Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam (historically Temple Newsham), (grid reference SE357322) is a Tudor-Jacobean house in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, with grounds landscaped by Capability Brown.

The estate lends its name to the Temple Newsam ward of Leeds City Council, in which it is situated, and lies to the east of the city, just south of Halton Moor, Halton, Whitkirk and Colton. It is one of nine sites in the Leeds Museums & Galleries group.


In the Domesday Book the property is known as Neuhusam and was owned by Ilbert de Lacy. Before that it had been owned by Dunstan and Glunier, Anglo-Saxon thanes. Around 1155 it was given to the Knights Templar, who built Temple Newsam Preceptory some distance from the current house. In 1307 the Templars were suppressed and in 1377 by royal decree the estate reverted to Sir Philip Darcy (created 4th Lord DARCY in 1362 and d. 24 Apr. 1399). Between 1500 and 1520 a Tudor country house, Temple Newsam House, was built on the site.[1] It has been described by some as "the Hampton Court of the North".[2] It has also been spelled "Newsham" in the past.[3]

In 1537 Thomas, Lord Darcy was executed for the part he played in the Pilgrimage of Grace and the property was seized by the Crown. In 1544 Henry VIII gave it to his niece Margaret, Countess of Lennox and her husband Matthew Stuart, Earl of Lennox. Their son Henry, Lord Darnley was born in the house in 1545. Darnley married Mary, Queen of Scots, and Temple Newsam was again seized by the Crown in 1565. In 1603 James I granted it to his relative Ludovic, Duke of Lennox. In 1622 the estate was bought by Sir Arthur Ingram for £12,000. During the next 20 years the mansion was rebuilt, incorporating some of the previous house in the west wing.[1]

In 1661 Sir Arthur's grandson Henry Ingram was created Viscount of Irvine (also spelt "Irwin"[4]) and married Lady Essex Montagu, the daughter of the Earl of Manchester. Between 1736 and 1746 Henry Ingram, 7th Viscount of Irvine, remodelled the west and north wings of the house, creating new bedrooms and dressing rooms and the picture gallery.

In the 1760s Charles, 9th Viscount, employed Capability Brown to re-landscape the park. The work was continued by his widow Frances, née Shepheard, who rebuilt the south wing, and lived at Temple Newsam until her death in 1807. Their eldest daughter Isabella, Marchioness of Hertford was for a time mistress of the Prince of Wales (later George IV), and in 1806 he visited Temple Newsam and presented her with Chinese wallpaper and the Moses tapestries. Lady Hertford inherited the house in 1807 and passed it on to her younger sister Frances, wife of Lord William Gordon, on her own death in 1834.

In 1820 novelist Walter Scott published Ivanhoe featuring a Templar preceptory named Temple Stowe; it is believed that this was modelled on Temple Newsham, and the name is preserved in local road names such as Templestowe Crescent.[5]

In 1841 the estate was inherited by Hugo Meynell-Ingram, son of Frances, Lady Gordon's sister Elizabeth Meynell. Following his death in 1871 his wife inherited the estate and considerably developed it until her own death in 1904 when it was left to her nephew Edward Wood, later 1st Earl of Halifax.[1]

In 1909 610 acres (2.5 km2) of the estate were compulsorily purchased by Leeds Corporation at Knostrop to build a sewage plant and coal mining commenced at the edge of the park. In 1922 Edward Wood sold the park and house to Leeds Corporation for a nominal sum, placing covenants over them to ensure their preservation for the future.[6]

House and estate today

The house and estate are owned by Leeds City Council and open to the public. The estate is made up of large woodland, (the second largest part of the Forest of Leeds)[2] many areas of which join onto the surrounding estates of Leeds. There are facilities for sports including football, golf, running, cycling, horse-riding and orienteering. There is also a children's play park. The local football team, Colton Juniors, play on the football pitches surrounding the house.

The house has undergone substantial restoration to its exterior. There is an established programme of restoring rooms back to known previous configurations, reversing the numerous intrusive installations and modifications that took place during the building's "art museum" phase. There are substantial holdings of fine and decorative art which are designated by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) as being of national significance.

