Nostalgia: Friends of friends get low down on neighbour’s barn

Stank Hall.
Stank Hall.
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DEspite the fact it now has its own friends group, it’s probably still true most people do not realise Leeds’s oldest building stands in a field opposite the White Rose Centre.

This week, another friends group, the Friends of Oakwell Hall, Birstall, got a glimpse of the work going on at Stank Hall.

According to them, the old hall now has electric lighting inside and work is progressing on creating a Medieval-style garden with raised beds.

Friends magazine editor Lesley Hudson said: “It’s a magnificent structure and amazing that it has survived.

“Reputed to date from 1420 with some rebuilding in 1492 - allegedly using timber left over from the fleet of ships built for Christopher Columbus which has been tree ring dated to between 1448 and 1490 - the barn was originally covered in wattle-and-daub, the only stonework being the padstones supporting the main upright posts and the masonry on the lower external walls.

“In the 17th Century the southern end of the barn was replaced with a two storey stone building and this is said to have been used as a chapel by Major Joshua Greathead (1616-1684) who fought in Cromwell’s army at the Battle of Adwalton Moor in 1644 and was later involved in the Farnley Wood Plot.

“The site actually consists of three listed buildings, Stank Hall Barn, Stank Hall and New Hall.

“The latter two are Grade II listed whilst the barn itself is Grade II*.

“This is one of West Yorkshire’s most important surviving medieval tithe barns and was built for the Beeston family and used by them for the storage of crops.

“In fact the barn was used for this purpose and for stabling horses and sheltering cattle until the mid 1960s when it was abandoned.

“Unfortunately and despite having been restored by Leeds City Council during the 1980s - a refurbishment which won an award for architecture - the barn and the two adjacent buildings have once again fallen into disrepair and have suffered thefts and vandalism.”

Contact the Friends of Stank Hall Barn via their website: friendsofstankhallbarn and Oakwell friends are also available online.

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