Kirklees Park incorporates the landscaped park, pleasure grounds and gardens for Kirklees Hall. The principal phase of development was the late-18th century, to the design of Richard Woods for Sir George Armytage (3rd baronet). The site was developed subsequently, especially in the early-20th century by Sir George Armytage (6th baronet). The park includes the remains of a medieval nunnery (Kirklees Priory) and is associated with the legend of the death of Robin Hood.
Kirklees Priory was a small nunnery which was founded in the mid-12th century, displacing an earlier medieval settlement. In the late-17th and early-18th centuries there continued to be piecemeal development at Kirklees, with, for instance, the addition of two further barns and a dovecot at Home Farm. A survey of the whole estate by William Crossley for the fourth baronet in 1788 is considered to show the park following the improvements suggested by Richard Woods and the alterations made to the Hall by John Carr. Kirklees Hall (listed Grade I) is set in an expanse of open parkland extending eastwards, dotted with large trees.
Detailed DescriptionThe following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):
LOCATION, SETTING, LANDFORM, BOUNDARIES, AREA
Kirklees Park lies within a shallow valley formed by the Nun Brook, a tributary to the River Calder, extending to the south to include a spur of high land that separates the two water courses, and also including the steep wooded hillside (Nun Bank) down to the Calder to the south. Although the park is just south of the M62 motorway, and is surrounded by the expanding villages between the urban centres of Huddersfield, Bradford and Dewsbury, the setting is rural in character with a mix of arable, pasture and woodland forming the views out from the park especially north and eastwards, with buildings of the nearest villages being in the far distance, these views forming part of the character of the park. Views southwards from Nun Bank, of the industrial areas along the River Calder, are now screened by the trees of Nun Bank Wood. Similarly the M62 to the west is screened by a further bank of trees, with the impact of the motorway being further reduced by the use of a cutting. The boundary of the park is mainly defined by a well-built drystone park wall, dividing the parkland from farmland beyond. On the southern side, the boundary is again defined by a wall, but here being less carefully constructed (in style being typical of field boundaries in the area) following the A644 which runs along the foot of Nun Bank, following the line of the 1815 turnpike road. Kirklees Park, including Nun Bank Wood, covers an area of about 90 hectares.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Kirklees Park has three modern entrances. The main approach to Kirklees Hall is from the west, since the construction of the M62, via Mill Hill Lane which leads to a pair of parallel carriage drives 30m apart first depicted in 1788. The southern drive enters the parkland via an ornamental gate by Maurice Tobin which dates to the 1760s and is listed Grade II. Adjacent there is a gate lodge which is probably contemporary (certainly present by 1788) and is also Grade II listed. The northern carriage-drive leads to the former coach house and service ranges to the west of the Hall. At the western end of this drive, adjacent to the boundary of the M62, there is a large mound that is considered to be the remains of an ice-house. The two carriage drives are linked to a drive that runs along the western boundary of the park from Blake Law Lane to the north. This drive (established by 1788) links to the second modern access to the park which enters at the park's northern corner to run to the north of the large, walled kitchen garden before turning south eastwards to Home Farm, the site of the former Kirklees Priory and the Low Hall. This route originally continued southwards from the priory up the hill to a gateway which is still extant in the southern park wall. However this route was realigned between 1854 and 1894 to follow a track first shown in 1788 following the valley south-westwards to exit the park adjacent to Park Bottom Wood and The Cottage (effectively forming a gate lodge), this now forming the third modern entrance to the park.
Kirklees Hall: Kirklees Hall (Grade I) developed from a mid-C16 stone-built mansion which was enlarged in the later C16 and early C17 with the construction of the principal, north-facing elevation overlooking Nun Brook. This north elevation is Jacobean in style, being E-shaped of seven bays topped by a high, scalloped parapet. Principal rooms are also located in the mainly later C16 east wing commanding views south-eastwards across the park. The C17 former coach house and stables to the south-west are now connected to the main house via linking former service ranges laid out around a courtyard west of the main house. These include the service range added to the west side of the house in the 1780s which was heightened in 1903. The Hall was altered and extended by John Carr in the 1760s including the installation of an elaborate imperial staircase supported by iron girders, the staircase being installed by Maurice Tobin who was paid £249 15s. A detached coach house (now domestic) to the west of the Hall also survives and dates to between 1757 and 1788. Additions to the Hall complex in the C19 include a game larder.
