Ponden Hall, Stanbury, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire
Ponden Hall, located just outside Stanbury near Haworth in West Yorkshire, is a unique house dating back in parts to 1541. This stunning detached property boasts a wealth of character features alongside extensive and fascinating historical connections to the Bronte family and their literature. This superb Grade II* listed home which is now an award-winning bed and breakfast, sits in extensive grounds of approximately 4 acres with spectacular panoramic views over Ponden Reservoir and the open countryside beyond.
This substantial property extending to 5,000 sq ft is steeped in history throughout, with the east end dating back to 1541, the main house dating back to 1634, the former free-standing Peat Loft at the west end of the house dating back to 1680, which was then joined to the main house in the major renovation of 1801. This upgrade saw the formation of a grand new entrance and the installation of reputedly 'the finest library in the West Riding'. This became a regular and significant resource for the Bronte sisters and the house itself is widely accepted to be the inspiration for the interiors of both Wuthering Heights and Wildfell Hall.
Ponden Hall has been sympathetically renovated over 20 years by the present owners and offers versatile accommodation, with up to ten bedrooms, ideal for its current running as a bed and breakfast over the last four years with scope for further expansion, but which could also easily be a superb family home. In the meantime, Ponden Hall continues to welcome a stream of guests from all over the world, either to immerse themselves in the Bronte experience or simply enjoy a restful break in beautiful country surroundings. The uniformly 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor speak for themselves.
As you approach the house a large stone plaque above the front door details the evolution of the house up to the major conversion of 1801, the very year that Emily Bronte's iconic Wuthering Heights begins.
The ground floor of the house which predominantly has underfloor heating comprises: entrance hallway with original stone-flagged flooring and an original feature stained-glass window, guest bedroom, again with flagged flooring, character beams and a Jack n' Jill bathroom fitted with a three-piece suite including a bath with shower over, wash hand basin and w/c. There is also access to this bathroom from the main hallway.
An inner hallway, again with feature stained-glass window dating back to 1801 gives access to the principal rooms of this grand house. The formal living/dining room is a truly magnificent room with beamed ceiling, stone-flagged flooring, mullioned windows, a feature fireplace with wood burning stove and a large inbuilt deep wooden cupboard dating back to 1801. A useful storage room gives access to the cellar which extends to approximately the size of the main kitchen. The kitchen offers a great family room with ample space for a dining table and chairs, and has a fitted range of units, a tall inbuilt larder cupboard and more than enough room for additional large, free-standing pieces of furniture for storage; there is an oil-fired, four-oven AGA which also heats the hot water, an inset Belfast sink, stone-flagged flooring, a door to the rear courtyard and spectacular views overlooking the gardens and beyond. Leading off the kitchen is a utility room which has a large storage cupboard, work surfaces with provision under for a washing machine and tumble dryer. In addition, there is a useful 'cold room' with ample shelving and keeping slabs dating back to the initial 1541 development. This gives access to a modern bathroom which has a feature exposed stone wall and is fitted with a three-piece suite, including bath with shower over, wash hand basin with storage below and w/c.
A second bedroom is housed in the original Tudor part of the building and features a magnificent open stone fireplace, stone-flagged flooring, mullioned windows overlooking the formal front gardens and charming beams.
The main wide staircase leads to the open landing which gives access to all the upstairs accommodation. To one side are two bedrooms, a shower room and a store room, which could easily be reconfigured to create one or two larger rooms.
To the other side are the remaining bedrooms: the current main guest bedroom, which would make an ideal master suite, houses a tiny single-paned window within a large, panelled box bed, which according to tradition is the window which inspired Emily Bronte's story of Cathy's ghost in Wuthering Heights, clawing at the glass, desperate to get in to where the novel's narrator Lockwood is sleeping fitfully. "I muttered, knocking my knuckles through the glass, and stretching an arm out to seize the importunate branch; instead of which, my fingers closed on the fingers of a little, ice-cold hand!". It is recorded that a box bed was built and bolted into the wall around this window, where it remained until the late 1940s. It is also adjacent to a mullioned window on the south-facing gable, believed to be the one Emily Bronte sketched when just 10 years old, in which a menacing character smashes a fist through the central glass panel. Further features in this room include a magnificent vaulted ceiling with character beams, a stone fireplace housing a wood-burning stove, stone mullioned windows, exposed stone walls, a secret doorway through an inset bookcase and an en-suite shower room, including a double shower cubicle, wash hand basin and w/c.
Another bedroom is the original Ponden Hall library which features two double cupboards with original wood panelling and window seat beneath a stone mullioned window, dating back to 1801. It is known that Emily, Branwell, their father Patrick, and likely the other Brontes, all used the library regularly. A catalogue still exists of the extraordinary collection of books here, from which scholars have identified some of the influential sources for the Brontes' novels. The library also contained a Shakespeare first folio, although the books were sold at Keighley marketplace in 1899 after the last of the Heatons, who originally built the house, died.
