Royds Hall Manor

A Brief History

Used in place names – such as Mytholmroyd – the Anglo-Saxon element means a clearing, or place cleared of trees and stones ready for cultivation. The word is from the local pronunciation of rode, and is derived from the same roots as rid.

Only 3 families have owned the house that stands secluded in the folds of hills in Low Moor yet a home has existed here for more than 800 years. In 1313 The Rookes Family became the tenants of the land and owners of the land in 1538 when the land was granted to William Rookes for Knights service. This entailed 40 days annual service to the monarch , then King Henry V and the duties and attendant privileges which was transmitted to the heirs of the House of Rookes.

The last of the line to reside at the Hall was Edward Rookes a colourful character who changed his name to Rookes Leedes, when he married a wealthy heiress Mary Leedes, from NorthMilford near Tadcaster. Despite the large fortune his bride endowed him he rapidly ran into debt, it is said through gambling and on a bitter day on August, 1785 , he left the Hall for the last time. During the journey he inflicted such terrible wounds upon himself that the coach was drenched in blood and he died two days later in North Milford Manor. It is said his ghost haunts this place (Milford Manor) which seems strange such was his love for the old home (Royds Hall ) . yet we where informed emphatically that there was no such spectral manifestations

Four years later Royds Hall was sold for £33,220 to Mr John Howson acting for the trustees of the Low Moor Company and this body held the property for many years. Successive tenants where the Rev Joseph Dawson, Mr C H Dawson Mr W Nugent Smythe, Mr Laurence Hardy JP, MP, Mr FW Milligan and Mr RW Wickham JP.

A wooden dwelling was the first to be erected on the site , later a half timbered house was there . It was encased in stone in 1640 by William Rookes this date appears above the porch and in the plaster below the Rookes Arms in the drawing room above the fireplace . The lesser Hall dates dates from 1651 and the West Wing was added in 1656. The East Wing dates from1770 so the present hall represents a steady state of growth through the ages. Unique of old houses about the district, it has six gables and a dignified view is presented from the end f a perfectly kept garden


Other interesting artifacts are the Great Sundial in the garden, and the mounting block in the courtyard arranged in steps to suit even the smallest pony. A fire mark from a Yorkshire insurance company can be seen In this garden is small square building which represents an interesting link with feudal law, two courts where held here , a Court Baron and a Court Leet. These were manorial courts and the right to hold them was granted to the Lord Of Manor by the crown. Details of land encroachment , weights and measures and debts were argued before the Lord, and the procedure undoubtedly speeded by local justice although the decisions may have been prejudiced . tradition has it that the rookes family buried much treasure in the garden during the civil war, and some articles have been recovered by occasional diggings . The Rookes family where starchily Royalist, and in the muster role of Charles I, we find a Lieutenant Robert Rookes and an Ensign Thomas Rookes and a Corporal William Rookes was present at the siege of Pontefract Castle a battle that is linked with many other grand old halls in the district, for many of their sons fell on combat or won glory in the field. The original oak staircase remains , although the Hall fire place has been replaced 3 successive hearths have been uncovered during the alterations, each of a different period. Intricate designs are modelled on the plaster both around the cornice and the covering beams in the drawing room. During the course of time the tiny diamond panes have been removed from mullioned windows and replaced by modern casements , these are the only modifications apart from modern pipings that are discernible from the outside. It would not be fair to the memory of Edward Rookes Leedes if we mentioned his untimely end if we did not make mention of his memorial. He was actively involved in the construction of Turnpike Roads in the area andwas mainly instrumental in the cutting of the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Royds Hall is steeped in local history and many papers and records are still in existence of the daily lives of the inhabitants who in some way , helped form th Bradford we know today

The house is now owned by Mr Henry Ellison Sugden (date of document 1970) and is a private residence . The estate was dispersed by auction on 11th October 1973 into 3 lots The Farm and Horse Close Cottages , Royds Hall and the Royds Hall Cottages It has passed over twice to Sir Ernest Hall and thence to Mr & Mrs Seton Anderson

