Leeds nostalgia: green shoots revival for Stank Hall Barn

Stank Hall.
Stank Hall.
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It was considered the Las Vegas of its day but 500 years on and the ruin that is Stank Hall Barn, Leeds’s oldest building, is seeing the green shoots of a revival, thanks largely to the friends group which formed about two years ago.

Stank Hall is a 15th Century tithe barn in Beeston. It stands in a field opposite the White Rose Shopping Centre. It is Grade II* listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

A former hunting lodge attached to Rothwell Castle, it was far from anywhere, out in the woods, out of sight and mind and when the king came to hunt, it would have been very much a case of ‘what happens in Beeston stays in Beeston.’

Now The Friends of Stank Hall Barn - www.friendsofstankhallbarn.wordpress.com - have been given permission to create a Medieval-style garden, growing vegetables from the era.

Jeremy Morton from the group said they were looking forward to beginning planting, adding the food would be grown in raised beds. He said: “This is all about getting the local community more involved with this building, so if anyone wants to do that, they are more than welcomed to come and lend a hand.”

Local myth has it that some of the timbers used to build Stank Hall came from wood left over from the fleet of ships built for Christopher Columbus. Evidence the site was occupied prior to the 15th Century has turned up in the form of prehistoric flint scrapers and Roman pottery.

To read more about what’s happening at the site, read the Times Past section in this Saturday’s YEP.

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.

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