Homes plan for historic hall

An old hall steeped in history could be restored and turned into housing.

Friday, 4th August 2017, 3:59 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 12:46 pm
Featherstone Hall

Plans have been drawn up to create three homes in Featherstone Hall, restore its coach house, and demolish the stable block and conservatory to make way for 11 more new homes in its grounds.

Featherstone councillor Graham Isherwood said he was pleased the site “would not be left to rack and ruin”.

But Ian Clayton, who lives nearby, has mixed views about the plan. The writer and broadcaster said: “In a time when there is a massive housing shortage, it is almost impossible to object to more housing being built.

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Writer and broadcaster Ian Clayton at his home near Featherstone. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1004/96a

“But it is a pity that we do not appreciate the history that’s on our doorstep as much as we ought to do. I am pleased the house itself is going to be preserved, but what about the gardens and land with it?

“It has a very important and interesting history and it’s going to disappear.”

Mr Clayton, who has researched the hall’s history, said he wanted to inform people about the heritage of the site, believed to date back to the 1700s.

Originally a farmhouse, it was first recognised as a hall, Mr Clayton says, in 1842.

Writer and broadcaster Ian Clayton at his home near Featherstone. Picture Scott Merrylees SM1004/96a

It was at this point taken over by Jeremiah Bourn Faviell, who sat on the committee for the Wakefield to Goole railway company. Mr Faviell laid out the hall’s gardens and was recognised for growing a Cantaloupe melon weighing 121lbs.

Mr Clayton said the hall was then home to several farmers, before being taken over by pit owners George Bradley in 1865 and then the First Baron Masham in 1890.

It was lived in by pit manager Alfred Holiday in the late 19th century and later by his son Roslyn Holiday.

Roslyn’s wife Amelie, an artist, designed an exotic bird conservatory where she kept parrots.

In 1939, Dr Robert Forster took over the building and later ran a medical practice there. Mr Clayton said the hall was then lived in by Mr Forster’s son from 1952 until several years ago.

Planning documents submitted to Wakefield Council state the renovation aims to “retain heritage assets including Featherstone Hall, which is currently in a poor state of repair”.