Home Farm: This evolved out of the outer court of the medieval priory whose church and cloistral buildings lay immediately to the east. Home Farm retains three buildings that are of late medieval origin: the double-aisled barn, a second double-aisled barn with an aisled cross wing (the L- shaped aisled barn), both of which are Grade I, and the Grade II* Priory Gatehouse. The Gatehouse, probably more of a guest house or lodge rather than a gatehouse to a convent, may post-date the Dissolution and to have been part of the secular, residential reuse of the priory. None of the surviving buildings appear to represent the main post-dissolution house which was known as Low Hall following the construction of Kirklees Hall. However the stables dated 1620 (the southern cross wing to the Home Farm Building, being included in the Grade I listing) was probably built for a gentry house rather than as a farm building. The Grade II* listed early C17 two-cell house in the north-west part of the farm complex is of too low a status to be Low Hall. Most of the buildings of Home Farm are arranged around two courtyards, and excepting those of C20 date are all listed. There is one building that is detached from the main complex: the Malthouse which lies just over 100m to the north-west. This large, late C17, L-shaped building is grand and almost domestic in appearance, however its lack of fireplaces and its low floor to ceiling heights is characteristic of a malthouse. It is listed Grade I.
The buildings of Home Farm appear to have been used as a positive focal point in the designed landscape: the central feature of the view from the pleasure garden at the west end of the walled garden, being glimpsed from around Kirklees Hall between trees along the southern bank of Nun Brook, and included in a circular walk from the Hall to the site of the priory.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
Pleasure Grounds, Nun Brook: Near Kirklees Hall, between the two western-approach carriage drives adjacent to the Lodge, there is another walled garden which also appears on the 1788 Crossley plan. This is approximately square and is just over 20m to each side. Extending north from here, forming a shelter belt along the western boundary of the park, there is an irregular woodland belt through which there are paths which may correspond to those suggested by the depiction on the 1788 plan. The two footbridges across the Nun Brook are in the positions marked on the detailed, early C19 plan of the Pleasure Grounds, the eastern bridge incorporating hollow chamfered mullions reused as balustrading. The gardenesque arrangement of beds has been lost, however fragments of paths survive, as does a small collection of stone sculpture marking the position of the well and later fountain. Just to the north are the remains of an early C20 brick pavilion. The arrangement of ponds formed by a series of stone built weirs down the Nun Brook also survives, as does a simple stone-arched carriage bridge that is also shown on the 1788 plan. This bridge provides for a circular route from Kirklees Hall to the site of the priory to return via a second bridge through the belt of trees on the south bank of the stream, this area of woodland (which retains some veteran trees) being marked as Rookery on early Ordnance Survey maps.
Priory, Nuns Grave, Orchard Walls: The site of the priory, immediately south-east of Home Farm, was certainly integrated into the designed landscape in the Edwardian period, following the placement of inscribed stone blocks marking the corners of the church and cloister. However the site of the priory was clearly part of the late C18 designed landscape as well, using the Nuns Grave as a focus. The Nuns Grave (listed Grade II) incorporates a pair of C18 table tombs within an iron railed enclosure, one of which incorporates a medieval grave slab of Elizabeth de Stainton, a late C14 prioress of Kirklees, which was uncovered in 1706. The adjacent walled garden (listed Grade II), thought to have been the walled orchard for the priory, appears to have been still in use as part of an orchard in the C18. It now forms a walled garden for the 1980s house Priory Gardens.
Nun Bank Wood, Castle Hill, Robin Hood's Grave: The steep hillside down to the River Calder is wooded, and is depicted as such on all maps from the C17 onwards, although few veteran trees appear to survive. The old road (which was replaced by the 1815 turnpike, the current A644) can still be traced as a levelled terrace along the slope. Higher up, there is another, narrower, terraced path which corresponds with that depicted in 1788 and subsequent maps. This links the Hall to the scheduled earthwork enclosure of Castle Hill with its Edwardian prospect tower. This reconstructed Roman watch tower is stone built with the remains of a timber balcony and is now partially ruinous. The surrounding area is overgrown with rhododendrons and other planting probably dating to the C19 or Edwardian period. The path continues southwards past a small irregular quarry, through mixed woodland to a further spread of rhododendrons. Within this area of woodland is Robin Hood's Grave (listed Grade II) which includes a medieval grave slab fragment protected within a C18 walled and railed enclosure which is also partially ruinous.
