Restored to glory: Transforming Clarke Hall from a museum to a home

Clarke Hall
Clarke Hall after its no-expense-spared restoration
Clarke Hall Clarke Hall after its no-expense-spared restoration

A renowned council-run living museum in Wakefield has been put up for sale by a couple who have spent a lifetime of rescuing and restoring historic homes,

Trevor and Kathleen Marshall had decided to put their hobby on hold but it wasn’t long before they were tempted out of retirement by Clarke Hall, proving that you’re never too old to tackle a property project.

Clarke Hall
The grounds include a maze

Clarke Hall The grounds include a maze

Mr Marshall is almost 90, his wife is in her eighties and they have just put the finishing touches to a sensitive restoration of the magnificent hall, which had spent almost 40 years as a council-run living museum.

“We lived close by and went to view it just to see what it was like. We had no intention of buying it but we couldn’t resist because we had never done a 17th century house before and this one was untouched,” said Mrs Marshall.

The council had preserved the period features, which include a priest hole, decorative plaster ceilings and original mounting blocks, but it had no modern amenities.

The couple, both scientists, have spent two years on the project, overseeing the rewiring, replumbing, addition of bathrooms and the swapping of storage heaters for period-style radiators, along with redecorating. They were helped by a team of trusted artisans, including their son.

Inside 
Clarke Hall
The period features include this heraldic ceiling

Inside Clarke Hall The period features include this heraldic ceiling

The Marshalls are selling the 5,500sq ft, grade II star listed property reluctantly due to health issues.

“We spared no expense on Clarke Hall and there there is no profit in the sale but we enjoyed every minute of the restoration journey and feel privileged to have done it. I think that it marks the end of our property adventuring,” said Mrs Marshall, though her husband is not so sure. “Never say never,” he said.

Clarke Hall, which comes with three acres of grounds, is off the Aberford Road in Wakefield and is five minutes drive from the M1.

The ground floor has a dining hall with original stone fireplace and floor, a utility room, panelled drawing room with heraldic ceiling, a library/sitting room, breakfast kitchen with inglenook and bespoke cabinets by Peter Thompson of York. There is also a self-contained, one bedroom living space with kitchen and shower room.

The first floor is accessed by a sensational staircase leading to a panelled through chamber with priest hole.

There is also a store room, principal bedroom, a guest suite and two further bedrooms. Outside, there is a cobbled courtyard, extensive lawns,

an ornamental maze and paddock land.

Simon Wright, of Carter Jonas, says: “I sold the hall to Mr and Mrs Marshall when it was a museum so it’s like an old friend. The restoration work they have done is amazing.”

Clarke Hall is on the market for £850,000