The hall dates back to around 1420, when it was recorded as being inhabited by one William Otes. Prior to 1619, the estate was owned by the Savile and Waterhouse families. The three families' armorial symbols are recorded in a stone-mullioned 20-light window at the hall. The building has been extensively modified from its original design by generations of residents, although its Tudor half-timbered frontage remains its most recognisable feature.
For three hundred years (c. 1615-1926) the Shibden estate was in the hands of the Lister family, wealthy mill-owners and cloth merchants, the most famous resident being Anne Lister (1791–1840), who became sole owner of the hall after the death of her aunt. She commissioned York architect John Harper and landscape gardener Samuel Gray in 1830 to make extensive improvements to the house and grounds. A gothic tower was added to the building for use as a library and the major features of the park created, including terraced gardens, rock gardens, cascades and a boating lake. A "Paisley Shawl" garden designed for the terrace by Joshua Major was added in 1850s. On Anne Lister's death in the Caucasus the estate passed to her lesbian lover, Ann Walker, who died insane in an asylum. Possession then returned to the Lister family, who donated it to Halifax Corporation.
The estate became a public park in 1926 and the hall a museum in 1934. The park and gardens were restored between 2007 and 2008 with almost £3.9 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £1.2 million from Calderdale Council.
The hall is currently open to the public, the 'West Yorkshire Folk Museum' being housed in an adjoining barn and farm buildings. The hall has a variety of restored workshops, including a brewery, a basket-weaving shop, a tannery, a stable and an extensive collection of horse-drawn carriages. The park also contains a dry stone walling exhibition, children's play area and miniature steam railway.
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Hanson, T. W., 1934, A Short History of Shibden Hall County Borough of Halifax/William Patterson Printers. 32 pp.
- The Restoration and Enhancement of Shibden Park at Landscape Institute Yorkshire & Humber Branch