See caption
Google map
King’s Arms at Heath

Wikimedia Commons

Heath is a village in the City of Wakefield in West Yorkshire, notable for its ancient common and the number of “mansions” around it. For its historic and architectural importance, the village has been designated a conservation area, and has many listed buildings. Heath Old Hall has been demolished, but Heath HallCountry mansion on Heath Common, near Wakefield in West Yorkshire and Heath House have been restored.


A little more than one mile (1.6 km) to the east of Wakefield city centre, the village of Heath lies within a registered common, a large expanse of grassland with areas of scrub, and is a conservation area of historic and architectural importance. The River Calder passes to the northwest of the village, and was joined by the Barnsley Canal that passed to the west.

The Wakefield to Normanton road, the A655, crosses the common from southwest to northeast, and the A638 Wakefield to Doncaster road passes to the south. The Wakefield to Normanton railway line passes to the northwest. The Trans-Pennine cycleway passes along the west of the common and through the village before heading to Kirkthorpe.

Heath Common

See caption
Heath Common
Wikimedia Commons

Heath Common has remained unenclosed for centuries, after its enclosure was opposed in the mid-19th century by Charles Waterton of Walton Hall, along with many others; it was registered as a common in the late 19th century.[1] The registered common is open access land according to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

At the north end of the common are Heath Hall and Heath House, a group of cottages and the Kings Arms public house occupy the middle section, and a large rough grassy section separates the village from the main roads.[2]


A Roman road from Pontefract via Streethouse and Wakefield crossed the common before crossing a bridge at Agbrigg and heading to the Calder at Wakefield.[3] In 1324 the Archbishop of York granted a licence to Thomas de Cocklouwe to celebrate the divine service at his small chapel in Heath.[4]

See caption
Dame Mary Bolles’ Water Tower
Wikimedia Commons

Heath Old Hall, one of England’s lost houses, was built for George Ramsden in 1595. It was considered to be an excellent example of Elizabethan architecture and is attributed to Robert Smythson, architect of the similar Barlborough Hall in Derbyshire. Mary Bolles17th-century Yorkshire woman uniquely created a baronetess in her own right. bought Heath Hall from the Kaye family in 1635.[5] The hall was demolished in 1961 because of mining subsidence and years of neglect. Only its gatepiers topped with pineapple finials remain, and its outbuildings have been converted into cottages.[6] In a field outside the village is Dame Mary Bolles’ Water Tower dating from the 17th century. It is associated with Heath Old Hall and its one-time owner.[7] It was built over a spring, and may have been used to store water for use at the old hall.[8]

Cobbler’s Hall, built around 1740 was, from 1749 to the 1780s, Heath Academy, a finishing school for young men destined for the army and navy. It had a library and among other things taught Classics, mathematics, music, fencing and dancing.[9] It was the village post office for a time, but has since been divided and converted to residences.[10]

A pair of cottages and a barn were converted into the Kings Arms public house in around 1841. Inside are fireplaces and panelling salvaged from the old hall. [8]


See caption
Heath Hall
Wikimedia Commons

Heath Hall is a Grade I Palladian country house, originally known as Eshald House, built by Theophilus Shelton in 1694. In 1709 John Smyth, a wealthy wool trader bought it. His nephew of the same name commissioned John CarrProlific architect who worked mainly in the North of England, (1723–1807). to reconstruct and enlarge the house. The work took place between 1754 and 1780, and Antony Salvin extended the hall in 1837–1845.[11][12]

Heath House is a 17th-century, H-shaped house with a façade by James Paine.[6] Built in the style of a Palladian villa, it has a five-bay, symmetrical, ashlarMasonry of squared and finely cut or worked stone, commonly used for the facing of a building. façade and a Welsh blue-slate roof, and is Grade II* listed.[13] The Dower House was built around 1740 for the Smyths of Heath Hall.[8]



Common Land In England. “Heath Common.” Heath Common,
Harman, Ruth, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Yorkshire West Riding: Sheffield and the South. 2017.
Historic England. Cobbler’s Hall and Heath Post Office.
Historic England. Dame Mary Bolle’s Water Tower Including Water Wheel Housing and Overflow Channel.
Historic England. Heath House, Heath Common.
Walker, J. W. Wakefield Its History and People Vol.1&2 3rd Edn. S.R.  Publishers, 1966.