Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:
Statutory Address:
Shibden Hall, Lister's Road, HX3 6XG


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Statutory Address:
Shibden Hall, Lister's Road, HX3 6XG

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Calderdale (Metropolitan Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


This List Entry was subject to a Minor Enhancement on 22 SEP 2016

House, now museum. Late medieval, altered in later C16 and in 2nd quarter of C19 with minor C20 alterations. Original timber-framed building with hall and 2-storeyed crosswings substantially survives. C16 work includes some casing in stone and new central rear wing. C19 work involved much renewal and some re-instatement of original form of building, also addition of tower to west and kitchens to east. Stone roofs. Cross wings preserve exposed framing (partly renewed) with close-set vertical and diagonal members on sill-high stone base. Rear of each wing has stone facing to ground storey. Windows reconstructed. South side of hall (original main entrance) set forward in C16 (stone and timber) with long mullioned windows transomed to ground storey. Simple stone north wing with gable. 3-storey Norman-style West tower with pyramidal roof added c1836 to design of John Harper of York. Arcaded loggia to south of traditional kitchen wing with low battlemented tower.

INTERIOR: very much renewed but some original and C16 work remains and also C17 panelling in one room on ground and first floors. Former buttery has bolection panelling and complete joinery of early-C18.

HISTORY: Shibden Hall was built c1420 for a cloth merchant William Otes, who is recorded as living in ‘Schepdene’. The Shibden property passed through several owners during the succeeding centuries, before coming into the hands of the Lister family (also cloth merchants) in the early-C17.

Anne Lister (1791-1840) took over the management of the Shibden Hall estate after the death of her uncle James Lister in 1826, but did not inherit until 1836 after the death of her father and aunt. During her life Anne Lister had both long- and short-term relationships with other women, and kept detailed diaries, partly in code, in which she recorded her sexual and romantic experiences. She has been described as ‘the first modern lesbian’ because she clearly identified as a woman who was sexually and romantically attracted solely to women. She wrote ‘I love and only love the fairer sex and thus, beloved by them in turn, my heart revolts from any other love than theirs.’

The diaries were at one time kept hidden in the wall of an upstairs corridor at Shibden by a descendant who did not wish for them to be made public knowledge. The first selection from her coded diaries was eventually published in 1988 by Helena Whitbread as ‘I Know My Own Heart: The Diaries of Anne Lister’.

Lister made significant changes to the architecture of Shibden Hall whilst she lived there. She employed the architect John Harper of York to make improvements, including the addition of a Norman-style tower c1836 for her library with modern water closets. The main hall was also re-opened to the height of the building and a gallery, new ‘Jacobethan’ panelling and a fireplace were all installed, making the space more imposing.

Lister was joined at Shibden Hall by her partner Ann Walker in 1834. Walker owned land adjoining the Shibden estate and inherited Shibden Hall when Lister died in September 1840 on the condition that she did not marry. However, Walker was removed from Shibden Hall by her family in 1843 and was committed to an asylum in York. Following her death in 1854 the Lister heirs inherited the Shibden estate.

In 1923 John Lister, the latest Lister heir, was declared bankrupt. His friend Mr A S McCrea, a Halifax councillor, bought the hall and presented it and 90 acres of parkland to the people of Halifax as a public park, which was opened by the Prince of Wales in 1926. John Lister lived out his life at the hall, which upon his death was handed over to Halifax Corporation who opened it as a museum.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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Date: 30 Aug 2006
Reference: IOE01/15815/04
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Nigel Wood. Source Historic England Archive
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