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Thorpe Hall

From Rothwell Wiki

Thorpe Hall (also spelt as 'Thorp Hall' and referred to as 'Thorpe Hall Farm') is a listed 18th century building that was the seat of Thorpe-on-the-Hill's local gentry, notably the Gascoigne and Proctor families. While the rainwater heads date the building at 1735, the hall incorporated a late-medieval timber framed wing. Once boasting "exceptionally fine decoration", it now stands derelict.

The building is privately owned but vacant due to its "very bad" state, including a collapsed ceiling in one of the rooms. It is a priority A listed building meaning that there is an immediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric and no solution on its future has been agreed.


Pre-18th Century

According to Giles, Thorpe Hall incorporates the late medieval timber framed wing of a previous building,[1] which can be seen in the "rear wall of service wing [where there is] part of a timber wall-post, wall-plate and brace of an earlier building".[2] While, Banks estimates that some of the interior walls could date to the 16th century when the Gascoigne family were living in Thorpe on the Hill, however his methodology for this date is unclear.[3]

18th Century

Thorpe Hall's rainwater heads with the MP initials and 1735 date on them.
The rainwater heads with the MP initials and 1735 date. By kind permission of Leeds Libraries,

Thorpe Hall (or the building previously on the site) was passed from Francis Proctor to his son, Metcalfe Proctor, on his death around 1721-22.[3] Metcalfe Proctor's and, his wife, Martha (Disney) Proctor's initials appear on the rainwater heads marked 1735[3]. Ownership of the house before Francis Proctor is unclear. Complicating the matter is the existence of Newhall in Middleton, another country house, which some of the Gascoigne family, notably scientist and inventor William Gascoigne, stayed at.[4] The Gascoigne family's descendants would later be the Proctor family[5], and thus it is not unreasonable, but also not substantiated with any evidence, that the original building had been used by some members of the Gascoigne, and later, Proctor families and then renovated by Metcalfe and Martha Proctor. Historians Roberts and Banks both seem to suggest that this was the case.

Roberts traces the property from Metcalfe Proctor to his son-in-law Ralph Hanson, Esq. and daughter Martha (Proctor) Hanson. It then passes to their daughter, Catherine, and son-in-law, Benjamin Dealtry, Esq.[5]

19th Century

An illustration of Thorpe Hall from the 19th Century.
An illustration of Thorpe Hall likely in the 19th Century from George Roberts' book.[footnotes 1]

The country house had been let to William Fenton, Esq., of the collieries,[5], who brought up his nephews at Thorpe Hall.[6] Fenton died in 1837, and who's funeral procession went down the avenue of Thorpe Hall.[5]

In 1871, Thorpe Hall, along with Lofthouse Hall, made up part of the Dealtry estate. The occupier of Thorpe Hall was Benjamin Scarth.[3] Scarth was a landowner/farmer of 170 acres and employed 2 labourers. He lived at Thorpe Hall with his wife, Ann, sons, William and Samuel, and daughter, Ada. Several of the Scarth's staff also lived at Thrope Hall, including Margaret Hindell, the governess; Susannah Newton, the cook; Elizabeth Illingworth, the housemaid; Sarah Illingworth, the nursemaid; and Mark Copley, the groom.[7]

In 1882, Thorpe Hall was still part of the Dealtry estate.[5]

20th Century

In the 1911 Census, Thorpe Hall was occupied by William Armitage, quarry owner, and a 1917 Trade Directory lists the occupier as William Boyle, farmer.[8][unreliable source?]

Thorpe Hall became a listed building on the 5th of June 1964.[9]

In July 1978, Colum Giles and Philip Swan visited Thorpe Hall for the RCHME's Rural Houses survey. By the time of their visit, the house was no longer in use and was used for storage. The report and photos from their visit are at the West Yorkshire Historic Environment Record.[2] The country house featured in Giles' 1986 book "Rural houses of West Yorkshire, 1400-1830". [1]

21st Century

Thorpe Hall is, according to Historic England, in a "very bad" state, and a priority A listed building meaning that there is "[i]mmediate risk of further rapid deterioration or loss of fabric" and no solution on its future has been agreed. The building has some broken windows and failed gutters. In one room, the ceiling has collapsed. There are also holes in the roof.[10]

Leeds City Council's Unitary Development Plan proposed that the land be allocated for office use. [10] The building is currently part of Thorpe Hall Farm. [11][unreliable source?]


Due to the technical language, links have been provided to definitions.

A black and white image of the exterior of Thorpe Hall, already in a derelict condition.
Exterior of Thorpe Hall.[1]
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

The building is built of red brick with sandstone dressing, which are rendered at the ground floor. It is a symmetrical three storey building, with five bays, in the Classical style.[2]

The hipped roof is made of slate and the chimneys are behind the ridge. There are moulded gutter brackets and lead downspouts, with decorated rainwater heads, on the both sides and rear walls. There are long-and-short quoins and a band across the first floor.[2]

The central doorway has a moulded architrave, which has scrolled consoles under a pediment. On the left wall, in the third bay, is a doorway, with a moulded architrave and pediment.[2]

The windows on the ground and first floor are vertical with moulded architraves, while those on the second are square. The windows on the ground floor are altered and the heads blocked, the windows on the first floor are 12-pane sashes, while the windows on the second floor are blocked. The left wall windows have plain surrounds and are mostly blocked. The right wall windows are similar but has a Venetian stairlight in the first floor in the third bay, and some of the right wall windows have thick glazing bars. The side wall of the service wing has sashed windows with original glazing bars (with four windows at ground floor, and three above).[2]