Of most significant historical and cultural interest is the Chippendale Society collection of Chippendale works that are on permanent loan. Temple Newsam House is one of Leeds Museums and Galleries sites, and has an international reputation for scholarship and research, unusual in a local authority museum service. In his book "Britain's Best Museums and Galleries", Mark Fisher (a former DCMS minister) gives this museum an excellent review. When interviewed on Front Row, Radio 4, November 2004 Mr. Fisher placed Temple Newsam House in the top three non-national museums in the country, along with Birmingham's Barber Institute and the Dulwich Picture Gallery.[7]

The Home Farm, open to the public, has a barn built in 1694 and is the largest working rare breeds farm in Europe, and only one of 16 nationally approved by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Breeds include Gloucester, Kerry, Irish Moiled, Red Poll, White Park, British White, Beef Shorthorn, Vaynol and Belted Galloway cattle; Kerry Hill, Whitefaced Woodland and Portland sheep, and Golden Guernsey goats. The farm was targeted by arsonists in the late 2000s with damage caused to a stable. Some animals were injured but the majority were saved.

There are extensive gardens, with a celebrated rhododendron walk and six national plant collections: Aster novi-belgii (Michaelmas daisies), Phlox paniculata, Delphinium elatum (Cultivars), Solenostemon scutellarioides (sys. Coleus blumei), Primula auricula and Chrysanthemum (Charm and Cascade cultivars).[8]

The house is a Grade I listed building, defined as a "building of outstanding or national architectural or historic interest". The stables are Grade II* listed ("particularly significant buildings of more than local interest"), and ten separate features of the estate are Grade II listed ("buildings of special architectural or historic interest"), including the Sphinx Gates and the Barn.


Party in the Park and Opera in the Park were annual ticketed concerts organised by Leeds City Council and Radio Aire, which respectively have accommodated 70,000 and 50,000 spectators.[9] Both were held in July on the site from 1994 to 2014.[10] They took place on the grassed area which slopes down at the front of the house.

An amphitheatre near the stables block is used for occasional open-air theatre performances, and the fields to the north of the Home Farm are used for various events such as Steam Fairs and Dog Shows.

In August 1997 and 1998 the estate was the site of the V Festival but, after the success of the event, this was replaced by a new northern leg of the Reading and Leeds Festivals from 1999, taking place the weekend after the regular V festival slot in August. The Leeds Festival however moved to Bramham Park after the 2002 event when the festival was marred by riots and violence in the festival grounds, and trouble in the surrounding estates of east Leeds.[11]

Sven Vath hosted Cocoon in the Park every July with the organisers behind Mint Club and Mint Festival from 2009 - 2019.[12]

In 2019 it became the new home to Slam Dunk Festival as it had grown and moved out of the city centre of Leeds.[13]

Many other events take place at Temple Newsam, such as the Leeds Waggy Walk event for Dogs Trust[14] and Race for Life for Cancer Research UK.[15] Since early 2013, there has been a weekly Parkrun event.[16]

See also


  1. Temple Newsam: House Guide. Leeds City Council.
  2. "Forest of Leeds: Temple Newsam Woodlands". Leeds City Council. Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  3. "Whitkirk: Geographical and Historical information from the year 1868". GENUKI. Retrieved 28 October 2007. Transcribed from The National Gazetteer of Great Britain and Ireland 1868
  4. "Temple Newsam". Leeds City Council Museums and Galleries. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  5. "On the trail of the Templars". Leeds: Local history. BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  6. Temple Newsam: Country House Estate Trail. (2007) Leeds City Council.
  7. "The National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens". Retrieved 20 September 2007.
  8. "Party in the Park 2006". BBC - Leeds. 18 July 2006. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  9. "Leeds Party in the Park". tilllate.com. 15 July 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  10. "Festival marred by violence". BBC News. 26 August 2002. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
  11. "History". Cocoon in the Park. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  12. "Everything you need to know about Slam Dunk Festival Leeds 2019 - line-up, times and tickets". Yorkshire Evening Post.
  13. Waggywalks
  14. "Leeds (Temple Newsam)". Race for Life. Archived from the original on 26 June 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  15. "Temple Newsam Parkrun". Parkrun website. Parkrun. Retrieved 10 February 2013.

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