From certain angles, moated Markenfield Hall near Ripon could double for a medieval village in southern France. Much of the complex is immaculately preserved in its original medieval state, which makes it a special place for film and TV location scouts. In 2020 it hosted Channel 5’s Anne Boleyn filming crew. London street scenes were filmed here and the hall featured as the Seymour home in Chelsea.
Not many tourists make it to Markenfield Hall in real life, but it’s an absolute beauty, with honeycomb-coloured buildings, a gatehouse leading off the moat and a turreted facade. It’s only open at certain times rather than daily, and admittance is by tour or for tea and talks, which gives an opportunity to hear intimate details about this much-loved family home.
The earliest parts of the manor house date to around 1230, but very little has been altered since the 1300s. To this day, it’s the home of the Grantleys – the builders of nearby Grantley Hall, now a luxury hotel. The hall was closely linked to the commercial activities of nearby Fountains Abbey before the reformation and its heyday was during the 16th century, around the time of Henry VIII and his children.
In 1569, Markenfield was an important lynchpin in the Rising of the North – a failed attempt by Northern Catholic nobles to depose Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn’s daughter.