The Temple on the Hill

The Temple on the Hill - Mono Landscapes
Black Dick's Temple

The Beaumonts arrived in Britain with WIlliam the Conquerer and were awarded lands in Huddersfield in the early part of the 13th century. Whitley Hall was built by Richard Beaumont in the early 17th century, although there was probably a house on the site as early as the late 14th century. It was remodelled in 1704 and the grounds landscaped by Capability Brown. The Beaumont family continued the occupy the hall until 1917. An attempt at restoration was made by Charles Sutcliff who bought the hall in 1924 but it was sold once again in 1950, this time to an open cast mining company and the hall was demolished.

Black Dick's Temple is now the only structure that remains of the estate. It stands on a ridge of high ground, just off Liley Lane between Grange Moor and Kirkheaton. It is named after Sir Richard Beaumont (1574-1631), who was named 'Black Dick of the North' by James I. Quite how he got his nickname is not clear, although he is reputed to have been involved in a number of nefarious activities, such as being a highwayman, a gambler, a bad debtor and was supposedly killed in a duel. He is also said to have murdered a young serving girl who he had made pregnant.

However, he was knighted by James I, helped to found Kirkheaton Grammar School, was the MP for Pontefract and was made a Baronet in 1628. His restless (and headless) ghost is said to haunt the tower on 5th July every year. Although how he has come to be associated with the tower is a bit of a mystery, as it was built (most likely as a summer house) in 1752, over a century after he had died. There also seems to have been some confusion with an earlier Beaumont, who was beheaded by his enemies during the Elland Feud. It has also been supposed that the Temple was built as a mausoleum and that a tunnel leads to Kirkheaton. Black Dick himself lies under a wonderfully elaborate tomb, in the Beaumont Chapel of Kirkheaton Church.

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