When the late Lord Savile died in June last year, aged 89, his Yorkshire Post obituary described him as ‘in some respects one of the last of the P. G. Wodehouse landed-gentry characters to inhabit the 21st century… charmingly eccentric and every inch a gentleman’. Forced to sell the family seat at Rufford, Nottinghamshire, on the eve of war in 1938, Lord Savile later moved to Yorkshire, where his family have owned large estates since medieval times, eventually settling at Gryce Hall, near Huddersfield, in 1946.
A passionate grouseshooter, he was also a frequent visitor to the family’s shooting box, Walshaw Lodge near Hebden Bridge. Now, both properties are for sale through Carter Jonas (01484 842105): Gryce Hall at a guide price of £2m, with two tenanted cottages on offer for an additional £250,000, and Walshaw Lodge at a guide price of £1m, with additional land potentially available by separate negotiation. But the Saviles will retain their Yorkshire connections, as the family still owns 6,000 acres around Thornhill, Emley, Batley and Hebden Bridge.
From the 13th century, when Richard D’Gris, a Norman knight, bought the property and named it Grys Farm, until Lord Savile’s death in 2008, Gryce Hall has played host to the great and the good. Over the years, the quite grand but unpretentious house has evolved from a collection of cottages and a barn into a spacious country hall, combining elements of medieval, Victorian and Arts-and-Crafts design. It stands in 45 acres of gardens, grounds, paddocks and parkland, and has four main reception rooms, including the Grand Hall (originally a Tudor barn), four bedroom suites, two further bedrooms and a bathroom.
Walshaw Lodge was also a collection of cottages, linked together in 1850 by the then Lord Savile to create a substantial country house with adjoining outbuildings. Its superb location on the edge of the Savile family’s famous grouse estate, and breath-taking views over the Upper Calder Valley made for the perfect shooting lodge and country retreat, which later became the main family home in 1939, after the sale of Rufford Park.
The lodge has five grand reception rooms, most of them panelled, with dramatic views to the south or west. The spacious first floor, where the main bedrooms are named after beats on the grouse moor, has two bedroom suites, four double rooms and three bathrooms in the front wing; and, in the east wing, two more double bedrooms, two single rooms, a bathroom, a shower room and a dining kitchen. The whole floor could easily be divided into separate areas for large families, guest or staff accommodation, selling agent James England suggests.