Panaramic view

Farnley Hall  | OS Grid Ref: 421606,447315  | Site classified as: Park  | HPG Ref: 60090

Map Evidence

1851 OS 6’’
Hall stable block, driveways, avenues, Wilderness, walled garden with glasshouses, parkland, lodges, two ponds.
1891 OS 25’’
As above plus icehouse with pond nearby, terraces to S of house, reservoir for the walled garden and pond in Wilderness.
1909 OS 6’’
As above with terrace and fountain plus cricket ground in park SE of house. Farnley Hall Farm renamed Home Farm.

Historic Map Images

The National Library of Scotland hosts early Ordnance Survey maps. These maps can be seen here.


See the Farnley Hall web site for details.

The Fawkes family

The Fawkes family, who were of French origin, have been associated with Farnley Hall for over seven centuries. A Subsidy Roll of the 1340s records their holding of the Manor of Farnley – by knight service from the Archbishop of York – as stewards of the Forest of Knaresborough. The only surviving structure believed to date from the late Medieval period is the 'old dairy' to the NE of the house (although Pevsner describes it as a 17th century gazebo). An imposing house, in the Jacobean style, was built in c.1600. By the late 18th century the last lineal heir had died without issue and when Francis Fawkes (Francis II) died in 1786 he left the bulk of the estate to a distant relative Walter Ramsden Beaumont Hawkesworth. This Walter (Walter I) assumed the surname Fawkes. The Fawkes estates totalled some 11,000 acres at this point and included land at Kayley (Cayley), Lindley, Hawkesworth, Menston, Leathley and Newall. The house was enhanced in 1786 by the addition of a new wing to the south west by John Carr of York. Walter's son, (Walter II) an MP for York and pioneer of the abolition of slavery, was a friend and patron of Turner and Thomas Girtin. Turner was a regular visitor between c.1800 and 1824 and is believed to have given over 200 works to the family, 28 of which, mainly watercolours, remain in the house. A further nine generations of the family made significant changes to the house, parkland and gardens in the succeeding years.

The Development of the Parkland and Gardens

The history of the development of the estate and its gardens is recorded and well illustrated in a range of publications and paintings. Samuel Buck's Yorkshire Sketchbook (c.1720) contains a drawing of the 17th century house surrounded on three sides by a high walled garden. This is divided into three sections with a pavilion beside the southern wall of the western enclosure. A family document of 1733 further describes the extent of the 'mansion house, yards, stables, barns, gardens, rookery' as extending to four acres, along with a Grove of one acre to the north. This assemblage may have included a walled kitchen plot as a Household account book of 1727/8 names the gardener as William Chipingdale and lists a wide range of fruit and vegetables purchased by Francis (I), presumably to supplement their own produce, which included:

Colliflowers, Burgamy pears, Wallnuts, Mushromes, Lemmons, Sproutes, Sallery, Potatoes, Apples, Grape . . Herbes for the Garden, Sparrowgrass, Carretes, Gooseberrie. . .

An illustration held in the Gott Collection (The Hepworth, Wakefield) shows that by 1781 the high walls of the garden had been removed, though the decorative pavilion had been retained. The picture also reveals formal lawns, shrubberies and extensive orchards to the north-west of the house.
Walter (I) who succeeded in 1786 had previously commissioned Thomas White, a follower of Brown, to prepare designs for his Hawksworth estate in 1769, indicating that he had an interest in contemporary landscape design. Plans by Jonathan Teal drawn up in 1788 reveal a scheme for a 'New Plantation on Otley Shiven'. A further survey by Teal in 1796 records that by this point a park of 135 acres and a grove of 17 acres had also been created at Farnley. Walter (II), upon inheriting the Kayley Hall estate across the valley from Farnley, had by 1820 established a Deer Park which as well as several varieties of deer included zebras, goats and wild hogs. This landscape would have formed part of the long vista from Farnley. The deer park and menagerie did not survive beyond the 1840's as the new Leeds to Otley Road had cut the Kayley Hall estate from the Farnley site and all the animals in the Deer Park had been destroyed.

