Bolling Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It is currently used as a museum and education centre.
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Bolling Hall - History - The White Goddess

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Saturday, 25 June 2022

Bolling Hall

Bolling Hall

Bolling Hall

When one thinks of Bradford, instantly a large city of sprawling run down terraced houses springs to mind. However, hidden away, close to the centre of the city is Bolling Hall, a beautiful 15th century stone house, that does not fit into the general idea of the city.

Bolling Hall was first mentioned as far back as the Domesday Book (1086) owned then by a person named Sindi. The house then being worth five shillings annual rent (25p in today’s money). Bolling Hall then passed into the hands of the de Laci family, Ilbert de Laci was granted the land by William the Conqueror, for his services in the battle of Hastings.

There is no record to show how long the de Laci family owned the Hall, or what changes were made structurally. However, after the reference in the Domesday Book, the next recorded owner was William Bolling in 1316, so we can assume that the de Laci family owned the Hall for 230 years.

Records show that the Bolling family increased their wealth and accumulation of land during the 13th and 14th century, and by the 15th century were an important family in the West Riding.

It was during the War of the Roses, that Robert Bolling temporarily lost Bolling Hall, his land and manor houses were forfeited to the crown, (Edward IV). This was his punishment for fighting for the Lancastrians, his life only being spared by pardon of the King.

Robert Bolling lived with his wife and 10 children in impoverished circumstances. It wasn’t until 1472 (11 years later), did he ask for the return of his lands, claiming that he had fought in the battle against his will. Robert Bolling commanded the support of the Duke of Gloucester, and on the back of the petition (now in the Public Records Office), is the endorsement of the Duke of Gloucester, he was later to be crowned King Richard III.

The Hall was now back in the possession of the Bolling family, on the death of Robert Bolling in 1537, his son Tristram inherited the estates, he then later married Beatrice Carverley. They had one child Rosamund, who on her marriage to Richard Tempest in 1497 received Bolling Hall and the lands as part of her dowry. On the death of her father she inherited the estate. Thus Bolling Hall passed to the Tempest family.

Richard Tempest died in prison in 1537, he had taken part in the Rebellion of the Gentry in 1536, he died whilst waiting trial. Rosamund Tempest carried on with the running of the estate until her death in 1553.

The Hall still remained in the Tempest family, as her son Sir John Tempest succeeded to the estate. On his death, the estate passed to his brother Nicholas, by the time Nicholas’ grandson another Sir Richard Tempest inherited the estate, the family fortune was dwindling, and in 1620 he sold the manors of Thorton and Clayton. Sir Richard died in 1639 and his son Richard was the last Tempest to own Bolling Hall.

The Bolling Hall Ghost

The town of Bradford in 1642 was Puritan, and the people of Bradford wanted to be able to worship, and read the Bible as they saw fit. Sir Richard Tempest was a Royalist and believed that the King could rule as he saw fit, and this right was received from God.

In December of 1642, the Royalist army gathered in Bradford, under the command of the Earl of Newcastle. The Earl stayed with Sir Richard Tempest at Bolling Hall. The Earl was angry, that despite having no defences, or army, Bradford had not yet fallen. That night he retired to bed, vowing that come morning, he would kill every man, woman and child.

During the night he was woken by the sensation of his bedclothes being pulled from him. At the side of his bed stood the ghostly figure of a woman, wringing her hands and sobbing, Pity Poor Bradford. The Earl was shaken by what he had seen. The next day the Earl attacked Bradford, but only 10 deaths were recorded.

The local newspaper 20 years ago offered a reward of £50, to anyone who would stay in the Hall overnight. It was never taken up. No one would be allowed to stay in the hall overnight now, to see if a ghostly figure of the sobbing woman would appear. This is a great pity, as I for one would love to be able to stay and watch.

Today Bolling Hall is owned by Bradford Council, and is used as a Museum and Education centre for school children. The house as been restored, and a fine collection of 16th and 17th century furniture, along with a bed made by Chippendale for Harewood House. A collection of paintings from Bradford Museum by English artists including Reynolds, hang on the walls of Bolling Hall.

Bolling Hall Road
West Yorkshire

Monday - Tuesday Closed
Wednesday - Friday 11:00am to 4:00pm
Saturday 10:00am to 5:00pm
Sunday 12:00am to 5:00pm
Bank Holiday Mondays 11:00am to 4:00pm

[Image: ©copyright David Spencer]

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