Royds Hall Cottages



Rev Dawson by training was a mineralogist and together with Priestley discoverer of Oxygen appreciated fully the Mineral wealth of the region The Low Moor Iron Company had all the ingredients for the Industrial Revolution , Coal, Iron and hence the Iron Works at Low Moor was born . Much of the old slag surfacing on the Royds Hal Lane between (Old Hanna Wood and Royds Hall Great Wood ) if examined feel heavy and looks bubbled like "moon " rock this is from the furnace . The shiny green and blue mineral that also can be seen is an ore called Malachite which was discarded from mine working. Malachite is an ore of Copper. The mining tradition however preceded the industrial revolution with many Bell Pits found in the Woodland and surrounding area. A Bell Pit is a circular depression mined on the surface . Other examples of Bell Pits can be seen on Baildon Moor.

Heres More About The Grade 2 Listed Status And The Architecture !!

One of the best example of a manor houses in the Bradford area. Begun by WilliamRookes in 1640. A long range of 2-storeys coursed gritstone. The central portiondated 1640 and 1651 comprises 2 halls. The west cross wing is of 1656 and 1658 and the right hand wing of 3-storeys was added by Edward Rookes-Leeds in 1770.Irregular multi-gabled south garden front, saddlestones with kneelers and shapedfinials. Large chamfered mullioned and transomed to window of 3 groups of 4 lightsto hall and 2 groups of 4 lightsto first floor of 1651 range, otherwise long ranges of 8and 10 lights. Two-storey gabled porch with 4 central arch doorway to centre ofsouth front with 1640 cartouche above weathered stringcourse, decorated corbels flanking massive ashlar lintel and spiral carving to spandrels of arch. Stepped 4 lightwindow above with drip mould. The recessed gabled bay to right of porch hasunusual first floor window consisting of 5 stepped lights. The 1770 wing has a cantedfront the centre rising through 3-storeys with lunette window in gable. Tall corniced chimneys. External chimney with offsets to west gable end. The north courtyardfront has 5, 6 and 8 light chamfered mullion windows with drip moulds and similargables. Four centred arch doorway in porch. Small bellcot. Interior very muchaltered early C20. Four Tuscan columns screen hall and one of circa 1770. Thestaircase and the balusters of one side of the gallery remain in situ. Massive fireplacebacking into porch, the overmantel with boldly carved leaf pattern. The C18 wingretains ground floor room with restrained delicate plasterwork frieze and ceiling ofcirca 1770. In plan the house is 2 rooms deep. Following the purchase of the estateby the Low Moor Iron Company in 1788, Royds Hall became the home of theRev Joseph Dawson, trained as a Scientist, who was the Chief Technologist of thecompany's success. He died here in 1813.


Who Lived Here ?

A 16 Century inventory



A house is mentioned here in Domesday Book. Parts of the present building date to the 1300s. The Rookes family were the first tenants in 1313. The timber-framed house is dated to 1458. It was cased in stone around 1640. The wings were added in 1651 (east) and 1656 (west). It is said to be one of the finest remaining manor houses in the country. In 1598, Henry VIII granted the Rookes family the freehold in exchange for knight's service. The last of the family to live at the hall was Edward Rookes Leedes. When he went bankrupt and committed suicide, the estate was sold for £34,000 to a group who founded Low Moor Ironworks and who bought the land for the mineral rights and then extracted coal and iron stone. In 1932, it was bought by Harry Sugden.

In 1975, it was bought by Sir Ernest Hall. In 2002, he spoke out against plans to build houses on land around the Hall – as part of a multi-million pound Royds Regeneration Scheme – because he feared that the beauty of the countryside heritage would be spoiled and said that the site and its ancient woodland should be for the people to enjoy. He put the hall up for sale in 2004.

The original Eastfields Chapel stood on the estate.