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Shibden Hall

A photograph of Shibden Hall, an impressive Tudor panelled building with a tower to the left, two wide frontages and an ornamental garden in the foreground.

Wednesday 05 July
Depart: Parkinson Steps: 13.00
Arrive: Parkinson Steps: 19.00
Price: £27.50

Shibden Hall is a Grade II* listed historic house located in a public park just outside of Halifax in West Yorkshire. The hall dates back to 1420, and there are substantial remains of the timber-framed building and its medieval core so that, although it has been extensively modified by generations of residents over the years, it still retains a late-medieval atmosphere. For more than 300 years, the Shibden estate was owned by the Lister family, who were wealthy mill owners and cloth merchants. The Lister family donated the house to the Halifax Corporation in 1933. The Hall is now a visitor attraction, surrounded by the restored gardens and estate that forms Shibden Park. The site also includes a 17th-century aisled barn and adjacent workshops that house a carriage collection and displays relating to different crafts (including blacksmiths, coopers, wheelwrights, and saddlers).

By far the most famous resident of Shibden Hall was Anne Lister (1791-1840), whose now famous diaries documented her ‘love’ for ‘the fairer sex’. After inheriting Shibden Hall in 1826, Anne extensively renovated the hall to improve its status, including adding a Gothic tower to serve as her private library. She lived with her partner, Ann Walker, at Shibden Hall from 1834 until Anne’s death in 1840 during a trip to the Caucasus. Anne Lister’s life has recently been the focus of the BBC drama series written by Sally Wainwright, Gentleman Jack.

This tour will primarily focus on the remnants of the medieval hall and its evolution, but delegates will also have the opportunity to learn more about the life of one of Yorkshire’s most famous (albeit non-medieval) residents, who is often described as ‘the first modern lesbian’.

Due to the size of the hall, it will not be possible for the entire group to visit at once. Participants will be divided into smaller groups for the tour of the hall but will also have time for independent exploration of the barn and grounds.

This tour will be guided by David Cant of the Yorkshire Vernacular Building Study Group.