Campaigners have vowed to continue the twenty-year battle for Elmswell Old Hall despite the latest setback. The house, near Driffield, was built in 1642 and the home of the seventeenth-century agricultural diarist Henry Best – but the last time someone lived in the house was in 1965. Although Grade-II* listed and thought to be one of the first brick-built houses in Yorkshire, it has slowly fallen into such an advanced state of dereliction that the owners have requested permission, via an entity ironically named ‘Elmswell Heritage Ltd’, to partially demolish what remains and consolidate the rest as a ruin.
An alternative plan, supported by locals and the Yorkshire Buildings Preservation Trust, has been put forward by the Spitalfields Trust who have a long record of restoring Georgian townhouses and historic country houses including the recently for sale Shurland Hall. This plan would not only consolidate what fabric of the building remains but would also then restore it for use as a home. However, a major obstacle is that the house and land are owned by the same estate who have made it clear that the plan was unfeasible as they would not sell land nor access to the house.
So the future for the house appears to be that of architectural curiosity, open occasionally for school visits and scholars. Unless a miracle happens, is seems another piece of Yorkshire, and the nation’s, heritage has been effectively lost due to fifty-years of neglect by the owner and the local council who should’ve stepped in decades ago to protect the hall.
Full story: ‘Preservation fight goes on even after building demolition backed‘ [Yorkshire Post]