Kirklees Hall is separated from the rest of the park by an Edwardian ha-ha with the arable field immediately to the south-east retaining a scatter of parkland trees. Although the belt of trees that runs between Castle Hill and Home Farm is C20, it follows the line of a field boundary shown on the 1854 Ordnance Survey map. South of this boundary, there are no further parkland trees; however few have been lost as early maps show that they were sparser within this area. The tree clump known as Stubbings still survives as a slightly raised circular earthwork within a second belt of trees planted in the C20 to follow a field boundary established by 1894. The planting of the avenue of lime trees between Home Farm and The Cottage at the southern entrance to the park is also C20. The park wall, especially on the north-eastern side of the park, is constructed to ignore the undulations in the land surface to produce a level top: this is especially noticeable from Castle Hill. The deer shelter, which is built against the park wall south-east of Home Farm, also forms a feature within the landscape. The boundary between the open parkland and Nun Bank Wood, as well as a boundary running through the woodland around Castle Hill and Robin Hood's Grave, is marked by fence posts formed from stone slabs with square sockets for rails set top and bottom, but not at mid height.
This is sited on rising ground on the opposite side of the Nun Brook, facing the principal, north front of Kirklees Hall. It has high brick walls enclosing an area of about 190m by 60m. The wall on the southern side is topped by ball finials (many now missing) and has a near central formal entrance which aligns with the principal north entrance to Kirklees Hall. A slip, defined by a low brick wall, runs along the outside of the southern wall. This is also shown on the 1788 Crossley plan. Part of the northern wall includes the remains of flues for a heated wall: this is just off-centre and is in the position that is marked as a building on the Crossley plan. Within the walls, in the south-western corner, there is a two-storey gardener's house with a first-floor reception room with a coved ceiling. This currently derelict building, is also thought to be part of the original design and to be that mentioned in the late 1760s accounts. The small square building in the north-eastern corner, with the mock half-timbered upper floor, is thought to have been added in the Edwardian period.
Book Reference - Author: Fiona Cowell - Title: Richard Woods - 1715-1793 Master of the pleasure garden - Page References: 212-213
Map Reference - Title: Francis Richardson's Survey of the Park and Garden at Kirklees (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1215/1) - Date: 1757 - Source: West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1215/1
Map Reference - Title: Francis Richardson's Plan of the Park and Garden at Kirklees (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1215/2) - Date: 1757
Map Reference - Title: William Crossley's "Map of the estates in the Manors of Clifton, Hartshead and Brighouse..." (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1220) - Date: 1788
Map Reference - Title: Anonymous untitled plan (probably traced from Crossley's map) of Kirklees Estate with the line of 1815 Turnpike added (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1226) - Date: Late C18 with early C19 alteration
Map Reference - Title: "Plan of Pleasure Grounds at Kirklees Park" (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1328) - Date: Early C19
Map Reference - Author: West Yorks Archive - Title: "The King v Scholes" (Plan of Kirklees Park for court case) (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1248/1) - Date: 1828 - Type:
Map Reference - Author: West Yorks Archive - Title: "The King v Scholes" (Plan of Kirklees Park for court case) (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1248/1) - Date: 1828 - Type:
Map Reference - Author: Ordnance Survey - Title: Ordnance Survey 1:10560 showing the extent of Kirklees Park shaded (West Yorks Archive, Calderdale KMA 1266) - Date: 1850 - Type: MAP
Map Reference - Title: Anon plan of Kirklees Park (West Yorks Archive Calderdale KMA 1213) - Date: Early C17 ?
Other Reference - Description: "Prospect of Kirkleys Abby where Robin Hood dyed" by Johnson 1669. Original held at The Bodleian (MS Top.Gen d.14 Fol 21v) with a redrawn version published in the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal 1901.
Reasons for Designation
Kirklees Park is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Design: as a significant, well preserved example of a mid to late C18 designed landscape, attributed to the notable landscape designer Richard Woods, being a good, characteristic example of his work;
* Historical association: for the strong connection to the legend of the death of Robin Hood, an association which was clearly exploited as part of the design of the landscape;
* Group value: the Park strongly enhances the setting of a large number of heritage assets that are designated in their own rights, particularly the Grade I listed Kirklees Hall and the collection of highly graded buildings forming Home Farm. The Park retains nearly the whole suite of buildings and structures forming the C18 design, the only significant loss being the iron footbridge scrapped in 1840;
* Documentary: for the survival of an extensive archive of maps, plans, documentary and pictorial sources;
* Edwardian enhancement: later alterations to the Park, particularly those in the early C20, add rather than diminish the special interest of the landscape. Of particular note is the reconstruction of a Roman watchtower, being possibly the first such historical reconstruction of a Roman building in England, roughly contemporary with reconstructions in Cardiff and in Germany.
