Ossett - the history of a Yorkshire town

The History of Longlands Hall and the Haigh family by Alan L. Howe

Until the mid 1970s, a house and a home, Longlands Hall, stood where now there is only Industrial and Commercial Business Units comprising the Longlands Industrial, or Trading, Estate on the Wakefield and Dewsbury Road at Flushdyke Ossett.. In its prime the 18th Century Longlands Hall was the 12 roomed home of the largest land owners and the richest family in Ossett. The Hall stood in grounds extending to 16 acres, with a further 5 acres nearby and with frontage on to the Wakefield to Halifax Turnpike Road at Flushdyke. Its location, with convenient east to west and north to south routes, was perfect for its owners’ business as wool staplers and land owners. What follows is the history of The Haighs of Longlands Hall.

Site of Longlands at Flushdyke

Above: Longlands House site (October 2014) on the Wakefield & Dewsbury Road. Ossett Holy Trinity in background.

From left to right: In the near distance was Little Longlands (meadow land) which is now DFE (Wakefield) Ltd. In the middle distance, just after the bollards, Smith Way leads off to the left. Longlands Hall plantation, gardens and tennis were bisected by Smith Row. In the far distance, just beyond the white sign for Concorde Group, was Longlands Hall proper. The Hall and its extensive range of outbuildings stood on the site of Concorde Group offices .Note the mature trees which, even today, mark the extensive road frontage of what was once Longlands Hall and its grounds.

There are references to Longlands in Ossett as far back as the mid 17th century but they refer only to land used for pasture and meadow. In 1688-89, John Haigh of Whitley, Thornhill, purchased land at Longlands from the Liversedge family. On his death in 1702 he left it, and other land in Ossett, to his son Joseph Haigh of Whitley.

In 1709 Joseph let this Ossett land and a dwelling house to his kinsman, Joshua Haigh, who was born about 1670 in Brestwell (Briestfield) near Thornhill. Joshua and his wife, Sarah North, and their first daughter came to Ossett between late 1700 and early 1703. Joseph Haigh acquired more land at Healey, Ossett in 1717 but about this time he left Ossett for Underwood in Nottinghamshire. Married but with no surviving children Joseph Haigh of Underwood bequeathed all of his Ossett land to his tenant and kinsman, Joshua Haigh in his Will dated 1746.

Joshua Haigh was to have a son, grandson and great-grandson, each an only surviving son, and each called Joshua. For ease of reference this history refers to them as Joshua Haigh I, II, III and IV.

Joshua Haigh I (1670-1746), a Woolstapler and landowner, built upon his inheritance from Joseph and acquired more Ossett land in the first quarter of the 18th century including 11 acres at Longlands. He had six children including two boys, but only one, Joshua Haigh II, survived infancy. Joshua Haigh I died in 1746. There was no reference to Longlands in his Will and whilst he left named land and property to his four married daughters his only son Joshua Haigh II (1714 – 1784) inherited most of his father’s real estate. He married Elizabeth Peace in 1738 and they had two children, Joshua Haigh III, born 1741, and Sarah, born 1744, who married John Liversedge of Lees Hall Thornhill in 1768.

Joshua Haigh II made his Will in 1769 when he referred to himself as Joshua Haigh of Ossett. When he died in 1784 his son, Joshua Haigh III (1741-1814), was sworn as Executor of his father’s estate and he was the first Haigh to describe himself as Joshua Haigh of Longlands. In 1771 Joshua Haigh III took action against a neighbour at the Yorkshire Summer Assizes and presented a plan of the lands in question. That plan included a crude but telling illustration of Longlands Hall providing positive proof that the House existed by 1771. Thus the evidence is that Longlands Hall was not built before 1746 (Joshua I Will) and 1771. Is it possible to be more specific about the date of build within this time frame of 1746-1771?

In 1763, Joshua Haigh III married Anne Robinson at Dewsbury All Saints Church and they had seven children including two sons. Only one son, Joshua Haigh IV, survived infancy. Joshua and Anne’s first two children were baptised in Wakefield in 1764 and August 1766 but their third child, Joshua III, was baptised in Dewsbury parish in June 1767. This suggests Joshua III and Anne moved from Wakefield parish, where they may have resided with Anne’s parents, to Dewsbury parish between mid-August 1766 and late June 1767. This 10 month period has emerged as the most plausible date, within the 1746-1771 time frame, when Longlands Hall was built for Joshua Haigh III and his family.