The floor plan of Thorpe Hall, with the east rooms labelled R and H and the west rooms labelled P and K.
Floorplan of Thorpe Hall.[1]
Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

The house is an L-shape, and is a double-pile house[2] meaning that there are two rows of rooms, with a corridor between the two. In Thorpe Hall, it divides the "best rooms" at the front of the house from the service rooms at the back of the house.[1]

The rooms on the ground floor at the front of the house (facing eastwards) are the hall and parlour, with the central doorway opening into the hall.[1] Both of the rooms are "lofty and of good size"[3] but are not the most impressive rooms in the house.[1]

An intact inglenook fireplace in the ruins of Wycoller Hall.
The inglenook fireplace in the ruins of Wycoller Hall, Pendle, Lancashire UK

The service rooms on the ground floor are at the back of the house with a kitchen, where there is a stone-arched inglenook fireplace, which has been altered to fit a more modern cooking range.[2] It is the rear wall of the service wing where "part of a timber wall-post, wall-plate and brace of" the late-medieval building can be seen.[2]

In the passage way between the front and rear of the house there is a "very fine dog-leg staircase with open string, scrolled brackets, two balusters per tread, ramped handrail, and wreathed curtail".[2]

The first floor chambers are the "most impressive rooms in the house", which are "richly decorated". [1]The decoration in the right-hand front room saloon is in the Classical style with "shouldered architraves to doors, [a] moulded fireplace with cornice on two consoles and [a] shouldered overmantel panel with broken pediment, other wall panels with egg-and-dart surrounds, [and] modillioned plaster cornice"[2] Also on the first floor are two panelled rooms in the rear of the house, which are partitioned by a double-layer panelling. The room on the left of the partion is decorated with "square bolection-moulded panels and fluted pilasters", while the one on the right is in the "Renaissance style of late-16th century or early-17th century with fluted pilasters, richly-moulded frieze, and dentilled cornice (both perhaps relocated)".[2] Panelling, which was formerly in two other rooms, was removed for storage or exhibition elsewhere.[2] Roberts notes how one of the rooms was "wainscotted with carved oak from Howley Hall",[5] in Batley, which was demolished between 1717 and 1730 after a slow deterioration.[12] The "magnificence of the chambers", which were "clearly impressive rooms", in Giles' view, redeems the "inadequacies" of the ground floor rooms.[1]


Thorpe Hall "occupies a commanding position", overlooking a great extent of Leeds and Wakefield, including Temple Newsam and Pontefract Park. The landscape changed much from the 18th century, into the 19th century when quarries and coal working dominated.[3] In the present day, it's view of the surrounding area is obscured by the M1.

An avenue of beech trees led up to the house,[3] possibly planted under the direction of William Gascoigne, but were removed sometime between 1871 and 1882.[5] Large trees that surrounded the hall were blown down in high wind a few years before 1882.[5]

In 1882, Roberts reported that there was an octagonal building in the grounds of Thorpe Hall. He suggests that it may have been an observatory - thus supporting the idea that William Gascoigne, and his family, may have owned and used Thorpe Hall, even if not to live in - and that it was used by the Proctor family as a summer house.[5] It was by that time, however, in ruins and no mention is made of it on the HER record of Giles' and Swan's visit.

External Links


  1. It is not clear who made the illustration. Roberts mentions that an illustration is found in Thoresby’s 'Ducatus', however none exists in Thoresby's edition, which was published 20 years prior to the date found on the rainwater heads. There may be such an illustration in T.D Whitaker's 1816 edition or it may be an illustration created by Roberts or for Roberts' book.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 Giles, C., 1986. Rural houses of West Yorkshire 1400-1830. London: HMSO. Avaliable at: <>
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 n.d. WYHER/11540. West Yorkshire Archive Service. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 28 August 2022].
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Banks, W., 1871. Walks in Yorkshire; Wakefield and its neighbourhood. London: Longmans, Green, Reader and Dyer. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 August 2022].
  4. Morton, J., 2022. Belle Isle blue plaque honours early astronomer. South Leeds Live, [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 August 2022].
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Roberts, G., 1882. Topography and natural history of Lofthouse and its neighbourhood. London: David Bogue. Available at" <>
  6. (Batty, 1877, p.193)
  7. (‘Benjamin Scarth’, 1871)
  8. n.d. Thorpe Hall, Middleton Lane. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 August 2022].
  9. n.d. THORPE HALL, Non Civil Parish - 1135039. Historic England. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 29 August 2022].
  10. 10.0 10.1 Historic England, 2021. Heritage at Risk Register 2021, North East & Yorkshire. London: Historic England.
  11. Slater, J., 2013. Thorpe Hall Farm. [online] Geograph Britain and Ireland. Available at: <> [Accessed 29 August 2022].
  12. Wikipedia contributors, n.d. Howley Hall - Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 30 August 2022].
  • ‘Benjamin Scarth’ (1871). Census return for Thorp Hall, Wakefield, Yorkshire [West Riding], Arsdley subdistrict. Public Record Office: PRO RG10/4630, folio 25, p.44 (1871). Available at: (Accessed: 6 April 2024).
  • Batty, J. (1877) The History of Rothwell. Rothwell: John Batty.
Buildings Carlton Carlton Hall Farmhouse
Lofthouse Pyemont House
Oulton The Nookin
Robin Hood NE Region Emergency Grid Control Centre
Rothwell Rothwell Castle, Rothwell Empire Cinema, Rothwell One Stop Area Office
Thorpe-on-the-Hill Thorpe Hall
Woodlesford Church of All Saints
Other Parks Rothwell Country Park
Miscellaneous Possible Roman settlement (Rothwell Haigh)
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