For sale: Home of rogue king that's a luxury escape to the country

Bell House and Coiners Barn, Cragg Vale, Price: £950,000

Bell House and Coiners barn

Cragg Vale Coiner “King” David Hartley would surely be delighted to see that his old farmhouse has been turned into a rural des res.

What was a small house and separate barn is now an outstanding five-bedroom home and a separate three-bedroom B&B/holiday let. Back in the 18th century it was the headquarters of a counterfeiting gang led by ironworker David Hartley.

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Using his trade as cover, he shaved the edges off gold coins then filed them so the loss was undetectable. He then made counterfeit money from the shavings .

The kitchen with all mod cons

His operation spread among neighbouring farms and soon there was a gang of 30 Coiners with local publicans helping to put the fake currency into circulation. Charismatic Hartley became known as “King David” but his reign ended when one of the Coiners betrayed him. Hartley was arrested and then hanged in 1770.

The farmhouse, near Hebden Bridge, was the perfect location for the covert activities. It is tucked away down a one-and-a-half mile track, which was part of the appeal when Nathan and Liz Smith bought the property in 2004.

“It is in the most romantic rural location on the edge of the Broadhead Clough nature reserve with magnificent views,” says Nathan.

The couple added two extensions to turn the historic two-bedroom main house into a five-bedroom home that has also been re-roofed, insulated and fitted with modern amenities,

The property retains its period features

The grade II listed property, which sits in seven acres of upland meadow, now has a large hall, sitting room, dining kitchen, separate dining room, a bathroom and a ground floor bedroom suite. Upstairs, there is a master bedroom suite, three further bedrooms and a house bathroom.

The barn was converted in 2010 and has a sitting room, dining room, kitchen and three bedroom suites, which are themed to reflect its history.

“Weavers lived here, there was a gamekeeper who looked after deer and, of course, ‘King David’, so we have a Deer suite, a Stag suite and a King suite,” says Nathan.

He and Liz are selling to move closer to town now their four children are getting older.

Coiners barn

He says: “The children all have different interests and the demands mean we need to be closer to civilisation and bus stops. It’s a wrench because we all have such a strong emotional attachment to this place. There are five other properties on the track so we aren’t isolated but there is a sense of solitude and being away from it all.”

*For further details, contact Yorkshire’s Finest, tel: Halifax 01422 824729,

The kitchen with all mod cons
The property retains its period features
Coiners barn