By 1774 the Ossett Valuation recorded that Joshua Haigh II & Joshua Haigh III each owned 80 acres in Ossett , or 5%, of the township’s acreage. Joshua Haigh III made his Will in 1794 and died in 1814. He left named real estate to his spinster daughters but his bachelor son, Joshua Haigh IV, inherited the major part of the estate.

Joshua Haigh IV ( 1767-1836) was the only son of six surviving children born to Joshua Haigh III. Joshua IV died at Longlands Hall in 1836, aged 69, and a bachelor. His five spinster sisters, the Misses Haighs who lived with him at Longlands Hall, all died between 1843 and 1857 when, latterly, the eldest daughter, Ann was the last to die, aged 92 years. By 1843 the Haigh family had built an Ossett land holding of 306 acres which represented almost 10% of the township’s total acreage.

The end of the Haigh of Longlands Hall dynasty was certain since the six surviving Haighs in this generation all died unmarried and without children. There were however plenty of cousins, albeit not bearing the Haigh surname, and the Haigh’s favourite, was Charles Wheatley, J.P., land and colliery owner. Charles, of Sands House Hopton, Mirfield, was a man of enormous influence and wealth in his own right. In 1851 he owned 150 acres of land and employed over 200 men and boys. In 1872 his West Riding land ownership, including the Haigh’s former land, extended to 356 acres. Other members of his family owned another 550 acres in the Riding.

Longlands Hall Estate in 1850

Above: 1850 Map showing Longlands Hall Estate and acreage.

The acreage figures above are taken from the 1844 Rate Valuation and, including the 5 acre Clover Longlands, comprised about 24 Acres. The Wakefield & Dewsbury Road is shown as the northern boundary of the Estate and, for reference purposes, Dale Street is shown to the west. The 1843 Ossett Tithe Award records similar acreages and also reveals that Greater and Little Longlands were meadows and Clover Longlands was put down to pasture.

Charles Wheatley (1813-1900) was executor and main beneficiary of the Haigh estate including Longlands Hall. Between 1861 and 1901 the Hall remained in his ownership although Charles continued to live at Sands House. Longlands Hall was rented during this period to two Ossett families. William Speight, a Woollen Manufacturer was the tenant by 1861 and after his early death the Hall was tenanted by Abraham Pollard, a Mungo Manufacturer. When Abraham died in 1900 the tenancy of Longlands Hall was taken by his eldest son, George A Pollard. He died in Copenhagen in 1908 and Abraham’s younger son, William E Pollard, took over the tenancy by 1911 and he died in 1921.

Charles Wheatley, a bachelor, died in late 1900, aged 87. He left legacies of more than £100,000 from his estate of £554,000 (£60 million in current values), the remainder of which was left in trust for his cousin once removed, Eleanor Steele (nee Robinson) and, on her death, her children. Eleanor was the daughter of a Horbury Apothecary, G.P. and Surgeon and in 1873 she married Adam Rivers Steele, an attorney at law who was also wealthy in his own right. The couple set up their home in Essex and had a son and three daughters. Only the son would marry and the spinster daughters became known as the Misses Steele.

In 1910 the Inland Revenue Valuation recorded the House thus:-

House, Greenhouse, outbuildings & Land Cellar K(itchen) Pantry, Hall, Servant’s Hall, Dining, Breakfast & Library, 5 bedrooms, Boxroom, Front & Back Garden, Lawn etc. Coachman’s House Room 2 beds. Stable, 3 stalls, loft over & Coachhouse. Farm buildings, Barn, Stable, Mistal for 3 cows.

Oldish property well built in good repair, stone built House , Stable & part farm buildings of brick.

Land field 770 grass 10.581 Greater Longlands
Land field 773 grass 6.321 Little Longlands
House buildings 830 2.014  
Land 776 grass 3.510  
Land 778 grass 2.223 Land behind Workhouse Fold on Map
Total 24.649  

Eleanor Steele died in 1910 at her 35 room Loddington Hall home in Leicestershire and her only son and her daughters, the Misses Steele, inherited the estate left to them by Charles Wheatley. By the early 1920s the last tenant of Longlands House, William Ernest Pollard had died and many of the Steele land holdings were being sold. In 1929, Longlands Hall and the Little Longlands land was sold to Colin Rowland Crook , Brickworks owner of Wakefield. Local man, Tommy Brooke was tenanting part of the Hall from Mr Crook, possibly the former Coachman’s house, and also some of farm buildings. It was here that he established what became known as Tommy Brooke’s Farm.

