Powerful ShortcutsHoyle Court, a Queen Anne style house, was built by Sam Ambler between 1910 and 1912 for his wife, Emily Beatrice. Sam Ambler was a descendent of Jeremiah Ambler who established the Bradford company Jeremiah Ambler & Sons Limited in 1789. They moved the company to Midland Mills in Valley Road, Bradford in 1830 and it is still here today. Now converted into offices called 'Ambler Mill'. The company produced quality Mohair from the Angora Goat.
Records show that the Ambler family owned a considerable amount of land covering this area of Baildon in the 1880s and perhaps even before. The estate covered 23 acres and was originally called Hoyle Farm.
Access to the house was by a fine drive from Otley Road leading up to the private garden and the house. The drive was lined with horse-chestnut trees, some of which are still here today, and in season there were carpets of snowdrops and crocuses. Coming up the drive on the right hand side were two well planned tennis courts.
At the bottom on Otley Road stood a detached house built of local stone in keeping with Hoyle Court itself. The gardener, Mr Viney, lived there with his wife and had moved there with the family from White Lodge, Heaton, where the Amblers originally lived.
The private grounds were screened by a variety of trees such as rhododendrons, lilac and other blossom bearing bushes.
The garden at the front of the house is similar to as it is now except that the rose garden was in fact a lily pond with goldfish. It was fed by Springwater from the moors and the pipes can still be seen today. To the rear, which is now our carpark, was a large circular rose garden with an imposing statue in the centre.
There was also an aviary with tropical birds and a monkey house where a bad tempered monkey called Gretchen lived. Sam also acquired a fowl mouthed green parrot he bought from a sailor. This parrot lived in the kitchen and one day cook was so disgusted with its language she put it in the corridor. Unfortunately, it caught a cold and died.
The farmed area was let off to the Rawlings family who worked the farm for generations and it is recorded that Sam Ambler paid the farmer to keep sheep, a cow and several pigs to ensure the house was kept well supplied.
The date on the building can just be seen on the left of the step as you enter the building from the terrace. It is nice and discrete - E.B.A. 1912 - Emily Beatrice Ambler.
Emily was an accomplished concert pianist and played Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Beethoven on her Steinway grand piano Sam bought her as a wedding present. It is recorded that it was her passionate way of playing that had made Sam fall in love with her. The music room had a raised dais and Emily played for many family occasions.
Hoyle Court was a 23 acre estate extending from the houses bounded by the main road and the railway right through to St James Church. On completion of the building of Hoyle Court it must have been a wonderfully idyllic time for the family and even the 1914-18 war did not seem to affect the style of living. until the tragic loss of the Ambler's only son, Edward Sharp Ambler, on 8 May 1918 aged 20 whilst serving as a lieutenant in the Scots Guards. He is buried in Warlincourt Halte British Cemetery, Saulty, France. They were left to bring up their daughter, Ruth.
Ruth married Emerson Lyman Fisher-Smith in 1923 and was the first ever wedding to take place at Hoyle Court
The depression also affected the Ambler Company and like many other people the Amblers were rapidly losing their fortune. However, the Hoyle Court estate was still a thriving environment employing many staff both for the gardens as well as the house. There was a cook, scullery maid, three housemaids and a nurse (Norah Widdop) for the grandchildren. This was considered a skeleton staff compared to the number of servants before the crash of 1929. The staff quarters were in the loft and still exist today. There is a game preparation room in the cellar which is used for storage today.
Nonetheless every day except Sunday the hall and stairs were vacuumed before nine each morning and the linen sheets were changed on all the beds. Hoyle Court had its own laundry in the outbuildings and two or three women came from Baildon village six days a week to wash and iron.
Sam Ambler, died in 1948.
In 1949 Emily was still living at Hoyle Court with her brother in law and two aged servants. Neglected during the war the gardens now had a poetic almost ghostly beauty. Viney the now only gardener spent most of his time growing fruit and vegetables to sell in the village but still found time to grow flowers for the house.
Finally, Emily Ambler went to America to be near the rest of her family who had emigrated in 1937
Hoyle Court was bought by the Freemasons in 1953 for £7,500.
Visitors to Hoyle Court may have noticed a painting above the fire place in the bar area. The original was left by Emily before she left for America. This picture was sold by the Masons, the sale funded a two storey extension in 1957 which is now our dining room. A copy of the painting now remains in place.
Most of the farm land was compulsory purchased by Shipley Urban District Council in 1960 which has been developed for housing.
In December 2006 Arden Management took over the day to day running of Hoyle Court and launched the venue to host weddings and events. 15 years on and Hoyle Court continues to thrive.
The future for this fantastic building is very bright.
If anyone has anymore history or stories about Hoyle Courts past we would love to hear from you!