Free learning resources from arts, cultural and heritage organisations.

The Story of Temple Newsam

Temple Newsam House is a magnificent stately home, surrounded by acres of land. It is a Tudor Jacobean Mansion House with over 42 rooms. The whole estate is almost 1,000 acres including parkland, lakes and a farm. The grounds of Newsam was first recorded in the Doomsday book in 1086. The word Newsam means 'new houses' and 'temple' refers to the Knights Templar who used to own the land where the house is built.

Large, red brick building with a wing at each end of a central building extending forward.
Temple Newsam House, Leeds

Tudor History of Temple Newsam House

The house was built by Thomas Lord Darcy between 1500 - 1520. It was the largest house of its day in Yorkshire. During its long history there have been many important owners. It was seized by the King of England, Henry VIII, after he beheaded Darcy in 1537. King Henry gave the house to his niece, Margaret, as a wedding present when she married Matthew Lennox. Margaret and Matthew had a son, Henry Lord Darnley, who was born at Temple Newsam House in 1545. The house was seized for the second time by Queen Elizabeth I when Henry Lord Darnley married Mary Queen of Scots.


Entrance is made from a lighter stone with a pillar either side of the wide door.  Above the door is a crest.
Entrance to Temple Newsam House, Leeds

The House Under the Ingram Family


The Picture Gallery, Temple Newsam House, Leeds.  This has been restored to its original look and is richly adorned with paintings and carved furniture
The Picture Gallery, Temple Newsam House, Leeds

During the sixteenth and seventeenth century the Ingram family bought, changed and rebuilt many parts of the house.

Painting of the picture gallery showing a long room with paintings on either side. The wallpaper is red (it is now green) and there are people sitting in chairs on one side.
Illustration of Temple Newsam Picture Gallery

Temple Newsam in WW1

During WW1 part of the house was converted to a  Voluntary Aid Detatchment for wounded soldiers. 


Leeds City Council Ownership

In 1922 the estate was sold to Leeds City Council for £35,000, with the house included as a gift. The objects and furniture were auctioned off. The house was then empty for a period of time, before being used as a sculpture gallery in the 1940s. After this, the process of restoring the house began, returning many of the impressive interiors to their historic appearance from different centuries.  

The Still Room, Temple Newsam House, Leeds showing a bare flagstone floor with a rough wooden table and chairs in the centre.  A longcase clock stands against one wall.
The Still Room, Temple Newsam House, Leeds

Temple Newsam house and grounds are open to the public as part of Leeds Museums and Galleries. There are tales of murders, mysteries, wealth, love, death, war and even ghosts, offering a wealth of information that will interest, excite and delight visitors and schools.

The story of the house, its owners and significant events that happened at Temple Newsam can be found in the downloadable timeline.