Country houses for sale

Ledston Hall: The 700-year-old former monastery that’s gone from glory to dereliction to 21st century luxury

This remarkable estate lay derelict for 60 years but has now been granted a new lease of life following a £14.5 million investment.

This is not the first time Yorkshire’s Ledston Hall has been featured in Country Life. Back in December 1938, the magnificent estate (then the seat of Major George Wheler) appeared in a six-page article in the magazine.

Since then, it has been the recipient of a major project that has transformed the decaying stately home into a series of luxury homes and apartments, all of which are available to rent via Carter Jonas.

Over the years, the property has undergone major changes as it passed through the hands of various owners and time periods — from the Monks of Ponteract in the 12th century, to the Witham family in 1556; to Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Stafford, in 1631 (who was responsible for building the south and northwest wings); to Sir John Lewis, to Lady Betty Hastings in the 18th century, and finally, to the Wheler family in 1789, who remained the custodians for several decades.

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It’s noted that the Whelers had another estate in Kent, where they spent the majority of their time. As a result, Ledston Hall remained empty during the Second World War up until 1948, when Granville Wheler inherited the building and leased it to a school.

In the 1960s, the south wing was converted into a series of five flats, but the rest of the house became neglected, ultimately making the building unsafe and uninhabitable. Things took an even bleaker turn after Mr Wheler’s death in 2004.

With no funds for maintenance, the building fell even further into disarray.

It wasn’t until members of the Wheler Foundation (established by Granville Wheler in 1992) sold a significant pocked of land in Kent in order to fund a huge renovation project, that things started to look up.

One of those trustees is Carter Jonas Chief Executive, Mark Granger, who knew Mr Wheler from a young age, due to his father’s involvement at Ledston Hall in the 1930s.

‘Mr Wheler always wanted to restore the hall but, although he was capital rich in terms of owning two estates, he didn’t have the cash necessary to embark upon such a project. I’m thrilled for him because we’ve managed to do something that he would have loved to have done but wasn’t able to in his lifetime.’

Work began on the hall in April 2020 to feature four luxury homes and six spacious apartments, all available to rent, ‘combining historic architecture with modern day living.’

A special effort has been placed on making the Grade I listed hall as energy efficient as possible — by no means an easy task. However, it’s the first Grade I listed building in the country to be granted planning permission to replace the original leaded windows with a double-glazed alternative.

Externally, Ledston Hall looks much the same. Its grand façade is reached via a private gated entrance which leads through the beautiful North Park. A meticulous level of detail has ensured that all the apartments and homes are as comfortable, warm and accessible as possible.

Many of the properties benefit from their own lifts, and all floors are fitted with acoustic floor insulation to ensure noise is kept to a minimum.

The interiors are a wonderful combination of period details meeting with 21st century design.

Original fireplaces, cornicing and timber panelling has been either repaired or replicated and seamlessly sit alongside contemporary kitchens, sleek bathrooms and bright, spacious rooms with underfloor heating.

Outside, residents have access to the beautifully maintained gardens. The area surrounding Ledston Hall is formed of some 2,500 acres of farmland, 50 houses, a pub and a wine shop. Ledsham village is just over a mile away with a popular local pub. Castleford is just three miles, Leeds 15 miles, the spa town of Harrogate 23 miles and the city of York 24 miles away.

The 700-year-old, Grade I listed property has now been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register, its former glory finally restored.

Ledston Hall offers four homes and six apartments available to rent via Carter Jonas — see more pictures or enquire with the agent for further details.