Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
Just past the entrance to Woodsome Hall stop and look over to Fenay Hall on the right. Although the Fenays of Fenay have been extinct in the male line since 1710 the blood of this ancient family (although diluted) must flow in the veins of many local people, through the Fenay daughters marrying into several local families over the generations. The first reference to the family is found in an undated deed issued some time between 1199 and 1216. From that time the name is found in numerous deeds, in the Poll Tax of 1379 and in various manorial inquisitions, showing that the Fenays continued for four hundred years in the same parish, living on the family land and taking their place among the local gentry.
The builder of the oldest part of the present Fenay Hall was Nicholas Fenay who built in the timber and plaster style of the Tudor Age. This low wing is easily distinguished, even at this distance, from the later buildings. The old house continued as the home of the Fenays until about the time of the Civil War when they appear to have left it in the occupation of tenants.The last male heir of the Fenays was another Nicholas who died in 1710. He left the estate to his only surviving child, Jane. Jane Fenay's story is a sad one. She had, at the age of twenty-three, become engaged to be married. On the eve of the wedding her betrothed fell into a well near the White Bear Inn at Wakefield and was drowned. Later, Jane, a substantial heiress, received several offers of marriage none of which she accepted. When she died in 1776 she left the Fenay property to her kinsman, Richard Thornton, who directed in his will that it should be sold for the benefit of his two natural children. This was done in 1792 when the North family, who had been tenants at Fenay Hall for fifty years, bought the house and land. The estate soon passed, through marriage, to the Batty family who added new wings to the house and who remained at Fenay until the mid nineteenth century.
FENNY LANE (South Side). Almondbury. Fenny Hall. 1605, 1617, 1660, 1792, early to mid C19, and mid to late C19. Entrance is in early to mid C19 part. Hammer-dressed stone. Hipped stone slate roof. 2 storeys. Moulded eaves cornice. Continuous sill bands. 5 ranges of sashes, central 3 in wide canted bay. Door with moulded panels and fanlight, in moulded frame with fluted frieze and pediment up flight of steps with mid C19 cast iron railings. To west of this is the 1660 range, refronted with stucco in 1792 (parapet inscribed "B N 1792"): gabled with 2 storeys at west end, tripartite stone mullioned sash on 1st floor, French casements with marginal glazing bars on ground floor, side lights and fanlight, verandah on elaborate mid C19 cast iron piers. The mid to late C19 part to east and north-east is of no special interest. Courtyard at rear entered through a gateway (probably late C17) with rusticated ashlar jambs and a crude semi-circular trophy above, inscribed "W F INTRET FIDES". Excluding the mid to late C19 wing (which appears to make use of re-used sashes with glazing bars on ground floor, and re-used bargeboards on 1st floor), there are 4 gables. The 2 to east are timber-framed and probably date from 1605 (or earlier). Their ground floor is masked by a stone lean-to extension (C17 or early C18) with 2 C18 tripartite sashes with glazing bars set in partly chamfered reveals; and door with depressed arched head and chamfered reveals, leading to porch in antis with flanking benches and studded planked door. Both gables have bressummers with foliage moulding on east one, vine moulding on west one. Elaborate cut barge-boards and moulded finials. Both have oblong bay windows with casements and leaded quarries below the bressummers. East one has console-shaped brackets to bressummer and short studs connecting it to a subsidiary tie-beam: the spaces between the timbers are filled with black and white abstract patterns. Above the tie-beam (and above the bressummer on the west one) the studs run parallel to the rafters. On the west gable the studs run perpendicular to the rafters below bressummer. West bressummer inscribed "N F". The 2 gables further west are presumably of 1660, project forward and are built of hammer-dressed. The eastern one is masked by a parapet, has one range of sashes with glazing bars and an C18 lead down pipe diagonally across it, with a gadrooned rainwaterhead in the re-entrant angle. The west one has one bipartite window with glazing bars on 1st floor, one 6-light stone mullioned window with hollow chamfered surround on ground floor, and one late C19 window. Both of these 2 gables have stone finials. Interior: Drawing room of 1660 appears to be cruck-framed. Modillion cornice runs all way round skirting cruck blades. C20 panelling, but above fireplace is an achievement of arms dated 1660. Fine contemporary plaster ceiling with large star-shaped moulding. Butler's room has early C18 panelling and timber- framed wall above is taken on monolithic Tuscan columns.