Date first registered: 27-Jun-2013
Detailed HistoryThe following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):
Kirklees Priory was a small nunnery which was founded in the mid C12, displacing an earlier medieval settlement. The priory is connected with the legend of the outlaw Robin Hood who is said to have fired an arrow from his deathbed in the priory's gatehouse to select his burial place. Kirklees Priory was surrendered to the Crown in 1539 at which point it had a community of eight nuns and was valued at £29 18s 6d. In 1544 it was granted to John Tasburgh and Nicholas Savile, but in 1565 the whole manor was conveyed to the merchant and clothier John Armytage, in whose family the estate remained until its sale in 2013. The earliest hall was at the site of the priory, later becoming known as Low Hall, forming part of the complex which later became Home Farm. Home Farm includes a number of late medieval buildings thought to have been originally part of the priory, including two aisled barns (Grade I and II* listed) and the early C16 Priory Gatehouse (Grade II*). Just to the east there is a stone walled garden which is thought to have been the priory's orchard, the wall being listed Grade II. Between about 1580 and 1640, the Armytage family spent around £10,000 adding to their landholdings and expanding a new hall, being elevated to the baronetcy in 1641. The new hall, the current Kirklees Hall (listed Grade I), developed out of a mid C16 stone mansion that was presumably built for either Tasburgh or Savile, but was expanded by the Armytages in the later C16 and in the early C17 when the Jacobean north facing range was constructed. Home Farm also gained new buildings through this period including the cross-wing dated 1620 that was added to the medieval aisled barn closest to the gatehouse, the single-aisled cow house (listed II*), and the two-cell house (listed II*).
The earliest known plan of the estate is undated and untitled, but the style of handwriting and what the plan depicts places it in the C17, probably before the Civil War. The plan records field names including "Near and Far Castle Field" (which indicates that the scheduled Castle Hill earthwork was not the creation of C18 landscaping) as well as "Park" (which at this time covered a relatively small area south eastwards from Kirklees Hall). Home Farm is labelled "Low Hall", Kirklees Hall as just "Hall", being shown as two separate buildings linked by boundaries with what appears to be formal walled gardens immediately to the north and south. The southern building is thought to be that of the Hall itself, with the northern building interpreted as a gatehouse which was demolished after 1757. Home Farm is either depicted in a much simplified way, or at a time when there were far fewer buildings as it appears to only show the two medieval aisled barns, omitting for instance, the Priory gatehouse, the 1620 cross wing and the early C17 single-aisled cow house. The plan marks the Grade II listed boundary wall to the priory orchard (being labelled garden), but shows the site of the priory church and cloister buildings as being an empty, unlabelled enclosure. The plan also does not show the late C17 Malthouse (listed Grade I), although it does mark a small building within an enclosure labelled "Croft" which may correspond to the earliest part of The Cottage near Park Bottom Wood at the south-eastern entrance to the park.
This plan appears to be contradicted by the earliest known pictorial view of Kirklees Park, being the sketch dated 1669, and entitled "The Prospect of Kirklees Abbey where Robin Hood Died...". This was redrawn for publication in 1901 and credited to Dr Nathaniel Johnson (who was the Armytage's family doctor), but is thought to have been drawn by his brother. This sketch shows Kirklees Park viewed from the north, depicting the buildings of Home Farm, the Malthouse and Kirklees Hall in the distance. Where it deviates from the plan is that it appears to show the priory's church and other cloistral buildings, being in the form of a cluster of buildings including steepled towers. The subject of the sketch is the legend of Robin Hood's death, and this complex of buildings is consequently labelled "The gatehouse of the Nunnery", being where he died. The sketch also indicates the site of Robin Hood's grave, although the current walled and railed enclosure containing the medieval grave slab fragment (the whole being listed Grade II as Robin Hood's Grave) is thought to be early C18 in date. The picture thus demonstrates the long association of Kirklees with the Robin Hood legend, but could also be interpreted as showing that the priory church and cloister buildings survived into the second half of the C17, although there is a general assumption that they were probably demolished in the C16 or early C17.
