Buried deep beneath Haworth Old Hall, leading off from the cellars of this 400 four hundred-year old Tudor manor house, are two elaborate tunnels each nearly a mile in length. Once used as an escape route, one of the tunnels connects directly to Haworth Parish Church.
During the 1600s, The Emmott family owned most of the property in Haworth including what is now known as Haworth Old Hall. The Emmotts were recusants (those who remained loyal to the Roman Catholic Church and did not attend Church of England services) who kept up the old faith in the church and protected the priest and people from persecution during penal times.
During times of religious persecution, the Emmott family would use the tunnels beneath the house to offer the nonconformist people of Haworth a safe passage of escape from the forces of the Church of England. The last of the Emmott line to remain at the manor house was General Emmott Rawdon, also known as Green-Emmott-Rawdon. The association of the family and the Old Hall continues to this day among the characters described by the Bronte sisters in their novels.
This fine example of an old hall house, also known as a communal dwelling house, court house or resting place, stands at the bottom of the Church Gate, no doubt on the site of the original manor house. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Haworth Old Hall as it now stands was erected as a collection of rooms that led off the main entrance hall, which itself was a most magnificent room with polished oak rafters.
By the 1870s the Old Hall had been divided into two cottages before being reconverted into one residence at the beginning of the 20th Century when the ancient hall became the dining area, revealing two magnificent stone fire places that had previously been hidden.