Hassell Hall was an old mansion to the southwest of Ossett, a market town within the City of Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England.
The original property dates from the 17th century, it was renovated in the 18th century and demolished in the mid-20th century. Since it's construction around 1650, it was expanded in the following decades and was rented several times.
The area is now largely a public park that is known as Green Park, and when the building was demolished, the stone was used to build the hut at the park entrance.
Origins & History
In the 17th century, Hassell Hall in Ossett was the home of the Foster family until Richard Foster (c.1648-1730) sold this mansion and other properties to John Lumb (c.1640-1719) and his brother-in-law John Lumb of Wakefield (1690-1764), a wealthy wool merchant, in the early 18th century.
The old mansion was made of stone as this material was becoming widespread and was built around 1650 by Mr. Richard Foster, the old man (c.1623-1710) who resided there for several years and managed the building for a time.
A stone house had many advantages over one built of wood and plaster and provided much more security. Also, a stone house, or even a house with a stone fireplace, could have a deep-embedded furnace in thick masonry as in the case of Hassell Hall.
Steps led from the house to the gardens at the back, and as you entered the Great Hall there was a chandelier in the center with some of the windows going from floor to ceiling, with thick net curtains. This sector could even house several families.
Our 17th century ancestors felt that times were changing and they built stone houses instead of wood and descendants like Mr. Foster (c.1648-1730) put looms on them. It's probable that in Hassell Hall this family was engaged in the manufacture of woolen fabrics and then sold them in the Leeds fabric market.
While Ossett was still a very small place in the 1690s with roughly 1,200 people, West Yorkshire had a booming textile industry, but it was struggling to bring the fabric to markets across the country.
Later, the house was owned by Richard Foster, the young man (c.1648-1730) who lived there with his wife Hannah Burnet Jackson (1658-1724) until it was sold in the early 18th century. Around the same time, Richard's father also sells him a 4-acre piece of land called Rye Spring.
On July 20, 1716, Foster ceded the use of Hassell Hall to his brother-in-law John Lumb of Wakefield (1690-1764), a wealthy wool merchant who built Silcoates Hall in Wakefield in the mid-18th century.
The Lumbs were wealthy and prominent citizens, and the oldest branch lived in the aforementioned building, built in 1748 on an estate near Alverthorpe Church from bricks made on the Pemberton Milnes estate on Ossett Road.
A document preserved by the Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society describes Hassell Hall as "that dining room or house recently built and erected by Richard Foster, the old man, in which he now lives." In turn, he also names other lands of Foster: Tophill Close, Middle Close, Rye Spring, Brooke Close, and Laith Close, which were very close to the old stone house.
The lintel at the main entrance to Hassell Hall was engraved with the initials F.R.H. and the date 1699, which referred to "F" for "Foster", "R" for "Richard" and "H" for "Hannah", the names of the couple who lived in the house in those years.
As can be seen from the aerial photograph, the original house was expanded in later years, and the extensions were wrapped around an earlier building, which was the original Hassell Hall. The dependencies shown there are also mentioned in the contract.
In 1725, Richard Foster, the old man (c.1648-1730) was disposing of land and after his death in 1730, Hassell Hall passed into the hands of his grandson John Foster (1723-?) being previously managed by Mary Foster (1693-1760) until he came of age because his father Richard Foster of Flanshaw Lane (1686-1629), had died a year before his grandfather.
This family also lived for a long time in Ossett Lights, in the Haggs Hill area, where they owned land and property. In this region Mr. Foster (c.1648-1730) dedicated himself to producing woolen fabrics together with his wife and some of their children in a good grazing area for cattle, sheep and pigs and for the local population.
After acquiring Hassell Hall and many years of effort, John Foster (1723-?) became a Wakefield landowner and knew how to work the land by acquiring new tracts. However, he later decided to emigrate to Funchal, the capital of the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira, taking advantage of the historic alliance of the British and the Portuguese.
On September 30, 1756, a £ 500 mortgage was paid and two years later, in 1758, Hassell Hall was leased by Robert Denison (1720-1785), who acquired part of the land and eventually bought the property.
Robert Denison (1720-1785) was a member of an extended family of successful wool merchants in the Leeds area and a partner in the trading ventures of his brother William Denison (1714-1782).
