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Local History

The thick walls of Temple Newsam
The thick walls of Temple Newsam

Hidden Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam, Leeds, is one of the great historic houses of England. Home of the Ingram family for over 300 years this fine Tudor-Jacobean mansion dates back to the late 15th century. Curator James Lomax takes us on an underground tour.

"We start our tour in the cellars of the house, these date from the Tudor period about 500 years ago. The cellars run the whole length of the south wing of the house and include wine, beer and coal cellars.

Discover Temple Newsam
Discover Temple Newsam

"We can also visit the Brushing Room this would be entered from the park by a side door by privileged visitors and the staff would brush them down so that mud would not be carried into the main house.

"All of these facilities are now open to view, the subterranean rooms are not used but it is a fascinating empty space.

"Then we can take the underground passage, beneath the courtyard, that links the north and south parts of the house. Originally this passage allowed the servants to run around from the kitchens to the dining room. It's an early 18th century short cut.

The hidden Temple Newsam
The hidden Temple Newsam

"Some of the rooms were underground from necessity, for instance the damp and chilly conditions are perfect for storing wine.

"Temple Newsam has another rarity an underground reservoir for the house's water supply designed in the mid-18th century by the local engineer John Smeaton.

"The underground tour is in addition to the 40 above ground rooms that are open at Temple Newsam. Once inside the domestic part of the house and we can see the series of bells that were rung to summon a servant. We can see the Steward's Room and the Still Room where jams and pickles were made.

Taking the tour
Taking the tour

"Temple Newsam is stiff with ghosts and although the spirits are not necessarily associated with the underground part of the house there is still quite a feeling in them, you wouldn't want to stay on your own down there.

"The tours of hidden Temple Newsam are being developed and in the medium term it is intended to extend the tour to take in the servant halls. In its heyday (the late 19th century) there would be more than 30 servants helping the running of the house and estate.

"More and more visitors are now interested in the less glamorous side of history and seeing how the house operated."

Temple Newsam House
Temple Newsam House

The Hidden Temple Newsam tours must be booked in advance. For further information on the house call 0113 264 5535

last updated: 10/05/05
Have Your Say
What are your memories of Temple Newsam?
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lauren linley

I've lived near "Tempsey" all my life and have spent many happy hours there, with my family when I was small, with friends as a teenager and more recently taking a succession of dogs for long walks. My grandad worked on the farm many years ago and lived in one of the tied cottages on Colton Road. My fondest memory is of going to the farm with my dad & sister at milking time and being given a glass of milk, fresh from the cooling pipes. My sister and I also spent ages looking for the single window pane on the right hand wing, courtyard side, which had been inscribed by one of the glaziers with a goodwill message for the house. I think it must have been removed some years ago because I still look for it but never manage to find it. I think it's such a shame that Templenewsam doesn't have more National recognition when it has so much history, being the birthplace of Lord Darnley, husband of Mary Queen of Scots, mentioned in the Domesday Book and also being owned by the Knights Templar. It's a fantastic place and I never tire of going there.

well one night me and friends went to the temple newsam house and seen a monk like looking person stood on the house which was incredibly scary i just turned around and didnt look bk put my head in my hands since that day i necer went back this was the night that the great fire happened just near the temple newsam

Mary Haggarty
There was always a mystery about the house when as a child we would go there as a family, tour the house then picknic on thegrounds.It was a favorite place to go and feel you were miles away from home even though you only lived across town.

every sunday when i was a kid we used to walk through 'tempsie woods' to temple newsam for an afternoon out with our mam and dad. we used to have some great times at temple newsam in the summer holidays swimming in the lake and going to the temple at the top of the hill. I go with my own family now and it is still as good as ever although i wouldn't swim in the lake now!

Its intresting but spooky.Because me and my dad went into the maids room and someone knoked on the door twice.We looked down the stairs and the door shut by its self.SPOOKY

As a child, temple newsham was my favourite place to visit with my parents. I was fascinated by the bulls. Once my brother stood on a low hedge, thinking it was grass, and fell straight through. It was hilairious. Many great memories.

David Gateley
Childhood memories 1960.And the Blue Lady. Also conker trees,within the grounds

Sarah, Josh and their grandparents
There used to be a super maze - but now it's gone!!! All we have left are the memories of loads of fun!

Mike Horne
I used to live at Lulworth Crescent on the Devon Estate in Whitkirk from 1954 to 1962. I also attended Colton Primary School from 1960 to 1962. We used to go for nature walks from the school to Temple Newsam Park. I remember the sound of the Waterloo Colliery winding gear seemed to be nearly always present. I also have memories of my parents taking me to the park. Also, I remember the tram terminus. As far as experiencing "spooky" happenings in the park, my brother and I went on our bicycles to Halton (to visit relatives) in the 1970's (from west Leeds where we live). We then cycled through the park to Whitkirk. It was dark by the time we got to Temple Newsam, so we switched both bike headlights on. They lasted for a while, but they both mysteriously "went out" at the same time a few minutes later. It is a mystery that could not be explained, why the filaments of the bulbs blew. The batteries were not at fault. Regards Mike Horne

