Calverley Old Hall

The Calverley family arrived from Scotland in about 1100, and remained at Calverley Hall until the late 1660’s, when they moved to Esholt Hall. Here, Walter Calverley died in 1749, and five years later, his only son, Sir Walter Blackett (who had married a Newcastle heiress) sold the Calverley estates. During the reign of Elizabeth I, William Calverley was persecuted for the family’s Catholic beliefs, and suffered a series of heavy fines and imprisonment, until he died in 1596, aged just 39.

The most notorious family member however was his son, Walter Calverley, who was just 17 when his father died. Walter then conformed to the established religion and in 1599 married Phillipa Brooke, a member of a very important London family. The marriage was soon dogged by debts and shortage of money,  which by 1605 had brought Walter into a state of deep depression. This, combined with an inherited mental instability, finally led him to attempt murdering his whole family. Fortunately, his wife and youngest son escaped his assaults, but he stabbed to death his two oldest sons on 23rd April in Calverley Hall. Following his arrest, Walter was eventually taken to York and tried at the County Assizes. In order to avoid forfeiture of family estate he refused to enter a plea and was pressed to death on the 5th August 1605. After his death it was said that Walter Calverley’s regretful spirit rode the Calverley countryside on a headless horse, until they were laid to rest by a local vicar. However, should holly ever disappear from the woods, it is said that the ghost will return!

Calverley Old Hall

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