The Bothy at East Riddlesden Hall

A long stone building housing the tea-room and shop

The Bothy is the first building to greet you on your visit to East Riddlesden Hall. Step through the doorway into the shop and admissions space and receive a warm welcome from our friendly team.

This space is not to be over looked; for the eagle eyed you will notice traces of a carved plasterwork frieze and the simple yet pleasing fireplace.            

Traditionally a Bothy would have provided basic accommodation for estate or farm workers; however, given the intricacy and delicate touches, the question is raised of ‘was this home to a grander tenant’?  We believe that James Murgatroyd and his wife Mary took up residence in 1642 while elaborate renovations were taking place in the Hall itself.    

From the outside, the view of four identical doors often leaves our visitors pondering which one to open in order to regain entry to the tea-room and shop.  Look above at the curious lintels over the doorways; these are delightful characteristics which can be found as features throughout the Hall.

Over one of the doors the initials of J.M.M and J.S.M., for James Murgatroyd, John Murgatroyd and their wives, with the date of 1642.  Look a little closer on the battlements above and see two weathered images, which were carved as a reference to Charles I and his Queen, with the motto ‘VIVE LE ROY’ – ‘long live the King’. The date gives reference to 1642, which was the start of the civil war. It’s clear from this where James Murgatroyd’s allegiance lay. The stone rainwater spouts are both reminiscent of an earlier age of architecture, architecture which has stood the test of time and elements of the Aire valley. 

Prior to 1603 this building may have been used as a laithe (a field barn storing cows and hay), an ox house, turf house or outhouse for the estate.  In 1603 East Riddlesden’s Bothy was extended to its current size. In later years the Bothy would have been accommodation for estate workers and even animals.  

The tearoom interior as it looked in 1925
Pencil drawing of the tearoom interior in 1925
The tearoom interior as it looked in 1925

Today, we offer a far cozier welcome, from a hot chocolate in the winter months, to the English tradition of tea and scones in the warmth of spring and summer, all still to be enjoyed under the original 400 year old beams.