To this central landing is one further large bedroom which features an exposed stone wall, feature beams and stone mullioned windows with a window seat. An internal feature stained-glass window depicting Ponden Hall itself allows light to shine through from the landing, and is a beautiful feature of this room. A modern house bathroom with ample storage services this room and the original library.
A doorway from the landing leads through into a further enormous bedroom spanning the full width of the house, which originally in the 1800s was used for weaving. This room features a vaulted wood ceiling with wooden beams, original pitch-pine flooring, a feature fireplace with wood-burning stove, six stone mullioned windows at either end of the room, with seating below offering views over the reservoir and landscape at the back, and the courtyard and stone mounting block at the front. An original door dating back to 1801 leads into the en-suite shower room, which is also fitted with a wash hand basin, pedestal and w/c.
The Peat Loft which can be accessed from both the previous bedroom, but which also has its own private entrance, is an ideal self-contained annexe dating back to 1680. Having been modernised by the current owners, the upstairs is an open-plan living/dining kitchen. The kitchen is fitted with a range of cream shaker-style wall and base-level units with work surfaces over and tiled splashbacks. There is a range of integrated appliances including double oven with electric induction hob over, extractor fan, washer/dryer and dishwasher. There is a vaulted ceiling with wooden beams, varying shape and sized windows, and an entrance door. Possibly the most unique selling point of this beautiful room is the six hidden faces carved into the exposed stone walls - they are not all so easy to find! The underfloor heating beneath the solid English pippy oak flooring is the perfect system to heat this space.
The Peat Loft is also believed to be the place in which Anne, Emily and Branwell Bronte took shelter in 1824, during the great Crow Hill Bog Burst (a cataclysmic mudslide caused by a thunderstorm after days of rain), when they had been walking on the moor with their servant Sarah Garrs. Mr Bronte ran from the parsonage to Ponden to rescue them, believing them to have been caught in an earthquake, and preached a sermon, later published, about his children's miraculous rescue.
An ash staircase leads to the lower level of the Peat Loft where there are two generous double bedrooms, both en-suite, one with a large walk-in shower cubicle, a wash hand basin, pedestal and w/c, the other with a bath and shower over, wash hand basin, pedestal and w/c. One of the bedrooms also has a door leading outside. Underfloor heating is installed throughout the Peat Loft ground floor as well.
Outside, Ponden Hall is set in simply stunning grounds extending to approximately four acres. A long, sweeping tarmacadamed lane leads up to a gravelled parking area with ample space for numerous vehicles and two outdoor storage units, ideal for gardening equipment. To the front of the house is a partially walled courtyard which leads to the front door. To the left are steps leading up to a gravelled seating area with flowered borders, and to the right, a gate opening up into the extensive formal south-facing walled gardens, which has a variety of beautiful seating areas, mature trees, and shrubs. There is also a separate large walled garden with lawn and borders, accessed from the lane, making a delightfully private and peaceful spot.
To the rear of the property is a private courtyard area which can be accessed from the kitchen, as well as from pathways that run around the house. There are splendid paddocks which run all the way down to the reservoir and the views from this side of the house are truly breathtaking.
This particularly special home truly needs to be viewed to fully appreciate the quality accommodation on offer, and the special history that is an integral part of it. Viewing highly recommended.
The village of Stanbury is located approximately 1 mile west of Haworth, 4 miles south-west from Keighley and 7 miles east from Colne in Lancashire. Ponden Hall is within comfortable commuter distance to Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.
There are a number of local amenities in nearby Stanbury including a primary school, three public houses, 'The Wuthering Heights', 'The Old Silent Inn' and 'The Friendly' as well as 'Scar Top Shopping Village' which is approximately 2 miles away. Directly from the house is access on to the famous Pennine Way with several stunning walks across Bronte Country from the front door.
The village of Haworth offers further good amenities including a variety of shops, restaurants and takeaways. There are good transport links including a regular bus service and a train station. There is a further primary school in Haworth and two secondary schools in Keighley and Cullingworth. Possibly the most notable attraction in Haworth is the Bronte Parsonage Museum which brings excellent tourism to the village.
The nearby town of Keighley has a larger range of amenities including three large supermarkets, a large indoor shopping centre which houses most of the town's high-street shops. Keighley benefits from an electrified railway service which has good connections to Leeds, Bradford, Shipley, Bingley and Skipton. The railway station at nearby Hebden Bridge offers regular direct trains in to Manchester. The Keighley and Worth Valley railway is a heritage steam railway which links the town with Haworth, Oakworth, Oxenhope and the Bronte Country.
- Unique House Dating Back in Parts to 1541
- Plethora of Character Features Throughout
- Extensive and Fascinating Historical Connections
- Sympathetically Modernised
- Two Bedroom Self Contained Annexe
- Set in 4 Acres
- Spectacular Panoramic Views
- Bed and Breakfast Opportunity
- Village Amenities Close By