Between Risplith and Ripon, on a road bend crossing the River Skell is a handsome Georgian gatehouse which introduces Grantley Hall.  Built beside the river in beautifully tended grounds and amongst mature woodland, the Hall was originally 17th century, but considerably extended during the 1800s, so is recognisably Georgian now.

Thomas Norton of the Norton Conyers family built the original small private residence in 1679.  It was his grandson Fletcher Norton who began the extensions, and these continued to develop as members of the family inherited the estate.  Fletcher Norton had a progressive career in politics and received his peerage in 1782, 1st Lord Grantley, Baron Grantley of Markenfield.  The much earlier and neighbouring estate of Markenfield was related to Grantley by the marriage of old Richard Norton’s sister Margaret to Thomas Markenfield in the 1600s.

Grantley Hall remained with the Norton family for 200 years, and many businesses in the Ripon area benefited from their investments.  In1900 the estate was bought by Sir Christopher Furness, who was entitled 1st Baron Furness of Grantley in 1910.  Further enhancing of the Hall was inevitable, and Lady Jane Furness was responsible for creating the Japanese Gardens, using rocks from Brimham!  The property passed into the ownership of Sir William Ackroyd in 1925, but private family ownership ended in 1946 when the Ackroyds died.

Grantley Hall Reflection Pool
Reflection Pool – Islamic Garden Feature
Grantley Hall Plasterwork
Ceiling Plasterwork
Internal elegance
Grantley Hall Modern Lighti
Modern Lighting
Grantley Hall Orchard Room
Orchard Room

After leisurely refreshments in the Orchard Room we made our way back to perhaps more humble homes.  It was not wasted on this Upper Wharfedale group that “Old Norton” (Richard Norton of the 16th century), grandfather of Thomas who built the original Grantley Hall, was the same Norton who built the Old Hall in Rylstone in the 1500s and which family had colourful history within our area.

Grantley Hall external
Patio refreshments

We thank Hanneke for organising a very splendid and enjoyable visit to Grantley Hall.

Report and photos by Phyllida

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