Oakwell Hall is a late-16th century manor house set in a tranquil rural oasis in the heart of the West Riding conurbation.
The blackened gritstone building stands in period gardens and surrounded by a country park with only the sounds of the nearby motorway to disturb the peace.
The builder of the house was John Batt, whose Halifax-born father, a receiver of rents to the important Savile family, had purchased the estate. A recarved stone with the date 1583 probably indicates the date of construction.
Oakwell Hall was built to the usual post-medieval plan of a central hall block flanked by crosswings.
The entrance to the building is still through a porch and screens passage at the 'lower' end of the house.
The hall was originally two-storeyed but in the mid-17th century John Batt's grandson removed the ceiling and inserted a gallery and a large mullioned and transomed window.
In 1707 the estate was split up and Oakwell Hall was left to gently decay.
In the 19th century the building was a school and featured as 'Fieldhead' in Charlotte Bronte's novel 'Shirley'. Because the house was not an important residence it escaped being 'Georgianised' or remodelled in the 'Old English' style.
Oakwell Hall passed into municipal hands in 1928 and today it is owned by Kirklees Cultural Services.
The interiors were restored to their early-17th century condition with the aid of an inventory of 1611. During the restoration the original painted panelling of the Great Parlour and the Painted Chamber was revealed from under many layers of varnish and paint.
Today Oakwell Hall - nearly all of which is open to view - is set out as the home of the Batt family in the 1690s -an insight into the lives of 17th century gentry.
The Elizabethan manor house stands in re-created formal gardens, surrounded by 100 acres of country park which contains nature trails, an equestrian arena, an adventure playground and picnic areas.
Special events are held in the park throughout the year.
The interactive 'Discover Oakwell' exhibition introduces the ecology of the country park.