karen camm
As a child i used to walk to temple newsam with my family.We would take a picnic and stay all day.We spent many happy hours there.My dad spent a lot of his chidhood there too.He took us there many times all the way through to colton.My dad is 70 now and terminally ill. But he loves the place and on his good days he still likes to go sit in the gardens. Many happy memories for our family.NEE LOWE

i go there everyday just to "hang" with my friends!! i love it lol and i have been in the house once whilst i have been there and i was in one of the rooms i dont no which 1 but it had a fire place and i was walking out of the door to the next room and the door started pushing me out violently i turned round to see if anyone was in there but there was only my mum n she was near the window i later came on the internet and found out that a room was supposed to be haunted and the door supposedly shuts all the time in this agressive manor!! a message to everyone though it is an excellent place to beat the boredom and the park with the lake is very nice scenery and also the maze at the back of the house is very good for the kids playing hide and seek a good reccomendation for a day out!!!!

I have lived near to Temple Newsam all my life and I still love to go there. I even had my wedding photos taken in the house with special permission and they are stunning. I love the farm and I remember being scared of a poster for rabies which was displayed in the cow shed. The house is wonderful but my mother has always wanted to see the lower floors where the servants would have worked and possibly lived.

I grew up in Colton in 1950 and Temple Newsham was our play place. We would go there often - mum, dad and my sister, down our drive, across Meynell Rd and onto the farm path. We would go past the tree struck by lightning then over the stile into the woods. We called it Dad's tree, I don't know why, but he was born and raised on a farm in Colton. Once inside the woods we would often find the whole forest floor covered in bluebells - and a sense of little people darting away as we came by. We played "here kitty kitty" in the little temple then walked on, out of the trees, along walks of glorious crimson rhododendrons to where swans swam in the lake. Mum told us how when a female swan died, her mate pined for her for years after. I think his name was Joey. I haven't seen Temple Newsham since I was five, but I have never forgotten. Growing up in the open spaces of NZ with a great love for landscaping I didn't realise how much I owed to those hours at Temple Newsham, how unique was that magic that I took for granted. I'm told that a motorway now crosses "Dads farm" but despite the changes I look forward to going back one day and seeing the house, that may not have been open way back then. I have been told that many of my great-aunts possessions and furniture are displayed in a bothy (workers cottage)on the grounds.

elaine kent
My grandad George Makin worked at Templenewsam farm from the late 1930,s right up until he retired in the 60,s.We spent many happy hours at the farm as kids.It is one of my most favourite places.

Pervaiz Chaudhry
I to Colton three years ago ,having found temple newsam I would say it is the best public area in leeds with its sweeping grounds and mature trees you get a real feeling of history and majesty of past times and of past peoples!

Richard Ross
Been here very many times has a kid, in the farm in the grounds down to the lake, to the dam and the veiw from the top down to the house is breath taking. the gardens and green houses are better than ever. what a soothering,relaxing,exciting place this is. 10 out of 10. CHECK IT OUT WITH THE KIDS BUT MAKE SURE YOU HAVE MORE THAN 5 HOURS SPARE.

i like the new changes to temple newsam i have visited it once but that was in my pramary school years

Natasha collinson
When i was little my mum took me to the house it was a great day out i recomend it for all the family.

Roger Cowling
I as a child spent many hours playing in the Temple Newsam grounds,lakes and countryside around, the house was impresive then as it is now, now 40 years on i take my sons round the estate

elaine makin
my grandad george makin worked on templenewsam farm from the 1930,s to his retirement in the 60,s we spent hours up there as kids i have very happy memories of the farm and the whole park

Dudley Dursley
I am really into spirits and the unexplainable. After reading of pertunias experiances I went to temple newsam house looking for this ghost girl. I saw this girl as well, so you are not crazy pertunia. She didn't say anything to me though.

I heard a strange noise while i was visiting temple newsam house. Then i saw a little girl she was defenitly a ghost she was see-through and told me to go and leave her in peace; I ran as fast as i could away from her i haven't told anyone about this in case they thought i was crazy. I hope this helps you.

Amber Giles
I have recently done a performance at temple newsam in the house and was amazed by the real historic feel to it. I could imagine the people who lived there and how the house would have been run and the insight into people that lived there. I think its a shame there aren't more houses like it.

Richard Walton
I used to love walking round the estate. However, that has now been impaired by the noisy M1/A1 link road and a scar on the scenery. The farm is very disappointing and lacks real educational merit. Dogs foul the place and owners throw sticks in the ponds frightening the bird life. I suggest visitors attend early in the morning and see the place at its best when it is quiet. Don't agree with the parking costs either i.e. a parent takes a child to the playground and is asked to pay to park.

Jo McEwan
My Dad actually lived on Temple Newsam Farm from 1949 onwards. My Grandma used to do the tours for Temple Newsam House. I remember her saying it was definitely haunted. I will try and find out some more information and stories from back then.

I was taken to Temple Newsam as a kid and I just thought that it was the biggest park I'd ever seen. I had a great run round and have remembered the feeling of freedom and excitement ever since.

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