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  1. #1
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    May 2008
    Thanked 117 Times in 85 Posts

    Arrow An unusual vist to Hope Hall, Bramham. Dec '08

    There aren't many places you explore where you feel the need to wipe your feet. There aren't that many places you visit though which have the rich history and faded majesty as Hope Hall.
    Hope Hall is old, and was built in the 1600's, as one of the great houses of the Bramham Estate, 4 miles north west of Leeds. Nowadays, Bramham Park is home to the world famous horse trials, and Leeds festival, yet, deep in the woodland lies Hope Hall, forgotten, empty and strangely odd.
    Already the winter sun was low in the sky as we parked, the day previously had been mixed; full of half explores, an encounter with the police and dead ends. This was something different though, a remote country house away from the city, and potentially something new and exciting. The approach to the house was faintly unnerving. A quick gallop through the woodland away from the occassional car, and then a stealthy approach through frozen rhodedendrons until we saw it.
    A first view.

    Sir Thomas Fairfax had lived here, back in the 1640's as he lead the New Model Army into battle during the English Civil war. Much later, important archaeologist Pitt Rivers was born here in 1827. Here he is, after he moved into one of the other great houses of Bramham.

    We decided to check out the outside of the building first, and take any externals, for the light was fading fast. All looked ok, although TC spotted a sign saying "dogs loose" crudely painted on a board. We ignored it, and headed for the entrance. It seemed odd that the door was open.

    Heading in, we set up in the first room, a large sitting room. Around us, the house was silent.

    Inside was fairly dark, the only light coming from the open doors, and a missing board. The rooms were carpeted on the whole, and occasional pieces of furniture could be picked out by torch light. People had obviously been in, and yet things remained intact and undisturbed. In the scullery, sinks were off the wall.

    The Hall had clearly been divided more recently, into three seperate houses. The one we visited first was the largest, and was likely to have been home to the Master of the Hounds, for this was, until 2002 where the kenneling for the Bramham hunt was based. (

    A beautiful staircase in a hall way of lifting tiles led upstairs into the dark. We headed on up.

    Upstairs was mainly empty, except a discarded electric fire and a large wooden warderobe on the wide landing at the top of the staircase. The bedrooms were empty, except for a pile of rubble where men had crudely levered away ornate stone fireplaces and taken them away to sell. The whole of the Hall was decorated in bright coloured painted woodchip wallpaper, and last looked like it had been redone in the late 1970's. Beneath it in one of the rooms was a remnant from a different age.

    We headed down, and into the ever fading light.

    The next part of the Hall was by far and away the worst in terms of condition. water poured incessantly from an unidentified source (fractured water main?) and the floor had given way. Access across the room was impossible, although a large pile of rubbish in the doorway blocked off the view into the kitchen. The sitting room was trashed, although not by people but nature. In the middle was a television and video.
    Last edited by boxfrenzy; 08-12-2008 at 11:17 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Thanked 117 Times in 85 Posts

    Default Re: An unusual vist to Hope Hall, Bramham. Dec '08

    We headed out, and into the third house. It was silent outside, and the long shadows stretched across the snow. Several set of footprints disappeared across the front of the house into the woods. No footprints led to the open doors of Hope Hall. Again, the door was open, and brambles crawled across damp carpets.

    Someone had lived in here at some stage, and furniture remained in many of the rooms. Clearly that was some time ago now, and now natural decay had taken hold. Wallpaper hung in great strips across cheap 1970's kitchen cabinets.

    The sink was off the wall again in a bathroom in here, yet the taps remained. Else where, cheap furniture remained, and everywhere, the smell of damp, old houses hung in the air.

    The final house had been lived in at some stage by squatters. Occassional beer cans were evident, and furniture was set out in the rooms. On the fireplace was a flyer for a party for eight years ago.

    Much of the furniture remained as if someone had left everything behind. The walls, like much of the rest of Hope Hall were painted bright colours. I resisted the urge to put the settee back.Red room, red room.

    We moved on to the back of the house, the ceiling above us having partially collapsed. Around the corner was a large kitchen, with a beautifully enamelled Rayburn.

    Detail of the range.

    The floor was covered in what looked birdseed and dead leaves, and next to a large country kitchen table was another chair.

    We left the Hall, and back outside. To the right lay the stable block, a large rambling wing with a clock and numerous outbuildings. To the left, the woods, dark and shadowy. Moving on, we stopped. Car tracks cut through the snow and to the stable block beyond. I could see the car parked under the arch. We turned and slipped away. (

    Hope Hall is currently on the market for one million pounds, its stables and kennels to the rear of the property for sale too. Today it lies empty, half furnished and strangely open to the rain and wind, to birds and wildlife. It's a strange place, with it's oddly open doors yet boarded windows. Something a bit different; a place to wipe your feet before you enter.

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