Extract from Discovering Old Huddersfield (1993-2002) by Gordon & Enid Minter:
Soon after the ravine may be seen, on the left, the gateway and tree lined avenue leading to Woodsome Hall. This is not the best view of the Hall but it is the nearest we come to it on the tour. The avenue was probable laid out as a new entrance in the 1820s when Woodsome Lane was built.
The first recorded owners of Woodsome were the Notions, about whom little is known. In 1236 the estate passed to the Tyas family and remained in their possession until 1370 when it was transferred to Sir William Fynchenden. After his death his widow granted the manor of Woodsome and Farnley Tyas to her son-in-law, John Cay, and the estate remained in the hands of the Kaye family for the next three hundred and fifty years.
Some of the fabric of the building is the work of Arthur Kaye, his son, John, and his grandson, Robert, carried out in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. However, there is no doubt that the work done at that time was not new building but rather alterations and additions to a house which already existed. This was a fine timber framed structure which consisted of a hall, probably open to the roof, a kitchen and a number of chambers and parlours. This house still survives at the core of today's building for the fashion in the sixteenth century was for already existing houses to be clad in stone rather than for demolition and rebuilding. The old house was moated and had a drawbridge over the moat but all traces of these features have now disappeared.
Over the years new generations of Kayes worked hard at building up their estates in Farnley Tyas, Slaithwaite, Lingards and Denby as well as extending and altering their ancestral home. The first baronet was Sir John Kaye, created in 1641, whose loyalty to the Crown during the Civil War resulted in him having to pay £500 to Parliament for the redemption of his estates. In 1726, Sir Arthur Kaye, the last of the family in the direct male line, died. His daughter and heiress. Elizabeth, had married Viscount Lewisham, eldest son of the Earl of Dartmouth and so the estate passed into the hands of the Dartmouth family who used the hall infrequently as a country seat or dower house. The last members of the family to live at Woodsome were the Ladies Frances, Georgiana and Elizabeth Legge, daughters of the 5th Earl of Dartmouth, who left, reluctantly it is said, in 1910. In 1911 the estate was let to Woodsome Golf Club who subsequently purchased the property and who have done much to preserve both hall and parkland.
Extremely fine hall house, with additions, now golf club house. Built in stages for four generations of the Kaye family, Arthur, John I, Robert and John II between the early C16 and the mid C17. Ashlar stone slate roof.Two storeys.The main range containing the hall faces east, and overlooks the terrace. To the right and rear are 2 later blocks one being L-shaped. To the rear left is another L-shaped range enclosing the courtyard at the rear of the hall. Details include double hollow chamfered windows, hollow chamfered gable copings on moulded kneelers, pointed finials, projecting chimney breasts with ashlar stacks with moulded caps, and lead guttering, fall pipes and rainwater heads, many with the motif of a finch and one is dated 1774.
The hall range has a gabled wing to each side and a 2-storey gabled porch. 10-light hall window with transom, and cross window to each side. 8-light window with transom to 1st floor of porch and 1st floor of each gabled wing. Moulded door surround with imposts and moulded Tudor arched lintel dated 1600. The inner doorway is similar with early oak door. The later wing to the right, projects for 2 bays and has 2-light windows. A further addition at 90° to this. To the rear, right of the hall range, and at 90°, is a 3-gabled 2½ storey range, whose main facade looks into the courtyard. The left two gables are symmetrical with central Tudor arched doorway and 5-light window to each side. Above these, to 1st floor are two 10-light windows with transom and a central cross-window lighting a fine 1st floor chamber with very fine plaster frieze with alternate motifs of affronted wyverns, and a merman holding hands with mermaid to each side. Also, in the centre, the Kaye arms. To the rear of this block,external stack to each of the 3 gables, with paired diagonal ashlar stacks. The south range, to the rear left of the hall range, is mainly altered. This range is now entirely of stone but straight joints suggest that the upper floor may once have been of another material. The west range has square cut windows to the west, but the courtyard side of this range has a colonade of short Tuscan columns which may be early C17. The courtyard has a round pond with fountain dated 1857. Early oak door from courtyard into south range.
Interior: The hall range has through passage to courtyard with hall on right. The hall is open with timber posts with arched braces which can still be seen. The broad fireplace, backing onto the passage, has moulded surround and stone seats. Stone corbels support a massive bressumer whose front is carved with raised letters: ARTHUR KAY BIATRIX KAY with a Tudor rose and a fleur-de-lys as stops and a central Kaye shield. Oak panelling. Gallery to rear with turned balusters and elaborately carved frieze. Carved oak clock dated 1652. Two windows at high level from a ladies' chamber. The parlour to right is oak panelled and has elaborately plastered beam soffits with vines and grapes. Several good fireplaces. Open oak staircase to rear with turned balusters, and in this area further evidence of timber posting.
The paved terrace has tapering, fluted balusters with stone rail and ball finials and has small flight of stone steps.
The first recorded dweller at Woodsome is thought to be Gilbert de Notton, 1236. The Tyas family lived there until 1370, when the manor was granted to Sir William Finchenden, (the finch motif comes from this family). The Kayes occupied Woodsome from 1378 to 1726 when Sir Arthur Kaye died. His daughter married George Legge, Viscount Lewisham eldest son of the Earl of Dartmouth. This family occupied the house until 1911.