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Stanley Grange

Stanley Grange is by far one of the most interesting properties in the area, but what makes it so interesting does not just lie in the grand appearance of the building, or in what lies inside, it is a culmination of this with the buildings chequered history. Set back from the road at the top of Ouchthorpe Lane, it is almost hidden from view by the many trees that surround it. Like its setting the history of the building has also been hidden from view for many years.

The exact age of the Grange remains a mystery but is thought to be at least 250 years old. There is an entry relating to the Grange in an old manuscript which was written by Rev. Barrett, who was a local Vicar which dates the building to at least the 1750s. In the document Rev. Barrett refers to a Dr Garlick, who bought the Grange from the Hatfeild family, changing its name to Garlick Hall. Dr Garlick was Vicar of Kirkthorpe, and to get to his parish had to cross the River Calder by stepping stones. The document goes on to describe how one day he attempted to cross the river whilst it was in flood and he either drowned or died immediately afterwards of his immersion. Soon afterwards, the story goes, his ghost returned to the Grange.


 The front of Stanley Grange 2010 the building was originally three storeys high and had another wing to the left

During the 18th Century, the property was bought by a Mr Glover, of London for £1,700. He was a sugar refiner who came to Stanley “For the fine country air and healthy position.” Somewhere around this time the properties name was again changed to Stoke House. Mr Glover had the Grange enlarged and had the gardens and grounds laid out as they are today. Mr Glover was also responsible for the construction of Stanley Vicarage and the endowment of Outwood Church and its vicarage.

At some point the Grange reverted back to its original name and during the early 20th Century was owned by Sir Charles McGrath, former clerk to the West Riding County Council. The house was sold by auction in the early 1950s having suffered as most grand houses had during the early 20th Century, many years of neglect. The Property was bought by the Harlow family who made extensive alterations to the building. The third storey was demolished as was the large wing that was on the left of the house. The reasoning for this was probably to make the house more manageable and easier to maintain, the wealth that had built these kinds of houses had all but disappeared after the Victorian era.

The family also had a Spanish house maid which they are reported to have sacked after finding her once too often in the cocktail cabinet. Claude Harlow was a colourful character who owned a fence erecting business that employed a small team of local men. The workers dreaded the van driver being ill as it meant that Claude would be doing the driving that day, he was well known for being a reckless driver leaving the workers in fear for their lives. It was his reckless driving that brought about his untimely death, leaving his sister Freda the Grange and business. Freda closed the business after his death and gave each worker a gift from the house, one such worker John Parkin was given a tankard which is still in the possession of his family today.


The rear of Stanley Grange 2010, the gable end in this photo was rebuilt during the 1950s

The current owner of Stanley Grange, Paul Johnson, bought the property in 2003, and has spent the last seven years painstakingly restoring it in the hope it will be preserved for future generations. The house is not yet finished but as each part is slowly peeled back during the restoration process, it reveals more of its history and secrets. The house has a brick ha ha and ditch along the front elevation and an original mounting block which still survives in the grounds. There is also a coach house to the rear of the grange which had first floor accommodation. In the grounds are many species of trees, and at least a dozen different varieties of daffodils, a sight to behold during the spring months. On the eastern boundary of the grounds is a large pond, during recent work to clear out the pond, golf balls that date back to the 1840s were found.

There are several different building phases which are clearly visible on the outside of the building as it is in 2010. The 1950s alterations are the easiest to note, the left gable of the house was completely rebuilt when the third story and left hand wing were removed in 1952. Some of the earlier changes however are a little harder to spot. Above the front door is a Georgian portico, but the two large bays at either side are Victorian, there is also a noticeable joint in the brick work just to the left of the front door. This could possibly be were the house was greatly extended shortly after it was built. To the rear and side of the house windows have been made smaller and doors moved, the majority of this work was probably done during the 1890s. It is the opinion of the current owner that the house has probably been derelict during the 1880s and after World War Two. Evidence for this can be found in the large scale alterations during these periods, and in photos from the early 1950s.


Claude Harlow outside Stanley Grange 1952

Inside the house, again the different phases of building work are clear to see, all of which have been restored to a very high standard. Throughout the house there are three different kinds of door architraves and various ceiling and panelling designs which point to the large scale alterations of the 1890s and 1950s. The staircase appears to be Georgian, with its slender hardwood handrails and delicate spindles. It is also possible that the house had a second staircase, evidence for this can be found at the back of the house where the upstairs floor level changes, as if there had been a landing there at some point in the past. In one of the downstairs rooms several decorators marks are visible that were uncovered when wall paper was removed. These date from the 1880s, 1890s, 1930s and 1980, all of which are written in pencil by the decorators from those eras. The one from 1980s has the price of petrol and cigarettes from that era wrote below, these are just a few of the details adding to the character of the house. 

