Farnley Hall

There has been a building on this site for almost a thousand years. Farnley was originally heavily wooded and in the medieval period a hunting park was created complete with ditch, paling and entrance gates. This area is today recalled in the name Park Spring. It was a small enclosure capable of supporting around 70 deer. Between 1486 and 1517 another 100 acres of former agricultural land, located near the hall, was enclosed to improve the hunting.

West Riding of Yorkshire, John Speed (1610) Showing Farnley Hall Palings

Farnley Hall with the paling of the hunting park from
West Riding of Yorkshire, John Speed (1610)

By the mid-fifteenth century Farnley Hall was the home of Sir James Langton the younger who failed to produce a male heir. He successfully negotiated a marriage settlement with Sir Robert Danby of Thorpe Perrow (d.1474), so that his daughter, Agnes Langton, could marry James Danby. This brought the Farnley estate into possession of the Danby family who retained it until 1800.

The first accurate information we have about the Hall is that it was rebuilt in 1586 by their eldest child, Sir Thomas Danby (1530-1590), High Sheriff of Yorkshire and J.P. for the North Riding. It was the largest residence in the parish of Leeds with 19 hearths. The current hall is built on the cellars of his mansion. He mined coal and produced iron in Farnley.

Sir Thomas Danby was extremely proud of his new mansion and had an elaborately carved plaque in Huddleston limestone placed on the south wall of the building to celebrate his achievement. Two stone shields were set either side which contained the Danby coat of arms and those of the families they were related to. These survive today. The two, redrawn here by Peter Brears, can still be seen above the entrance to the cellars and the other shield is now visible on the exterior west wall.

Sketch of Farnley Hall

The south prospect of Farnley Hall based on Samuel Buck’s sketch of around 1720

The position of the shield, in blue, and the plaque, in red, are indicated by the coloured boxes on the sketch.

Danby Coat of Arms


Previous . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . Next