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© Mr Steve Novak

IoE Number: 428817
Photographer: Mr Steve Novak
Date Photographed: 11 August 2000
Date listed: 04 July 1952
Date of last amendment: 15 September 1987
Grade I

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SE 42 NWLEDSTONHALL LANEWF107/32Ledston Hall4th July 1952

SE 42 NW LEDSTON HALL LANE WF10 7/32 Ledston Hall 4th July 1952 GV I Country house, now partly subdivided as flats. Five periods of building, beginning c.1200 with a chapel and kitchen built by the monks of Pontefract Abbey, with an extension c.1500; after the Dissolution, acquired by the Witham family, who incorporated these parts in a courtyard house of modest scale, c.1560; this in its turn was subordinated to a grandiose scheme in the C17, first by Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, c1630, who added the south wing, and subsequently by Sir John Lewis, c.1660, who completed the structure by extension to the north of the main range and the addition of the north wing; to this, in the early C18, Lady Betty Hastings made some stylistic alterations to the principal facades, and probably to the interior also; finally, some interior alterations appear to have been made in the C19 and C20. U-plan, round a forecourt facing east, with the earlier elements projecting to the rear. Mostly 2 storeys over a basement with gabled roofs presented as attics, and corner turrets. A string course carried round the whole marks the division between basement and piano nobile, and the turrets have similar string courses on 2 levels above. The principal range, which is of 11 bays, symmetrical, has a straight flight of steps protected by a wrought-iron balustrade with Lady Betty Hastings initials worked into it, leading to the principal entrance in the centre of the piano nobile; the doorway has glazed and panelled double doors, and a moulded architrave with carved consoles supporting an entablature and open segmental pediment from the centre of which an eagle displays a medallion with a monogram on the pedestal beneath; in a vaulted passage below the steps is a doorway to the basement, with a moulded architrave; the basement has recessed cross-windows, the piano nobile has 24-pane sashes with plain surrounds, the second floor has square 12-pane windows with similar surrounds, those to the right moslty horizontal sliding sashes and the others fixed (some blocked behind the glazing); and the roof line is disguised by 5 Dutch gables containing vertical oval windows glazed in quadrants, with architraves, the gables finished with small pediments alternately triangular and segmental. The wing courtyard returns, both of 4 bays, have similar features except that each has a pedimented doorway to the centre of the basement and the south (left) wing has a 2nd door with architrave and keystone. The four corner turrets of the wings each have tall narrow sashed windows with double-recessed reveals, a blind top stage with prominent modillioned cornice, and a low ogee-shaped pyramidal lead cap with a ball finial; between the turrets each wing has 2 windows on each floor, and one Dutch gable, all these matching the others. In the angles of the wings are lead rainwater heads lettered "EH" (= Elizabeth Hastings), and against the south wing is a small block of mounting steps. The return wall of the south wing, of 7 bays, has a 1st-floor string course, horizontal sliding sashes at basement level, 12-pane sashes at 1st floor, the heads of which break through the string course and have cornices which match it, 4 square horizontal sliding sashes at 2nd floor with similar cornices, and straight gables above these (the first and fourth of slightly different pitch). The rear of this wing has 2 gables, remains of a cross-window at 1st floor and an altered window or doorway beside this, and 3 inserted windows above. The return wall of the north wing, of 8 bays, has cross-windows on the first two floors, each with a string or drip course above, 2-light mullioned windows at 2nd floor (irregularly disposed) with cornices, and 4 Dutch gables; and at ground floor towards the east end a wide archway with flat 4-centred head, imposts and keystone, the string course stepped over it (opening into a recess approx. 1 1/2 metres deep, and now partly blocked: (purpose not known). The rear, or west front of this wing, of 5 bays, has a corner turret like those at the front, and fenestration matching its return wall, with 3 windows at 2nd floor with Dutch gables above them. Projecting to the rear is the C16 building incorporating the medieval fabric. It is rectangular in plan, formed by 3 ranges enclosing a small inner courtyard, and 2 storeys, with string courses on 2 levels and 2 square corner turrets. The south range, containing the medieval chapel at 1st floor (altered as parlour, see below) with ground floor undercroft, has in its south wall 2 deeply-chamfered square-headed lancets and a 3-light mullioned window at ground floor and 4 irregularly disposed cross-windows above, and in its gable end (the right-hand part of the west front) 2 similar lancets at ground floor and one cross-window above; further left this front has a Tudor-arched doorway approached by steps, with a bell in a square opening over it, 2 circular windows and 3 cross-windows, and at 1st floor 3 other cross-windows. There is a parapet to the west range, linking the gables of the north and south ranges. The corner turrets, of 3 stages, have narrow windows in the outer walls; those at 1st floor divided by transoms. The north range has 2 cross-windows on each floor, those at 1st floor coupled, a narrow window on each floor close to the junction with the main building; and a larqe chimney on the ridge. Interior: development history obscured by successive alterations, but the principal range of the C17 building appears to incorporate the front range of the C16 house in altered form, the room to the left of the main door being its hall, with a massive external chimney stack to its rear (courtyard) wall and remains of a stone arched fireplace visible in a cupboard in this wall; the medieval chapel, converted to a parlour by the Witham family (known as Lady Betty Hastings' parlour) has a wooden fireplace surround and overmantel in Renaissance style, and moulded plaster ceiling with pendants, both dated 1588, and C17 panelling; the dining room in the south-west corner of the south wing has restored C18 panelling and fireplace, and in its rear wall a black marble buffet framed by pilasters and an entablature with cornice; the northern part of the main range is double-pile, a central ccrridor running through it with massive stone architraves to the doors on both aides; there is an elaborately decorated cross-corner fireplace in the closet at the south end of the hall, and 2 others in closets at the east end of the south wing (now flat). Pevsner pp 304-6; Derek Linstrum, West Yorkshire Architects and Architecture.

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