Temple Newsam is one of Leeds most beautiful and visited destinations, with a vibrant calendar of events ranging from Lantern Festivals to Weekly Park runs.
The house dates back almost 1000 years, being cited in the Doomsday book in 1086, and probably before then. Ancient Anglo Saxon records refer to the area as “Neuhusam.” Roughly 100 years after the doomsday book was published, the house and land was handed over to a famous Christian military order, the Knights Templar, around 1500 a large country manor was constructed, which explains the name “Temple Newsam.”
After this, it was under the ownership of the British monarchy, including Henry the 8th who gave the house to his niece. Her son Henry, or Lord Darnley, was born in the house in 1545, he went on to marry Mary Queen of Scots. The house was passed on to private ownership when Sir Arthur Ingram paid £12,000 (Roughly £1.6 Million by todays money) in 1622. Ingrams wealthy family went on to own many estates across Yorkshire.
During this new ownership, some of the major building works which would be recognisable by todays standards were begun. The very first was overlooked by Sir Arthur himself, and the second major development was by Arthur’s grandson the Viscount of Irvine who remodelled the house and employed England’s greatest gardener Capability Brown in the 1760’s to create the impressive grounds for which it is now so well known. Amongst his designs are the ponds and bridges which can be seen when walking around the grounds, as well as the small “temple seen on the hillside.
Ownership of the estate was held by the Ingrams until 1909, when 2500 square metres of estate were compulsory purchased by the Leeds Corporation for mining works, which were extremely close to the house. It wasn’t until 1922 when the last of the family, Edward Wood, sold the property to the corporation, to ensure the preservation for future generations to enjoy.
The house is now a Grade 1 listed building and has undergone substantial restoration over the years. Now there is a working farm which houses many rare breeds of animals. The house is one of the most visited desitinations in Leeds, and has become well known for various music festivals and events, including a “Race for Life” there is also a 36 hole golf course, running track and football pitches.
The house is open to the public and well worth a visit, especially when they open the hidden tunnels!