The tenant Tommy Brooke died in late 1953 and Colin Rowland Crook, the owner of Longlands House and the Little Longlands land died in 1971 almost 200 years after Longlands Hall was built. It is probable that, shortly after his death, Mr Crook’s executors sold his ownership to Ossett based Milner Developments Ltd for the construction of industrial units on what became the Longlands Industrial Estate. By 1973 Longlands Hall had gone and industrial and commercial development had begun on site.

Longlands Hall aerial view just before demolition 1967

Above: Aerial Map of Longlands in August 1967 shortly before its demolition.

Longlands Hall

Above: Longlands House in the early/mid 1970’s during demolition of the 200 year old house.

Forty years later no trace of Longlands Hall remains but for almost 100 years it was the home of the Haigh family who in 1843 owned more than 5% of Ossett’s total acreage. In its time, and perhaps over all time, Longlands Hall was also the largest and most imposing dwelling in Ossett. Sadly, no photographs of the House appear to have survived but hopefully this History of the Haighs of Longlands Hall will serve as a reminder of the House and the Haigh family who lived there.

For much of its history Longlands Hall’s closest neighbour was the Ossett Poorhouse as will be seen from the 1850 map reproduced elsewhere. The proximity of Longlands Hall and Ossett Workhouse, stands as a reminder of the contrast in the lives of 18th and 19th Centuries Ossett people – the haves and the have nots. Families who lived so close to one another but who probably knew nothing of their closest neighbours’ lives. Longlands Hall and the Ossett Poorhouse were so close but they were worlds apart.


Joshua Haigh came to Ossett between 1700 and 1703 at the invitation of his kinsman Joseph Haigh who had inherited land and property in Ossett from his father, John Haigh of Whitley. The land included acreage at Longlands that John had acquired in 1688-89 and Joshua Haigh was renting this land by 1709.

Between 1712 and 1725 Joshua Haigh assembled more land in Ossett including 11 acres at Longlands but by the time of his death in 1746 there was no evidence of a dwelling on Longlands land. His son and his grandson, also called Joshua Haigh and the only sons from the respective marriages, worked as wool staplers and became major landowners in Ossett. In 1771 the first documented evidence emerged of the existence of Longlands Hall and by 1784 Joshua referred to himself as Joshua Haigh of Longlands.

Thus the evidence suggests that Longlands Hall was built between 1746 and 1771. In between these dates, in 1763, the third Joshua Haigh married and had two children baptised at Wakefield in 1764-1766 and then a child baptised at Dewsbury parish (which included Ossett) in 1767. It is possible that the mid August 1766 to late June 1767 period was the period during which Longlands Hall within a 16 acres Estate, was built as a home for Joshua’s family.

On the death of last of the Longlands Misses Haighs in 1857 the real estate, including Longlands Hall passed first to the Haighs’ cousin , the wealthy Charles Wheatley of Sands House, Hopton and then in 1900 to his cousin, Eleanor Steele (nee Robinson) who was born in Horbury. Her children, one son and three daughters, the Misses Steele, inherited the Haigh and Wheatley real estate on Eleanor’s death in 1910.

Between 1861 and 1921 Longlands Hall and its estate land of about 16 acres was tenanted by only two Ossett manufacturing families, the Speights and the Pollards. In 1929 the House and 9 acres were sold to Colin Rowland Crook. He lived at the House until his death in 1971 and let part of the estate to Tommy Brooke who farmed the land. Shortly after Mr Crook’s death the remainder of the estate and the House itself was acquired by Ossett based Milner Developments Ltd who demolished the House and created industrial units in its stead. By 1973 development had begun on site.

For almost 200 years Longlands Hall was home to just four families with three of them involved in Ossett’s staple industry, wool manufacturing, for 150 of those years. Over the early years of its life the House and grounds would echo to the laughter of the final generation of the Longlands Haigh children. Much later this may have turned to a mood of melancholy as the unmarried Haighs grew old together and died, one by one over 21 years, in the home in which they had lived all of their lives.

