file:- 0auv    donor:- 068#000    collated:- 06-03-2001 09:23am


Date: 1800s - 1810?

Methley Hall.

M399 Methley Hall, early 1800s - 1810. Methley Hall, early 1800s. Georgian frontage.
On an eminence in his newly acquired parkland in the early 1400s, Robert Waterton erected his Hall, though there may have been an even earlier manor house half a mile to the north and nearer what is now Methley Lane, for here was a rectangular moat called the "Gutter Pond".
Robert Waterton was a man of great importance and his name frequently appears in the documents of his time. Shakespeare makes mention of him in King Richard 11. He was Master of the King's horses and armour, became Constable of Pontefract and guarded the Duke of Orleans in Pontefract Castle. He often represented the King on overseas visits.
Waterton's Hall reflected his position, and was probably built of stone on an H plan, a central hall with cross wings. It was one of the largest in the area.
Waterton's Hall was bought by John Savile, Baron of the Exchequer, at the end of the 16th century. He too was an eminent man, knighted by James 1st at his coronation.
John Savile and later his son almost completely rebuilt Waterton's Hall, and, as he came from Halifax area, Savile employed the Ackroyd brothers - well known Halifax builders - to undertake the work. They also built Merton College (Oxford) and the Bodleian Library - illustrates the importance of John Savile.
There are no visual records of Savile's early Hall, but from contemporary writers
( Camden in his Brittania 1551-1623, and Thoresby in his 1709 account) we learn the Hall was built almost like a castle round a square court, and had a moat with a drawbridge and portcullis.
This first Hall after its alterations stood almost unchanged until the Saviles were created Baron Pollington of Longford, Ireland, in 1752, and Viscount Pollington and Earl Mexborough of Lifford, 1766.
The Hall was again altered to suit this new status. The first Earl extended the frontage of the building in the Georgian style of the day, as visible in this picture, with the Mexborough coat of arms on the front of the property. The moat had to be filled in as it undermined the frontage of the extended building- before 1789.
This new frontage - as on picture- was built before 1778. It was a plain building, its only adornment a balustrade broken by a pediment in which were set the family crest of arms and lions supporters. The windows were sashed with 2 bays on the ground floor, the forerunners of later highered battlemented bays. John Carr of York was the architect. Though plain without, the interior was lavishly furnished by later Earls, especially the 2nd Earl.
Note ladies strolling in front of the Hall, wearing typical dresses of the period, the deer in the forefront and on the left side the Great Hall rebuilt by first Saviles on Waterton's plan, - new upper storey added to the Great Hall and a new entrance.

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