A to Z of Leeds: The Farnley Wood Plot

We all know Leeds is a great city, right?

Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 11:30 am
Farnley Hall in June 1949. PIC: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net
Farnley Hall in June 1949. PIC: Leeds Libraries, www.leodis.net

There are many reasons for this bold claim, from the people who've called this place home, to the history of the region, the developments underway and the talent and creativity we see on a daily basis. Here, we go through the alphabet to give you some reasons to be proud.


It was mentioned during the reign of Edward I (1239-1307) when William Neville of Horny Castle Lancaster, married Ann, daughter of Sir John Danville, Lord of Farnley. It was rebuilt in 1586 and expanded again in the 19th century but some of the original structure still stands.

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It was in the woods surrounding this old hall that the notorious Farnley Wood Plot took place in 1663, when conspirators met in a bid to overthrow the recently enthroned Charles II but they were caught, 21 arrested and sentenced to death, including three who were beheaded on Chapeltown Moor in 1664, their heads mounted outside Leeds Moot Hall.

Occupied since the 1800s by the Armitage family, Robert Armitage, a former Lord Mayor of Leeds, was still in residence in 1929. He was noted as a kind man and donated several acres of land as a playing area for local youths before his death in February 1943. Afterwards, there were fears the hall and its 130 acre estate would be sold to builders and more than 3,000 people signed a petition against the plans.

In December 1944, Leeds Corporation was asked to buy the hall and estate for £14,000, which they did - it is now headquarters of the parks department.

There is another Farnley Hall just outside Otley, which is also of great renown but the two should not be confused.



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Laura Collins