For most of its time the House was in the right place and at the right time but time and “progress” caught up with it as it fell in the way of the next industrial revolution and the need for jobs. Like the rest of the Flushdyke community it was swept away, as if it never existed, by the industrialisation of the area in the 1960s and 1970s.


1608 Longlands land mentioned in Manor of Wakefield Court Rolls

1664 John Liversedge inherits 1 ½ acres at Longlands from his father

1672 Joshua Haigh born in Briestwell, Thornhill

1688 Richard Liversedge sells land at les Longlands to John Haigh of Whitley

1698 Joshua Haigh I married Sarah North at Thornhill

1700 Joshua’s first child baptised at Thornhill

1703 Joseph Haigh of Whitley inherited his father John’s real estate

1703 Joshua Haigh I moved to Ossett & second child baptised at Dewsbury

1709 Joshua Haigh I, kinsman of Joseph Haigh, occupied Joseph’s Ossett dwelling & land

1712 Joshua Haigh I acquired 5 acres of land at Longlands

1714 Joshua Haigh II is baptised at Dewsbury

1717 Joseph Haigh, clothier bought more Ossett land (near Healey) & moved to Notts

1725 Joshua Haigh I acquired 6 acres of land at Longlands

1738 Joshua Haigh II married Elizabeth Peace

1741 Joshua I & Joshua II recorded as 40 shillings freeholders

1741 Joshua Haigh III baptised at Dewsbury

1746 Joshua Haigh I of Ossett died. No mention of Longlands Hall in his Will

1763 Joshua Haigh III married Anne Robinson

1766 Joshua Haigh III first two children baptised at Wakefield

1767 Joshua Haigh III third child, Joshua Haigh IV baptised at Dewsbury.

1767 Possibly the year that Longlands Hall was built

1769 Joshua Haigh II wrote his Will

1771 Earliest documentary evidence of Longlands Hall in a Case at Yorkshire Assizes

1774 Joshua I & Joshua II each recorded as owners of 80 acres of Ossett land

1784 Joshua Haigh II died & his son Joshua Haigh III recorded as being of Longlands

1814 Joshua Haigh III died at Longlands Hall

1836 Joshua Haigh IV died at Longlands Hall

1843 The five Misses Haigh, spinster sisters, were owners of 306 acres of land in Ossett

1843 Hannah Haigh was the first of the sisters to die

1857 Ann Haigh was the last of the sisters to die. Longlands Haigh line ends.

1857 Haigh estates left to cousin, Charles Wheatley, J.P. , land & Colliery owner

1861 Longlands Hall rented to William Speight, Ossett Woollen manufacturer

1872 Charles Wheatley recorded as owning 356 acres of land* in the West Riding

1881 Longlands Hall rented to Abraham Pollard, Ossett Mungo Manufacturer

1900 Abraham died & son George Pollard took tenancy of Longlands Hall

1900 Charles Wheatley died & left his estate* to cousin Eleanor Steele (nee Robinson)

1908 George Pollard died & younger brother William Pollard took tenancy of Longlands

1910 Eleanor Steele died & left estate* to her son & three spinster daughters Misses Steele

1910 Longlands Hall & Estate recorded as 24 acres. The Hall is described in some detail

1921 George Pollard died & tenancy taken by Colin Rowland Crook, Brickworks owner

1929 Mr Crook bought Longlands & 9 acres. Tommy Brooke rents attached house & land

1969 Mr Crook sold 3 acres to Milner Developments Ltd for industrial development

1971 Mr Crook died & Milner Development Ltd purchased Longlands Hall & remaining land

1973 Demolition of Longlands Hall & construction undertaken on site

* Longlands Hall was included in each of these estates.

A full copy of the research findings is included in the Downloads section of this website.

Alan Howe, December 2014

Alan Howe was born in Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury in 1950. After living some of his early life in Tadcaster, where he attended Tadcaster Grammar School, Alan moved to live in Ossett in the 1970s.

Alan Howe

Alan has contributed many articles to the ossett.net website and is one of Ossett's leading local historians, with a particular interest in the history of Ossett's grand houses.

Many of Alan's articles are available in greater detail on the Downloads area of this web site in PDF format.

Besides his interest in Local History, Alan and his wife Pat have stables and several acres at Runtlings, Ossett where they keep their horses.