The house

Discover the stories that make this such a special place.

The story of East Riddlesden Hall has been shaped over the years by the contrasting influences of town and countryside, agriculture and industry, civil war and peace. This intimate 17th century manor house built above the River Aire was once at the heart of the agricultural estate of Riddlesden.

The early site

A manor has existed on this site since the 7th century. 
Following the Norman invasion in 1066 and subsequent conquest, ownership of the site is believed to have passed from an Anglo-Saxon family to the Norman de Montalt’s.


A medieval hall was built in the early 1300s by descendants of the Norman de Montalt family, where the now-ruined Starkie wing stands.


In 1466 a house was constructed south of the medieval hall by the Paslew family.

Between 1466-1590 the house was extended to double its original size.  This range of dates has been established through a test of the ornate plasterwork ceilings which are still in evidence in the Hall today.


In the 17th century the Hall was transformed into a comfortable manor house by James Murgatroyd, who had made his fortune in the Halifax woollen cloth industry. James bought the manor and 2000 acre estate of Riddlesden from the Rishworth family in 1638 for approximately £6,000, which would be valued at £6,000,000 today.

James was a keen builder and East Riddlesden was intended as a home for his eldest son John.

The property purchased by James looked very different from that which we see today. His alterations to the house were extensive and ostentatious.

The south end was remodelled to create the current two-storey block, and changes were made to the original medieval hall.  The Great Hall was built as a temporary weatherproof structure to link the new Murgatroyd block with the original medieval hall during the re-building programme.

Sadly, James died in 1653 before his alterations to the property were completed.

The architecture and external decoration helped to create an impression of the owner’s quirky sense of style which is still revealed to us today.

Post 1600s

History still continued to be written at East Riddlesden Hall after James' death, and for 300 years after, the house was loved by a number of families before being saved from demolition in 1933.

Downloadable guides

The changing shape of East Riddlesden Hall (PDF / 0.1MB) download