A history of Bretton Hall
Bretton Hall is a stately home in West Bretton, designed and built around 1720 by its owner, Sir William Wentworth, assisted by James Moyser.
In 1792 it passed into the Beaumont family, (latterly Barons and Viscounts Allendale) and the Library and Dining Room were remodelled by John Carr in 1793.
A new wing by Sir Jeffrey Wyattville was added in 1811-14, and monumental stables designed by George Basevi were built between 1842 and 1852. The hall and many other of its buildings and bridges are grade II 3 star listed structures
The hall is set in 500 acres of lakes and parkland which is also the home of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and a nature reserve. Bretton Country Park also houses sculptures and is the home of several endangered species.
In 1949 the Hall became the site of Bretton Hall College, a teacher training college. It later became an affiliated college of the University of Leeds, which validated its degrees.
The University was closed in 2006 and Wakefield Council took over the ownership of the hall in September 2007. In November 2007 it announced the proposal for a Hotel and Spa, along with a Centre for Creativity and Imagination in association with Rushbond Developers and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. As of late 2008 no development has yet taken place.
Although access to the mansion and its surrounding buildings are not accessible to members of the public, there is public access to 'Camelia House' a listed building which houses a collection of Camelias which are nearly 200 years old and which also contains an unusual water sculpture.
Immediately outside Camelia House is one of the many sculptures that adorn the country park, and which 'faces' across the opposite side of the valley.
It is hoped that in the near future, Bretton Estate and the Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be developed in such a way that many more visitors will be attracted to the site to enjoy both the vistas and gain much easier access to the parts of the Estate that remain difficult to reach, particularly for the disabled and very young.