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Esholt is famous for being used for the filming of Yorkshire TV's popular television series "Emmerdale Farm". Nowadays Esholt is no longer used for filming, the series setting has now moved to a purpose built replica of Esholt on the Harewood Estate near Harrogate, Esholt is still a popular venue with viewers of the series.
Esholt lies in the Aire Valley and is situated between Shipley and Guiseley in West Yorkshire. The villages name indicates that it was first established in a heavily wooded area of ash trees."aesc" meaning ash while "holt" means shelter.
The Esholt estate was was the property of Syningthwaite Priory in the twelfth century. A Cistercian nunnery dedicated to St Mary and St Leonard was established at Lower Esholt. When the nunnery was dissolved by the order of King Henry VIII in about 1547 the estate was granted by his son Edward VI to Henry Thompson. In the seventeenth century the heiress Frances Thompson married Walter Calverley (1629-1694). Their son Walter Calverley built Esholt Hall in 1709. The hall was a Queen Anne style mansion house, which occupied the site of the old nunnery. The Calverleys sold the estate to Robert Stansfield n 1775, the Stansfield family remained in possession until 1906 when it was sold to Bradford City Council. It is now owned by Yorkshire Water.
The manor house, Esholt Old Hall (pictured above right) at Upper Esholt, one of the oldest buildings in the village, probably dates to the sixteenth century and once had a moat. The Old Hall originally belonged to the De Warde family and was owned by artist Sir John Constable for a time. He sold it in 1567 to Sir Richard Sherbourne.The neighbouring field contains extensive earthworks, the remains of the priory buildings.
The Church of Saint Paul was built in 1839 by William Rookes Crompton-Stansfield for use as a private family chapel. St Paul's is a successor to the private chapel in the old manor house. It was consecrated in 1853 and the chancel added in 1895. The building was used for the scenes of baptisms, weddings and funerals in Emmerdale.
Esholt has two pubs, The Woolpack in Main Street and The Old Barn. The Woolpack was used as the exterior of the Woolpack in Emmerdale. Esholt Woolpack was once the Commercial Inn but due to tourists visiting the name was changed to the Woolpack to match the fictional pub in the Emmerdale story. Esholt Tea Rooms were also used as the exterior of the Emmerdale Tea Rooms.