Nether Brea, Shibden
This historic house was once owned by one of Britain’s most remarkable women, who defied convention to pursue love and a lifeline for her ancestral home.
Anne Lister, whose story is to be told in a BBC TV series written by Sally Wainwright, inherited the Shibden Hall estate, near Halifax, in 1836.
It included Nether Brea and Anne, openly lesbian and known as “Gentleman Jack” by locals, was a regular visitor to the property. It was let to family friend George Robinson and her visits there are mentioned in her diaries. She is also thought to be responsible for its first major makeover and its Georgian frontage.
The BBC drama will explore Anne’s life and her relationship with her would-be wife, the wealthy heiress Ann Walker.
Sally Wainwright describes Anne as “one of the most exuberant, thrilling and brilliant women in British history” and adds: “Landowner, industrialist, traveller, mountaineer, scholar, would-be brain surgeon and prolific diarist, Anne returns from years of travel to her ancestral home, determined to restore it to its former glory, and determined to marry Ann Walker.
“It’s a beautifully rich, complicated, surprising love story.”
Renowned for restoring and extending Shibden Hall, Anne would no doubt be impressed by Nether Brea’s renovation. Owners Michael Geraghty and his wife, Josephine, bought the property in 2011. Experienced developers and utilities contractors, their idea was to turn it into a boutique B&B and their work on the building won them a high commendation from Halifax Civic Trust.
“The house needed complete renovation and, as well as uncovering and preserving what was there, we put a lot of effort into putting features back in. Both eras in its history, the 1500s when it was built and the early 1800s when it was modernised, are represented,” says Michael. “The idea was that one of our daughters would run it as guest house but she decided that she didn’t want to go down that route, which is why we are selling.”
Set in the Shibden Valley, Nether Brea has 4,000sq ft of space. It has an entrance hall, kitchen, two reception rooms, a garden room and a cloakroom. On the first floor, there are three double bedrooms, two with en-suites, and a bathroom. On the second floor are a further three bedrooms, two with en-suites, and a bathroom. Outside, there is a garage, parking area and grounds with access to Shibden Park.
Contact: Yorkshire’s Finest, tel: Halifax 01422 824729, www.yorkshiresfinest.org. Shibden Hall is scheduled for broadcast at the end of next year.