Shibden Hall: a story of disinheritance (Yorkshire)

After we had visited Dove Cottage Garden & Nursery (only 2 minutes’ drive away), we called into Shibden Hall.  D didn’t come inside, having visited many times before while doing craft fayres there.  D sat outside while I went inside, as I couldn’t remember anything from the craft fayre visits other than the cart sheds out back.  In the arches that you see in the picture below, are some seats where people (such as D) who don’t want to pay to go inside can sit, and wait for me.


From Wikapedia:

“For three hundred years (c. 1615-1926) the Shibden estate was in the hands of the Lister family, wealthy mill-owners and cloth merchants, the most famous resident being Anne Lister (1791–1840), who became sole owner of the hall after the death of her aunt. She commissioned York architect John Harper and landscape gardener Samuel Gray in 1830 to make extensive improvements to the house and grounds. A gothic tower was added to the building for use as a library and the major features of the park created, including terraced gardens, rock gardens, cascades and a boating lake. A “Paisley shawl” garden designed for the terrace by Joshua Major was added in the 1850s. On Anne Lister’s death in the Caucasus the estate passed to her lesbian lover, Ann Walker, who died insane in an asylum. Possession then returned to the Lister family, who donated it to Halifax Corporation.

The estate became a public park in 1926 and the hall a museum in 1934.”

Here is where one sees the dispossession, the last owner having died walking in a remote and cold region, she was repatriated to England by her same-sex lover, but the common moral standard of society couldn’t accept that at the time, and the lover who stood to inherit was declared insane so that the property could be removed from her ownership.  Handy how there’s always a volunteer about who wants to share these juicy bits of a house’s history.  Of course, it’s what I remember!



When visited: Summer 2016


2 thoughts on “Shibden Hall: a story of disinheritance (Yorkshire)

  1. I think building a new Gothic tower for a library was very sensible. If the downstairs rooms were dark, the tower would have been light and airy.

  2. How interesting! The chaplain of the Anglican church we attend here is Florence is from Yorkshire and his name is William Lister. I’ll have to ask him if he’s familiar with Shibden Hall. Many thanks, Robin!

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