Walshaw Lodge was originally a collection of cottages, linked together in 1850 by the then Lord Savile to create a substantial country house with adjoining outbuildings. Its superb location on the edge of the Savile family’s famous grouse estate, and breath-taking views over the Upper Calder Valley made for the perfect shooting lodge and country retreat, which later became the main family home in 1939, after the sale of Rufford Park.
The Savile family rose to prominence in Calderdale in the 16th century. The family held estates at Hebden Bridge, Rishworth, Thornhill and Elland, and were lordships of the manors of Ovenden, Skircoat and Elland.
The Saviles took their roles as hereditary peers seriously. In 1866, Captain Henry Savile of Rufford Abbey, sold Skircoat Moor – then valued at about £40,000 – to the Halifax Corporation for the nominal sum of £100, on condition the corporation took action to alleviate smoke pollution in the town. In recognition of his generosity, the moor was renamed Savile Park. The Savile family also gave large areas of Hardcastle Crags to the National Trust in 1950, and gave Popples Common and nearby moorland close to Heptonstall to Hepton Rural District Council in 1960.