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History of Weetwood Award Winning Leeds Hotel Since 1926

History of Weetwood Hall

It is fairly certain that an ancient farm was in existence on this site in the "Wappentake of Skyrack" in the 16th Century. The oldest part of the Manor House is to the rear with stone mullioned windows dating from around 1540.

The estate was in the possession of the Foxcroft family for at least 100 years from the latter half of the 16th Century, being miscalled as "Wettlewood" A history of Leeds refers to Weetwood as "Where a pleasant seat ..." was rebuilt by Daniel Foxcroft Esq. in 1625 as dated above the porch of the original entrance.

Decorative plasterwork as seen on the ceilings in the Manor House came to England through Henry VIII. It is thought that Daniel Foxcroft added the designs of the Tudor Rose, Lion of England and the thistle amongst others in the early part of the 17th Century. As you look up after entering via the original porch-way a framed lion's head can still be seen in the ceiling.

In the 18th Century it is recorded that Weetwood was owned by John Gelder as in 1743 an advertisement appeared "To be lett, Weetwood Hall, situate in the township of Hedingley in the parish of Leeds" was put up for sale.

Shortly afterwards the property came into the possession of the Whalley family and in 1813 it was bought by the Beckett family although they never lived there; it was occupied for some years by Joseph Oates. After various tenancies the property was altered and extended by Alf Cooke, a self-made, wealthy Yorkshire man whose initials can still be seen on the stone columns that support the wrought iron gates by the main entrance.

During the 1914-18 war the Hall was requisitioned by the war office and used as a convalescent hospital for officers.

The university bought the estate in 1919 with the house becoming a Hall of residence for women students and the land being farmed by tenant farmers.

Up to 30 young women took up residence and were given grants to cover their residence fees. The vision was that these students who would hopefully become teachers would recognise the immense value of living in such a Hall. Plans were soon made to extend the Hall with a large main block built between 1925-1927 and still affectionately referred to as "1926".

Extracts from M. B. Carey Ll.B. Warden 1948-1967

Weetwood continued as a Hall of residence through to the 1990's when the decision was made to close the facility. In 1993 Weetwood Hall started its new life as one of the foremost Conference Centres and Hotel in the North of England. As they say "the rest is history".

The Weetwood Hall Sculpture

In 2005 the decision was taken to overhaul the turning circle at Weetwood Hall. Once the issues of accessibility and disabled parking were resolved only one question remained. What shall we do with the space in the middle of the turning circle?

The concept of a sculpture was agreed and we commissioned a new piece of artwork that would capture the essence of Weetwood Hall. Meetings with artists ensued and we decided on the inspirational sculptor, Steve Blaylock. Steve's unique metal work has been well acclaimed in many places, including The Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Harlow Carr and the BBC Blue Peter Garden! www.metalsculpture.co.uk

Steve proposed a cairn of Yorkshire stone supporting an oak tree of steel and bronze crowned by three magnificent owls.

The emblem of the three owls has been the official symbol of Leeds since the 1660's. It was originally the coat of arms of a knight called Sir John Saville, the first Alderman of the City. The owls at Weetwood Hall echo the gold statuary that adorns the Leeds City Council building.

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