Thank you to Paul Johnson for his help with the above article, we look forward to working with him closely in the future

Memories of Stanley Grange, by Gwendolene Beaumont 1882 - 1970

I was born at Stanley Grange in 1882, it was a very old house (built around 1600) and would have been a farm house - hence the name “Grange”. One of the Hatfeild family lived there for a time according to the Hatfeild pedigree. His name was Francis and his parents were Grevase & Grace Hatfeild who built Hatfeild Hall from 1598 to 1608.

The Grange was an “L” shaped house surrounded by trees and a partly sunk fence and with an ancient mulberry tree on one of the lawns. As children we were always told that the house was the home of priests many years ago. The oldest wing was demolished only a few years ago as it was unsafe to live in. The whole length of the dining room took up the entire length of the original house. One day my brother Ernest found a loose board in the dining room, by the fire place.

Naturally he prised it open, and saw a stone staircase! He of course got a lantern, descended and saw a stone table taking up a good part of the cellar which was the length of the dining room above.A strange thing was that the air was quite sweet and yet there was no apparent way for air to get into the place. My father, who was not at all romantic, ordered Ernest to nail down the floor board and forbade any of the boys to open it up again. This was a pity as it was quite possible that we should perhaps have found out more about the cellar.

It could have been a priests hiding hole as the two nearest houses were Hatfeild Hall and Clarke Hall, both of which have priests hiding places. A few years after the finding of the cellar, there fell in a floor, taking with it a good deal of wine. When men were working to restore the damage they found a well, 30 feet deep. When the house was sold a few years ago, another well was found near to the house, full of lead, which was duly sold and fetched more money than the buyer of the whole estate had paid!

The old house was a perfect home with its paddock for a cricket pitch, fields with a nine hole golf course, tennis lawn, croquet lawn, a strip of lawn for my fathers bowls and a pond large enough to learn how to skate on during the winter. For over twenty years it was my home.

We were an unromantic family, but we had a ghost! We all heard footsteps at times, coming down the path through shrubbery and round to the front door. One night my brother Charles and I were the only ones of the family at home and after supper he asked me if I would mind if he went out for half an hour to see someone on business. Of course I said, I did not mind and I would probably read until he came in. I settled down with my book and a lovely log fire in the dining room, the maids went upstairs to bed. About three quarters of an hour later I heard footsteps coming down the path round the dining room windows (three French windows in all) on to the front door.

Thinking it was Charles I was annoyed he had not come to say good night to me as he must have seen all the lights were on. I went up to bed and about a quarter of an hour later I heard footsteps outside my bedroom window, then the door open and shut, and steps coming up the stairs. I got out of bed, and there was Charles! I told him how I thought he had come in half an hour ago and he said “Whatever do you mean?” There was only one reply, “well, what I had heard was only our ghost!” I have an old photograph of my sister Margaret with “Margaret on the Ghost Walk” written upon it.

When I was about 12 years old I was awakened one night by a noise of voices and cries coming from the stairs up to the old part of the house. I did not bother about it and went to sleep, but the next morning I asked my sister Frances what happened last night. After a slight hesitation she said “Oh! Nothing much! That silly girl Mary (a house maid) said she had seen……” At that moment my mother broke in with, “That is enough! Not before the children!” So I never knew what had caused the noise and cries.

In the same room at Stanley Grange I had another strange experience. It was a very hot summers night and I was awakened by a feeling that someone near to my bed was icy cold and dripping wet. I was far too frightened to get up and light a candle and after what I thought was a long time this terrific feeling of somebody beside my bed passed away. I told my mother the next morning and she said that I must have had a bad dream, and I never thought of the matter again. However, many years after I was married, I had a letter from a friend who knew I was interested in old houses. He enclosed a document about Stanley Grange.

In it I found that about 150 years ago (or longer) Stanley Grange had a Dr Garlick living there. He was the Vicar of the church on the Heath and in order to get up to the Heath he had to cross the river on some stepping stones. He went across one day when the river was in spate and was washed off the stones into the water. He was rescued and taken back home to the Grange, where he died. The nicest bedroom in those days was the one I had slept in as a child of 12 and it was obvious that the Rev Garlick would have had it. When I read this story I remembered my experience of the cold dripping figure that I had felt one night by my bed.

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