Hanlith Hall is a late-17th-century house, which was re-modelled in the 19th century and added to in the 20th century. Features include a gravelled drive, a paved stone terrace, circular rose bed and sundial. There is also a ha-ha and a football pitch, which was previously a tennis court.
Hanlith Hall was the family seat of the Sergeantsons since the 14th century. Robert Sergeantson built the present 'old hall' on the site of the original house in 1688. A carved and dated stone, 'RS 1688', was found in the garden. The estate was originally purchased by Thomas Sergeantson from John Halton in 1566 for the sum of £40. This consisted of 'one messuage, one garden, one orchard, twenty four acres of arable land, six acres of meadow, thirty acres of pasture, one acre of woodland and four acres of gorse and brushwood.'
Detailed DescriptionThe present looped and gravelled driveway circumvents a small lawned area which is enclosed by white park railings and bordered by flowering shrubs and specimen conifers and deciduous trees. A fine copper beech provides privacy. Two stone gate piers topped with balls support a white painted ornamental wooden gate. The original gateway to the south has simple rustic gate piers and opens onto the Hanlith Bridge.
To the south-east of the house a paved stone terrace leads out onto an extensive lawned garden with a circular rose bed and sundial. A ha-ha subtly divides the lawned garden from the parkland below and beyond. A tennis court, now a football pitch, is reached by descending a series of stone steps. An early photograph indicates that the tennis court predates 1912. It could have been installed by George Sergeantson between 1826 and 1840. His particular interest in tennis is recorded in his wife's diary of a visit to Eton in 1839: ‘saw the tennis court and George's name on a wall'. Her diary also refers to ‘many visits to nursery gardens and excursions to collect stones, peat and ferns for the new rockeries at Hanlith'. George and his wife, Emma, were responsible for transforming and restoring Hanlith. In 1826 they had found the estate much neglected (from 1826 Hanlith had ceased to be the principal Sergeantson house).
Steps from the sundial lawn lead up to a summer-house, from where the properties, pleasure grounds, woods and river-side parkland can be viewed. From the public footpath (Airton to Malham) two ha-has can be seen. The far one circumvents the private gardens, whilst the near one separates intermediate pasture from the riverside parkland and public footpath.
When the site was recently on the market, it comprised 64 acres of pasture, woodlands, sporting rights over 2000 acres and fishing along 1.4 miles of the upper Aire.
Sale particulars dating from around 1959 describe the site as follows:
‘The gardens are to the South of the house, overlooked by the principal rooms, and of economical size delightfully laid out with a terrace and, below, lawns intersected by a stone-flagged path with sundial, to the West of which is an excellent grass Tennis Court, with a Rose Garden beyond. An additional feature in the Rock and Water Garden stocked with a great variety of Alpine and water loving plants.'
‘On the Eastern boundary is an area of Kitchen Garden ground stocked with hard and soft fruit trees and bushes and containing two large span-roof greenhouses, sections of which are electrically heated with thermostatic control. There are also potting sheds and ranges of frames.'
‘The House occupies a sheltered situation about half a mile East of the village of Kirby Malham, with a delightful view to the South, and is approached from the road by a short drive and sweep.'
‘The Parkland lies to the South of the grounds, separated by a ha ha. It is well timbered and affords a fine vista from the house extending to the River Aire on the Western Boundary. The River flows through a delightful setting of woodland and meadow and is reputed to be an excellent stretch of trout water where many hundreds of fish have been taken in a season, up to 1½lbs.'
Sale particulars from the 1990s contain the following information:
‘1872 the property was extensively altered and restored by Mrs Elizabeth Serjeantson. Further alterations were carried out in 1912 by Mr Dudley Illingworth, the purchaser at the time. The house was further modernized by Sir W M Bulmer and since has been lavishly appointed and extended to include a most superb leisure wing.'
‘The Property is approached over a graveled driveway which leads to and ample parking and turning area. To the SE and SW of the house are the most attractive and immaculately maintained landscaped gardens with a range of well-stocked and shaped borders and mature hardwoods and conifers, including a magnificent copper beech. Immediately to the SE of the house is a stone paved terrace and beyond is an extensive rose bed and sundial and a grass tennis court. A range of stone steps from the terrace lead to a high terrace and the summerhouse which has delightful views across the parkland and down the valley.'
‘Summerhouse: 14'10" x 9'0", windows and glazed door with side screens to SE and SW. Delightfully situated with direct access to the high terrace and enjoying fabulous views down the valley.'
- Hall (featured building)
- Description: Robert Sergeantson built the present `old hall? on the site of the original house in 1688. A carved and dated stone, `RS 1688?, was found in the garden.
- Earliest Date:
- Latest Date:
- Description: From the public footpath (Airton to Malham) two ha-has can be seen. The far one circumvents the private gardens, whilst the near one separates intermediate pasture from the riverside parkland and public footpath.
- Gate Piers
- Description: Two stone gate piers topped with balls support a white painted ornamental wooden gate.
- Description: To the south-east of the house a paved stone terrace leads out onto an extensive lawned garden.
- Description: Rose bed.
- Kirkby Malham
Detailed HistoryHanlith Hall was the family seat of the Sergeantsons since the 14th century. The heirs of Thomas Sergeantson appear as freeholders to the manor of Hanlith in the thirty-eighth year of Henry VI. A stone effigy of a helmeted warrior, armed with a halberd in his left hand and a sword in his right, stood over the principal doorway. This effigy, now sited high on the gable of the present Neo- Jacobean House, confirms the family as ‘Sergeant-progenitors' of the dale. Robert Sergeantson built the present ‘old hall' on the site of the original house in 1688. A carved and dated stone, ‘RS 1688', was found in the garden.
The estate was originally purchased by Thomas Sergeantson from John Halton in 1566 for the sum of £40. This consisted of ‘one messuage, one garden, one orchard, twenty four acres of arable land, six acres of meadow, thirty acres of pasture, one acre of woodland and four acres of gorse and brushwood.'
The house was twice re-modelled and partly rebuilt in 1912 (a ballroom and an indoor swimming pool were added and the garden landscaped). An early photograph dating from around 1835 and a water-colour sketch of 1840 show a substantial yeoman's house, open and visible to the road. The bridge, weir and River Aire were in the foreground with the grassy slope up to the house. The photograph suggests a kitchen garden to the right of the door where the main entrance is now sited.
Yorkshire Gardens Trust