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Red Hall

On Cossins map of 1725 Red Hall is the large house at the junction of the Upper Head Row with Lands Lane. It was built in 1628, and it is reputed to be the first house in Leeds to be built of brick, hence the name Red Hall. The gardens behind the house stretched to where Albion Place is to-day; there was also an area of garden on the west side of the house. Red Hall was built by Thomas Metcalf, a wool merchant, who was Alderman of Leeds from 1630-31.

During the civil war, on 9th February 1646, King Charles I was brought to Leeds as a prisoner. He was held in a room, afterwards known as the King's Chamber, in Red Hall. The King's stay in Leeds is remembered in the street names King Charles' Street and King Charles' Croft, the name given to the gardens on the south side of the house. Tradition has it that while the King was imprisoned at Leeds he was visited by John Harrison, the Leeds benefactor. Harrison, a Royalist sympathiser, brought the King a tankard of brown ale; concealed in the tankard were gold coins. The story is commemorated in one of the stained glass windows in St. John's Church.

There is also the story of Mrs. Crosby, a servant of Thomas Metcalf, who it is said, offered to provide women's clothes for the King to disguise himself, and then to lead him out of the garden door into Lands Lane, and under cover of darkness take him to a friend's house until he could escape from Leeds.  The King did not accept her offer, but thanked her, and gave her his garter, saying that if his son ever came to the throne she was to give the garter to him and tell him of how she came by it, and he would reward her. When Charles II became King, Mrs. Crosby gave him the garter, and told him her story. The King asked where she was from, and if she had a husband. She told him she was from Leeds in Yorkshire, and that her husband was a bailiff of the town. 'Then he shall be High Bailiff of Yorkshire' said the King. Crosby later built Crosby House which stood on a site identified by Joseph Sprittles as a house on the Upper Headrow which later became Arthur Cook's antique shop. Jackson in his 1889 guide gives it a different location, the Haunch of Venison pub at the corner of Land's Lane, and Heaton in his 1835 'Walks through Leeds' says it occupied the site of the 1826 Corn Exchange.

Ralph Thoresby mentions Red Hall in his history of Leeds written in 1715.  He says that ''Tis now honoured by the Residence of the Learned, Ingenious and Pious Richard Thornton, Esq; the excellent Recorder of Leedes'. Thornton had helped Thoresby in writing his book.

By the middle of the nineteenth century, the house was occupied by Samuel Blakelock and his family. Samuel Blakelock was a share-broker, who later became Secretary of the Leeds Infirmary. After his death in 1869, Sarah Blakelock, his widow, continued to live at Red Hall until her death in 1888, and her son, the Reverend Father Blakelock, lived in the house until the early twentieth century. Sometime in the late eighteen hundreds the house was also used as offices, by Messrs. Newstead and Wilson. Frederick Johnson, the son of their resident managing clerk, was born there in 1890, the last person to be born in Red Hall.

Red Hall continued to be used as offices until in 1912 it was purchased by Snowden Schofield, who incorporated it into his department store. During alteration to the house a cannon ball, a relic of the civil war was found embedded in the masonry of the front wall. It would have been fired from one of the cannons used by Sir Thomas Fairfax, when he attacked and took Leeds on 23rd January 1643. The King's Chamber became Schofield's café. When Schofields rebuilt their store in 1960/61, the remaining part of Red Hall was demolished.




Associated Links
Battle of Briggate

Click images to enlarge
Cossins Map
Cossins Map
Red Hall, north front, 1865
Red Hall, north front, 1865
Red Hall, rear of house, c.1910
Red Hall, rear of house, c.1910
Interior when used as Schofield's cafe, c.1916
Interior when used as Schofield's cafe, c.1916
Interior when used as Schofield's cafe, c.1916
Interior when used as Schofield's cafe, c.1916
Schofield's in front of Red Hall
Schofield's in front of Red Hall




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© 2003 Leeds City Council | Site created by: LCC electronic information team | 25 March 2003