A look at the history of Braithwaite Hall, Leyburn, with Dr Emma Wells

in Coverham in East Witton in Middleham

Braithwaite Hall can be found down a snaking singletrack lane on the outskirts of the small village of East Witton in the Coverdale Valley. It shares the landscape with the remains of an Iron-Age hillfort perched just above the hall on a north facing slope known as Braithwaite Banks, so this really is a land brimming with history—so much so, the origins of ‘Braithwaite’ derive from Old Norse and roughly translate to ‘broad clearing’ which is suggestive of the type of wooded topography that once covered this area. In fact, the land was formerly a forest which provided firewood to neighbouring Middleham Castle.

Image name braithwaite hall coverdale north yorkshire the 1 image from the post A look at the history of Braithwaite Hall, Leyburn, with Dr Emma Wells in Yorkshire.com.

The site of Braithwaite Hall itself dates back at least to the 14th century when records confirm it was a grange farm attributed to nearby Jervaulx Abbey and, in the late 15th century, comprised part of the manor of Middleham (it is thought that a deserted medieval village lays as earthworks beneath the adjoining fields). From then on it was a tenanted farm, with occupants exploiting the mineral wealth of the estate, mining coal and limestone.

What remains of the property, however, is primarily a product of 1667, when the house faced a major remodelling. This rubble-built property features ashlar dressings beneath a slate roof laid out on an E-plan, with a pair of projecting wings, while the interior still delights with period panelling, fireplaces, and an oak staircase. At the time of its transformation, the hall was home to the Purchas family, who acted as stewards or bailiffs to the owners of the Middleham estate. Benjamin Purchas was a steward, working the mines in Arkengarthdale, and his influence persuaded local nobleman Thomas Wood to purchase Braithwaite Hall and estate for £2,500 in 1682. However, it is said to have also been owned by the City of London at some point during the 17th century.

Now a bed and breakfast maintained by a local farmer, it is also in the care of the National Trust so visitation can be undertaken via appointment.

Address: Braithwaite Hall Bed & Breakfast, Braithwaite Ln, Leyburn DL8 4SY

Books by Dr Emma Wells

Related Accommodation

The accommodation below is nearby - and has been updated recently.

Orchard Cottage

East Witton, HG4 4PQ, United Kingdom

Spring Cottage

Spring Cottage, Spring Cottage, 50 The Springs, Middleham, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 4RB, United Kingdom


Demonicus, Demonicus, Market Place, Middleham, Leyburn, North Yorkshire, DL8 4NP, United Kingdom

Leave a Comment