The parkland at Farnley did not impress J C Loudon, who wrote in his A Treatise on Country Residences (1806) 'It is difficult to conceive of anything more absurd than this immense space, about half a mile square, containing nothing but clumps . . ' Loudon also reveals that by this time a new walled garden had been created away from the house. This garden, west of the house, was subdivided into smaller sections and contained a circular pool and a glasshouse. The walls of this garden exist today (2018).
It is not known if any of Loudon's suggestions for the improvement of the park were taken up, but it is clear from several of Turner's watercolours of c.1818 that by this time the area to the north of the house had been developed and contained a 20 acre lake (Lake Tiney) a lake plantation and a woodland walk. Also during this period a ha-ha was constructed to the south of the house and three new lodges were built (the East Lodge reputed to have been designed by Turner).
T D Whitaker's book Loidis and Elmete (1814) contains illustrations of a flower garden at Farnley approached by an ornamental gateway (removed from Menston Old Hall) which included a decorative porch. The walls are depicted as highly ornamented and the whole garden is surrounded by attractive woodland.

In the 1880s a balustraded terrace was added to the John Carr wing of the house. A double flight of steps led down to an informal grass terrace with a central octagonal pool. The ha-ha was moved southwards to accommodate the new work.
The rerouting of the carriage drive to the north, from the south of the house, necessitated the reduction of a large flower garden. However, the ornamental gateway was re-erected at the entrance to the Old Hall, and remains in place today. An illustration in J S Fletcher's Picturesque History of Yorkshire (1901) shows a lawn, a profusion of flowers and shrubs and a thatched summer house in the grounds to the east of the house, possibly on the site of the former flower garden. Speight (1900) notes that in keeping with many gentry estates the park was once famous for its stock of shorthorn cattle.

Aerial photographs of the house from the 1930s show that the original terracing, balustrading and rectangular flower borders were still in place. However, at some point the balustrading and the double-flight steps were removed (replaced by a single flight), thus, whilst retaining a sense of theatre, integrated the house more informally into the landscape.
In the 1980s the Victorian domestic wing of the Old Hall was demolished and a small rectangular two-compartment flower garden containing a paved courtyard garden and a formal garden was created on the site. The Flower Garden porch was rebuilt to provide a pedestrian entrance from the drive to the new garden. A smaller gateway to the north-west provides a view of the woodland landscape beyond. More recently, a flower garden with box hedges, ornamental trees and herbaceous borders has been created to the north west of the house.

Today, the parkland includes a long-standing weeping beech to the west of the Carr extension; claimed to be 'the largest in the country'. The landscape continues to evolve with the replanting of trees.

Other documentary evidence

Buck S, c1720, Yorkshire Sketchbook, p. 200
Whitaker TD, 1814, Loidis and Elmete, JM Dent and Co. London
Fletcher JS, 1900, A Picturesque History of Yorkshire - volume 2, p108 - 111 (pdf)
Leach P and Pevsner N, 2009, The Buildings of England Yorkshire West Riding, Yale University Press
Speight H, 1900, Upper Wharfedale, Eliot Stock, London
Loudon JC 1806, A Treatise on Forming, improving and Managing Country Residences, London
Gott Collection, The Hepworth, Wakefield
Watercolours by J M W Turner collection at Farnley Hall

Parks and Gardens UK

The site details are held on the Parks and Gardens UK database; Record Id: 6846
Record created 13/04/2009

Extract from 1851 6inch OS map
(by premission of national Library of Scotland)
Ornamental gateway to courtyard garden
Courtyard garden
Modern ornamental garden
Modern ornamental garden - herbaceous border
17th century mansion house
South facade, 18th century house
Ancient weeping beech in park
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