TV Historian, Dr Emma Wells, on the architecture and history of Goldsborough Hall

in Knaresborough

Set within 12 acres of picturesque, landscaped gardens within the sleepy village of Goldsborough, just 15-minutes’ drive from the historic spa town of Harrogate, this magnificent example of Jacobean architecture seems almost ripped from the pages of an Austen novel. Its architecture is characterized by a symmetrically fronted, red-brick design with decorative sandstone, not to mention 18th-century Robert Adam interiors, and remodelling work by the inestimable John Carr of York.

Steeped in over four centuries of history, the hall was constructed in the early 1600s by Sir Richard Hutton, the acting Lord Chief Justice, whose sons became the MP for Knaresborough and High Sheriff of Yorkshire. It later passed down the female side of the family into the ownership of the Byerleys; then in the 1750s was purchased by Daniel Lascelles, whose family became the Earls of Harewood. It was Daniel who took to remodelling the property in the fashionable neo-classical style it still bears.

Ever since, Goldsborough has played host to plenty of distinguished owners and guests, including Oliver Cromwell’s army during their siege of nearby Knaresborough Castle during the English Civil War. However, it is perhaps most noteworthy for being the home of HRH Princess Mary, the daughter of King George V and Queen Mary (the late Queen’s aunt) upon her marriage in 1922 to Viscount Lascelles, later becoming the 6th Earl of Harewood. The newlyweds resided in the hall for several years before eventually moving to Harewood House, their principal residence.

During World War II, the hall housed Oatlands School, which is now the site of St Aidan’s in
Harrogate. After serving as a nursing home, it then remained empty and fell into a state of disrepair until it was purchased by the local Oglesby family in 2005. They extensively renovated the property and transformed it into a luxury hotel and event venue.

Books by Dr Emma Wells

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