The former property where Denison lived for a time was one of the busiest places in Ossett. But in 1765 the house was sold to Joshua Thornes, a farmer originally from a working class of weavers and malters, who later changed the name of the property to Green House when further additions were completed.
Over the years, the rear of the building was enlarged and until that date one of the doors had the year carved on the lintel, which was from the 17th century.
When the entire house was rebuilt in Victorian times, somewhat fragmented, the new front was designed to face east and the old front door became the back door and was eventually no longer used as a door. The upper two-thirds of the entrance was blocked by masonry, and at the bottom, just above ground level, a window was inserted to illuminate the interior of the steps leading to the basements.
From then on, the building was Thornes' residence, where he lived until before settling in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England.
The Hall formerly known as Hassell Hall, later called the Green House, was put up for sale again in 1874, and consisted of cellars, a carriage house, stables for eight horses, barns and outbuildings, and 31 acres of adjoining pasture and farmland.
It was later acquired by George Harrop (1813-1892), who bought it for £ 3,800 in 1874 and lived there for 10 years before moving in, and was later owned by his son, John (1839-1910), a wool manufacturer from a wealthy family in the same business.
Green House it was sold at a land and property auction on Wednesday evening 23 September 1908 at Temperance Hall, for £ 3,000, and the property was sold together with vineyards, carport, stables, two cottages and other buildings, and three fields with a total area of just over 23 acres. The auctioneer described it as one of the best houses he had ever been to, and there was a round of applause when the hammer fell.
The Harrop family was there for many years until Herbert Harrop died in 1960. As a result, the Ossett city council bought the building with the surrounding land and proceeded to demolish it.
Green House was finally demolished in 1961 after a corporation bought the property and some of the demolition material was used to build the cabin at the park entrance. However, there are still remains of the structure such as the staircase, for example.
The area is now largely a public park known as Green Park, opened on April 23, 1962 by Councilman Alex Robb, Mayor of Borough.
Probably the name 'Hassell' or 'Hassel', placed by Richard Foster (c.1648-1730), was due to the presence of hazelnuts in the region at that time, one of the most cultivated fruit trees. Instead 'Hall', refers to a large room or place of residence.
The name 'Hassell' or 'Hassel', is a topographical name meaning "swamp" or "wooded lowlands".
Green Park / Ossett, West Yorkshire
Green Park is a public park southeast of Ossett in West Yorkshire, England. It is located 260 km from London (161 miles), 5.8 km from Wakefield, 4.7 km from Dewsbury, and 1 km from Ossett Town Hall.
The area was inaugurated as a public park on April 23, 1962 by Mayor Alexx Robb, who considered its creation important for the growth of the village.
This large local park has lots of greenery and a small loop for a quick walk and playing fields. It also includes a selection of outdoor gym-style climbing and balancing equipment and a separate playground.
A few meters from this large green space was an old stone mansion called the Green House with parts of the original 17th century construction called Hassell Hall.
This building stood for more than 300 years when a corporation finally bought the property and it was demolished in 1961. However, even after so many years there are still remains of the structure such as the steps, for example.
Green Park is located above The Green and is open to the public 24 hours a day. Being elevated above ground level it has some long distance views to the south of Ossett and also has parking and playing fields.
In the late 17th and early 18th centuries, part of the grounds of this great public park was called Rye Spring and belonged to Mr. Richard Foster (c.1648-1730), who in 1716 sold the lands to his son Richard Foster (c.1686-1729). Most likely, the demarcation of the boundaries of the field remains what it was at the end of the seventeenth century.
- Wakefield Manor Book, 1709. YAS Record Series Vol. 101.
- Ossett, deeds and documents. Yorkshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Retrieved November 13, 2019.
- 'Leeds Intelligencer', June 20, 1775.
- Memorials of Deeds (1704-1970). The Deeds Registry, West Yorkshire History Centre WF1 1JG.
- Familiae Minorum Gentium, Vol 1. Page 75.
- The Nonconformist Register of baptisms, marriages, and deaths: 1644-1702, 1702-1752 by Heywood, Oliver, 1629-1702; Dickenson, Thomas; Turner, J. Horsfall (Joseph Horsfall), b. 1845. Page 307.
- Horbury Parish Register.
This site is developed by Westcom, Ltd., and updated by Ezequiel Foster © 2019-2021.