East Yorkshire country house Elmswell Old Hall to open to the public for one day only

Elmswell Old Hall near Driffield will be open to the public for the only time this year on November 1.

The 17th-century ruins stand on private land that is not normally accessible other than during the site's annual open day, which has not taken place since 2019.

The listed hall, which is part of the Elmswell estate, was built in 1635 though the manor itself dates back to the Norman Conquest.

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Elmswell Old Hall is now a ruin

It was one of the first brick buildings in East Yorkshire when its first owner Henry Best, a gentleman farmer and well-known diarist of the period, commissioned it. Its listing was upgraded from Grade II to Grade II* in 1998.

The large bricks were manufactured in Beverley and would have been transported up the River Hull by barge, while the chamfered beams would have been shipped into Bridlington from the Baltic ports.

The hall has not been occupied since 1965 when the last tenant farmers moved out, and by the 1970s its roof had collapsed. In the last decade the owners, the Mackrill family, have undertaken remedial works to make the remaining ruin safe.

The Mackrills have disputed that Henry Best ever lived in the hall, which preservation societies have claimed was where he wrote a series of agricultural manuals now kept by the Treasure House in Beverley.

The hall in the 1960s, before it fell into dereliction

At one point East Riding Council even tried to secure a compulsory purchase order on the hall to enable it to be saved, but a compromise for its restoration was eventually reached.

It is open on Monday November 1 between 10.30am-3.30pm with parking available. Dogs are not allowed.

East Riding Council's portfolio holder for planning Coun David Tucker said: “There is so much historical significance attached to Elmswell Old Hall and so this is a great, and rare, opportunity for members of the public to visit the ruins of this once great old hall.”