Whitley Hall, Whitley Beaumont Estate, Whitley Upper
- also known as: Whitley Beaumont Hall
- location: Whitley Beaumont, Whitley Upper
- status: no longer exists
- category: hall
Former seat of the Beaumont family, the earliest documented hall was erected by Sir Richard Beaumont in the 17th century. It was rebuilt in the Georgian style in the 18th century with gardens landscaped by Capability Brown.
By the early 1900s, the property stood empty and, following the death of Henry Frederick Beaumont in 1913, internal fittings were auctioned in 1916 and 1917, including an oak Elizabethan mantelpiece dated 1600 which was sold for 360 guineas.
In August 1924, it was announced that the empty hall was to be demolished to allow the coal seams underneath to be mined. However, it was instead purchased by industrialist Charles Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe allowed local scouts to make use of the estate from the late 1920s onwards and they continue to maintain a camp site. During the 1930s and 1940s, he allowed army training to take place on the estate. Following his death in 1948, the estate was auctioned on 6 October 1950:
Near Mirfield, the finely timbered WHITLEY HALL ESTATE.
462 acres, comprising:—
WHITLEY BEAUMONT HALL, an impressive mansion, containing a wealth of lead, seasoned timber and building materials. Eligible for demolition or renovation for an institution, with five reception rooms, 30 bedrooms, and domestic quarters.
GREGORY FARM, an attractive dairy farm, 88 acres (let).
WHITE FLATTS SMALL HOLDING, of 34 acres, let on a 360 day grazing tenancy.
CROFT SIDE FARM, a compact small holding, 3½ acres (let).
THE PARK, WHITLEY HALL, 98 acres, part let on a grazing tenancy.
RODS COTTAGE (let) and 4½ acres.
PAIR OF COTTAGES, at the Kennels (let).
Several valuable enclosures of ACCOMMODATION LAND on the roadside.
FOUR SEPARATE WOODLAND ARES, in all 112 acres, providing a wealth of good and matured hardwood.
For sale by auction, in 22 lots, at the Three Nuns Inn, Cooper Bridge, Mirfield, on Thursday, October 5, a 3 p.m.
The hall was demolished in the early 1950s and much of the estate was then used for open-cast mining.
Discovering Old Huddersfield
Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
Where Botany Lane levels out stop and look over to the left where may be seen the parkland of Whitley Beaumont Hall. Around the year 1200, William de Bellamont, the ancestor of the Beaumonts of Whitley, received ten oxgangs of land in Huddersfield from Roger de Lacy, Lord of the Honour of Pontefract, and by the fourteenth century the family was established here at Whitley and at Crosland Hall in the Mag Valley, near Netherton.
Doubtless, more than one house has stood on the site in Whitley Park but the only one of which there is any record was started by Sir Richard Beaumont who was born in 1574. Over the centuries various heads of the family made alterations and additions to the house which was described in the nineteenth century as an excellent example of an English manor house. Inside, the house was distinguished by many graceful rooms noted for their plasterwork, panelling, decorated ceilings and marble mantelpieces.
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the family endeavoured to build up and improve their estates in Lepton, Whitley, Dalton, Kirkheaton and Crosland. The last of the family to live at the Hall was Henry Frederick Beaumont who gave land for the laying out of Beaumont Park near Crosland Moor. By the early years of this century the house stood empty with many of its beautiful rooms dismantled and its grounds lapsing into wilderness. Like so many other landed families the Beaumonts found that the upkeep of their ancestral home was too expensive and so they moved out. Various schemes for the future of the house came to nothing and it was eventually demolished shortly after the Second World War when the area was given over to open-cast mining. After the mining the parkland was restored to something approaching its former glory. Unfortunately, an original deciduous wood was replaced by a plantation of spruce trees which, although they grow more quickly than our native broad leaf trees, are less pleasing to the eye. In early June, the hillside is bright with the flowering of that most common of parkland shrubs, the rhododendron and in their vicinity the remains of a walled garden may be made out.
Estate and Gardens
The Rev. Ismay gave the following description of his visit in 1760:
The situation of the house is indeed beautiful to the south, for there is a spacious lawn to the front, containing a Bowling Green with grass slopes, which yields a fine mountainous prospect. The house stands on an eminence and its beautiful situation is much improved by the works and ornaments of art. The gardens abound with avenues, a green house, walks and basons. The Terrace Walk to the Temple, Hermitage, flowering shrubs, serpentine walks and new road to the north are very beautiful.
Richard Henry Beaumont remodelled the estate between 1779 and 1784, after commissioning Lancelot "Capability" Brown to prepare the plans.
Notes and References
- "Sales by Auction: Whitley Beaumont" in Yorkshire Post (13/May/1916).
- "Sale of Old Mansion Fittings" in Huddersfield Daily Examiner (17/May/1917).
- "Whitley Beaumont to be Razed" in Yorkshire Evening Post (14/Aug/1924).
- "Sales by Auction" in Yorkshire Post (23/Sep/1950).
- Landscape Gardens in West Yorkshire 1680-1880 (1990) by George Sheeran, page 69.