Markenfield Hall
Markenfield Hall
An relatively unknown historic treasure, Markenfield Hall is a marvellous moated manor house, dating back to the late 13th century and set in attractive countryside not far from Fountains Abbey. The bulk of the hall was built in 1310, and is probably the most complete medium sized medieval manor house in England. It is remarkably unchanged from its inception, and would probably be readily recognized by its 14th century inhabitants.

History

The oldest part of the Hall is the Great Hall, which dates to around 1280. In 1310 Canon John de Markenfield received a license to crenellate by Edward II, and expanded the earlier manor to its current form.

The history of Markenfield Hall is intertwined with the abortive Rising of the North in 1569, which ruined the fortunes of the de Markenfield family. The Rising attempted to roll back the tide of Protestant religion, depose Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary, Queen of Scots. Sir Thomas de Markenfield was one of the main instigators of the plot, and on 20 November 1569 a large contingent of rebels met in the Great Courtyard at Markenfield Hall. They heard Mass in the chapel before setting out on their ultimately fruitless attempt to overthrow the queen.

When the Rising failed, Sir Thomas and his family were forced to flee abroad, eventually settling in Brussels, where Sir Thomas died in abject poverty. The Markenfield house and estate was siezed by the crown and the Hall was leased as a farmhouse.

In 1761 the manor was bought by the 1st Lord Grantley, a direct descendant of the de Markenfields. The Hall is still owned by the Grantleys, so in a sense you could say that the same family has owned the Hall for most of its long history.

The Hall consists of a Great Hall and Chapel, forming an L shape about an inner courtyard. A further, less impressive range of buildings stands beside the hall, and was probably used as a stable and servant quarters.