolition; only six of the sixty members present voted for retention and repairs. A reprieve was offered by the Halifax Museum Services when they sought and received permission to carefully dismantle the barn and re-site it at Shibden Hall Park. Unfortunately, soon after it was re-erected it was destroyed by fire.
The house itself, despite its age, received no special consideration and it was demolished at the same time as the barn. Today, the site of Dives House is a rough, open space occupied by some thirty garages in various states of repair and the only small reminder that this was once an occupation-site are two short sections of the old boundary wall, a few worked stones used as copings on the wall and, inevitably, an abundance of nettles. If a dispossessed ghost roams the site we have never seen it.
- "Dives House, Dalton" by David Eastwood in Old West Riding: A Collection of Original Articles (Spring 1984)
- The Legends and Traditions of Huddersfield and Its District (1940s) by Philip Ahier
Notes and References
- "Dives House, Dalton" by David Eastwood in Old West Riding: A Collection of Original Articles (Spring 1984).
- "Dives House: A Tailpiece" by Clifford Stephenson in Old West Riding: A Collection of Original Articles (Winter 1984). Stephenson notes that the cost of restoring Dives House, along with the fact it was now situated within a housing estate, meant their was little interest in saving the property.