Now a thriving business centre, supporting enterprise and job creation, Conyngham Hall has a rich history.
In 1442, John Coghill, whose family name was spelt variously Cockhill and Coggshill acquired a small field on this site. By 1553 the estate had passed to Marmaduke Coghill, who rebuilt the house in 1555, it is likely to have been named Coghill Hall at this point.
The hall was rebuilt on the Tudor site of Coghill Hall towards the end of the eighteenth century by the renowned architect John Carr. It was now the seat of Sir John Coghill, who made Baronet in 1781 and was one of four candidates to be Knaresborough's Member of Parliament in 1784.
In 1796, Ellen the Dowager Countess Conyngham purchased Coghill Hall with 51 acres of land from Sir John Coghill and changed the name of the estate to Conyngham House.
Ellen's late husband was Henry Conyngham (Earl Conyngham of Mount Charles), the eldest of 27 children. Ellen was born in 1725 and married Henry in 1744. He died in 1781 leaving Ellen as Countess Conyngham of Mount Charles. She died in 1816.
The 1851 Census - shows that a Marcus and Harriet Worsley occupied the hall. He was described as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and a Landed Proprietor with 10 servants, including butler, housekeeper, cook, coachman, footman, lady's maid, two housemaids and a kitchen maid.
On 27 February 1856 the hall was bought by Basil T Woodd, who was Knaresborough's Conservative MP during 1852 and 1874. He was presumably responsible for the hall's portico and range of rooms added to the front of the building.
The 1861 Census - shows Basil T Woodd as married but his wife is not listed. He has three daughters living with him, plus 10 servants.
The 1871 Census - shows Basil T Woodd, a magistrate and landowner listed with five servants.
The 1881 Census - shows Basil T Woodd Esq. a widower, with daughter Fanny and nine servants.
The 1901 Census - shows Agnes Wilkinson is the only resident, as the housekeeper. Basil T Woodd died on 4th March 1901.
The hall is passed down to Basil Aubrey Holland Woodd Esq. and is subsequently sold to Charles E Charlesworth, Esq. on 8 February 1905.
The 1911 Census - shows Charles Ernest and Fanny Charlesworth occupied the hall with seven servants. They are described as living on private means, and both born in the Wakefield area. Charles Ernest Charlesworth died on 9 September 1919, and was buried in Knaresborough on 13 September 1919.
Sir Harold Mackintosh, the Halifax Toffee Magnate, leased the hall and grounds from the Trustees of the late C E Charlesworth, probably from 1925-1942. It was during this period that Quality Street and many other household names were introduced.
Harold Vincent Mackintosh then purchased several pieces of land on the opposite side of the River, between 1925 and 1927. Sir Harold was known to have bred prize Jersey dairy cattle on the estate at that time. This land became known as "Mackintosh Park".
In April 1941 the hall became an annex to Harrogate District Hospital and was used as a temporary hospital for injured soldiers.
The hall was sold to the Urban District Council of Knaresborough on 3 June 1946, for an estimated £17,500.
The miniature golf course was established by the council and opened on Whit Sunday 1947. The hall has been occupied by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and in more recent times the grounds housed Knaresborough Zoo and the hall was rented as offices to Tilcon.
Knaresborough Zoo was established in 1965 and two of its animals were mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records: Simba was a male lion who weighed 826lbs in July 1970 and Cassius was a female python who weighed 220lbs and was 27'4" in length in January 1973. Some of the graves of the animals can still be seen in the grounds today. The zoo closed in 1985 due to rising debts.
The hall was opened as a business centre in November 1995 with funding from the European Commission, North Yorkshire County Council and Harrogate Borough Council.
The opening ceremony of Conyngham Hall as a business centre took place on 5 November 1995 and was officiated by Edward MacMillan-Scott MEP and Phil Willis MP.
Page last updated 08/02/2019