In the late C17 and early C18 there continued to be piecemeal development at Kirklees, with, for instance, the addition of two further barns and a dovecot at Home Farm (all Grade II listed). In 1706 medieval grave slabs were discovered leading to the creation of the Nun's Grave (listed Grade II) just to the east of the farm complex. The wider landholdings of the Armitages were extensively worked for coal and other minerals, probably providing the funds for a range of substantial redevelopments that took place at Kirklees in the second half of the C18. In 1757, the landscape gardener, Francis Richardson, produced a "Survey of the Park and Gardens of Kirklees" along with a plan of proposed improvements and alterations entitled "General Plan...". The survey shows the park being bounded to the south by the River Calder, to the north by the Nun Brook (with an extension beyond the brook to include Home Farm and an orchard to the east), to the east to include Far Castle Field (but not beyond the original road between Home Farm and the old road past Robin Hood's Grave) and to the west to around the line of the current M62 motorway. The survey shows a series of formal gardens and closes clustered around Kirklees Hall, with the rest of the park divided into fields. Nun Bank is wooded, as it is today, although only down hill and to the south of the old road which was the predecessor to the 1815 turnpike road (the current A644). To the south east there is a very small structure marked at the intersection of two straight drives through a small tree plantation. This structure is thought to be Robin Hood's Grave (listed Grade II) which in this period was referred to as the "Standing Hearse", being constructed in the early C18. The survey also appears to depict the Castle Hill earthwork. The plan of proposals shows a general sweeping away of the closes around the Hall and of field boundaries within the wider park; the construction of a series of serpentine ponds down Nun Brook; the re-routing of roads and the creation of a series of meandering paths through Nun Bank Wood. The plan also proposes a large walled garden to the west of the Hall (not to the north as subsequently built) as well as a structure within the centre of Castle Hill. Before these proposals could be enacted, the unexpected death of Sir John Armytage aged just 27, saw the estate pass to a younger brother in 1758. This was Sir George Armytage (the third baronet), a friend of John Spencer who had commissioned the landscape designer Richard Woods to landscape the grounds of Canon Hall near Barnsley. Possibly at the prompting of Spencer, Woods was invited to Kirklees in 1760 to propose improvements to the park.
Although the plan by Woods has not been identified, it is referred to in accounts as "A General Design for the Improvements of Kirklees". Armytage had also commissioned John Carr of York to carry out improvements to the Hall. This building work was given precedence and it was not until 1766 that estate accounts start mentioning work under the headings "New Gardens and New Walls" and "New Road and Park Wall", with payments for the levelling of the old gardens being recorded in 1770. The large walled garden to the north of Kirklees Hall is thus attributed to Woods, as is much of the mid to late C18 landscaping of Kirklees Park with its extension to the south-east as far as Park Bottom Wood.
A survey of the whole estate by William Crossley for the fourth baronet in 1788 is considered to show the park following the improvements suggested by Woods and the alterations made to the Hall by Carr. Kirklees Hall (listed Grade I) is set in an expanse of open parkland extending eastwards, dotted with large trees. Along the western side there are irregular areas of tree or shrub planting with indications of meandering garden paths. Surviving features shown for the first time include the large walled garden, the chain of ponds down Nun Brook (thought to have been reformed from a chain of monastic fishponds), the gate lodge to Kirklees Hall (the lodge listed Grade II) with a small walled garden just to its north, the access drive along the western boundary of the park, and the access drive into the park from the south east. The plan also appears to depict the Nun's Grave (Grade II listed), which is just east of Home Farm, at the centre of a rectangular enclosure containing bushes. A number of current field boundaries are shown on the plan, although it is clear that much of the current northern park wall has been realigned since 1788. The plan also clearly shows The Cottage, which is possibly depicted on the C17 plan, as well as the buildings of Home Farm and Kirklees Hall after the additions by John Carr. The plan depicts a number of curving walks and drives linking the Hall to both the walled garden and Home Farm, as well as along Nun Bank to Castle Hill and beyond to a possible woodland garden including Robin Hood's Grave. These walks are still identifiable in the landscape. The survey also includes a small pictorial view of the Hall as viewed from the north east across the pond between Kirklees Hall and the large walled garden. This shows the iron footbridge which was built across the pond to provide a formal link between the Hall and the central entrance to the walled garden. This footbridge was installed in 1769, ten years before the opening of Abraham Derby's Ironbridge in Shropshire. Unfortunately the Kirklees iron bridge was scrapped around 1840.
The archives include an undated, anonymous plan (item 1226) thought to be late C18. This appears to be a simplified tracing from Crossley's plan which was subsequently altered with the addition of the turnpike road (opened 1815), the rubbing out of a number of field boundaries and tracks, and the drawing in of a new, straightened park boundary to the north and east. This plan is possibly Crossley's 1788 "An Attempt to Improve Kirklees Park" (item 1219 which was not deposited with the rest of the archive) which appears not to have been enacted. However it is the earliest clear indication of the ice house at the western end of the western carriage drive.
Another undated, anonymous plan (archive item 1328) is titled "Plan of Pleasure Grounds at Kirklees Park". This depicts an early C19 gardenesque-style garden laid out between the western park boundary and the large walled garden. It shows two footbridges across the Nun Brook together with a gateway through the boundary adjacent to the south-western corner of the walled garden. All of these features remain, together with some remains of the paths, although the flowerbeds, probably designed to display exotic specimen plants, are not readily identifiable. The plan also marks a well which is labelled as a fountain on later Ordnance Survey maps, the site of which is now marked by a small collection of sculptural stonework set into a bank. Photographs dating to the C19 or early C20 survive of this fountain, the gardenesque garden and the walled garden alongside photographs of other parts of Kirklees Park.
In 1828 there was a court case concerning poaching and murder. Two plans were produced for the court: a plan of the whole of Kirklees Park and a second detailed plan showing Robin Hood's Grave (listed Grade II) and the area to the south-east. These plans are the first to definitively name Robin Hood's Grave. The detailed plan also identifies the park wall and the gateway into the park from the old road, the road which had been replaced by the 1815 turnpike. The main plan shows how this was then the access to Home Farm (labelled here as Low Hall), with the access from the south east (from The Cottage labelled here as Gardener's House) first shown in 1788, not being depicted. However the main plan, although well detailed, also omits other features and paths that were thought to be in existence at this date. The detailed plan makes a distinction between the park wall, which is identified as a wall, and another boundary which runs past Robin Hood's Grave which is marked as "Pailing".
Ordnance Survey maps and written documentation show that between the 1890s and the First World War, Kirklees Park underwent a number of changes. Just outside of the park, at Park Bottom Wood, a new coal mine was opened, served by a tramway which extended north-westwards. The park wall was realigned (enlarging the park slightly to the east) to hide the mine and the tramway. Other changes included the enlargement of The Cottage, some additions to Kirklees Hall, and the construction of a deer shelter. The ha-ha around Kirklees Hall also dates to this period, as does the two-storey building in the north-eastern corner of the walled garden and a now partially ruined brick built pavilion to the west within the earlier gardenesque garden. A lot of the planting across the park was also probably renewed at around this time, along with repairs to boundary walls, weirs and other structures.
The owner of the estate in the early C20, the sixth baronet, Sir George Armytage, was interested in archaeology and history. In 1904-5 he conducted excavations in the paddock to the east of the Priory Gatehouse, uncovering the plan of the priory church and cloister, the corners of which he marked with inscribed stone blocks. The Gatehouse was turned into a small museum focused on the priory and the legend of Robin Hood. He also conducted a smaller scale excavation at Castle Hill where he uncovered remains of rough stone walling within the rampart, concluding that the site was a Roman fortification. In 1905-6 he built a reconstruction of a Roman watchtower at the centre of the enclosure. This folly was included in walks through the park and acted as a prospect tower providing views across the estate and the landscape beyond. It represents a very early example of a historical reconstruction of a Roman building, being roughly contemporary with the reconstruction of the Roman defences at Cardiff (1898-1923) and at Saalburg in Germany 1898-1907, being much earlier than the reconstruction at Metchley, Birmingham (1953) and Lunt Roman Fort, Coventry (1970s).
In the later C20, the parkland south of Nun Brook was divided into three by two belts of trees following field boundaries established in the C19, the fields being turned over to arable, but retaining parkland trees in the largest, northernmost field next to the Hall. In the late 1980s, Kirklees Hall was sold, funding the construction of a new house (Priory Gardens) immediately east of the former walled priory orchard which became a walled garden to the new house. In 1989 a sundial (listed Grade II, which had previously been sited just south of Kirklees Hall) was moved into the garden of Priory Gardens. In the late 1990s, Kirklees Hall and its associated service ranges were converted into residential apartments. In 2013 the remainder of Kirklees Park was sold, ending nearly 450 years of ownership by the Armytage family.
- 18th Century
- Late 18th Century
- Associated People