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Hadham Hall

In the civil parish of Little Hadham.
In the historic county of Hertfordshire.
Modern Authority of Hertfordshire.
1974 county of Hertfordshire.
Medieval County of Hertfordshire.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL45242276
Latitude 51.88439° Longitude 0.10901°

Hadham Hall has been described as a Palace although is doubtful that it was such, and also as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Country House, now a school. c.1572. Large brick courtyard house of Henry Capel, replacing a C15 house to SE. Extensions to E with terraced gardens, by Arthur Capel, c.1634. Reduced to S and W wings c.1668 when Earl of Essex moved to Cassiobury. Altered c.1720. E part of S wing demolished 1848. Renovated and extended to N 1901-2 by William Minet (owner acting as architect). Converted to a school 1949-52. English bond narrow red brick. Moulded brick plastered mullions and window surrounds. Steep old red tile roofs. 1902 additions in red brick with stone dressings and crowsteps. Present U-shaped plan represents C16 W range substantially intact: W half of C16 S range, with outer arch of a central S gateway: and N range rebuilt in 1902, with tall single storey billiard room (1902) on N. Cellars of S range continue to E under garden. W range had sets of lodgings, on 2 floors and attics, entered from courtyard by small doorways now blocked. Central W gateway, flanked by semi-octagonal turrets in W, now main entrance. A wide corridor with heavy timbered partition and moulded arched doorways, ran within the back of this range and survives on the 1st floor. S range has a lofty 1st floor, and a low Ground floor raised up on a tunnel-vaulted cellar with 4 centred vault. N range has service rooms with domestic accommodation above. Symmetrical W front of 2 storeys with plinth, and parapet ramping up to 3 storeys crenelated turrets. Straight gabled parapet to 3 storeys centre, with round arched stone entrance, moulded imposts and correct Doric entablature, with paterae between triglyphs, breaking forward for columns since removed. 4-light ovolo- moulded, mullioned and transomed windows, with pediments on W front and 2 windows on each floor, each side of gate. Smaller pedimented windows to turrets and attics. Panelled square brick finials to corners. Parapeted gables with chimneys each with 2 octagonal shafts, 1 decorated. Roof structure and rebuilt parapet suggest former gabled dormers, perhaps crow stepped, along W front. Crow stepped W gable of S wing original. Straight joints suggest N half of W range built first, and S half and turrets later. Roof structure of clasped purlin collar trusses with curved wind braces unusually rising from top of purlin to principal. Cranked timbers carry a platform for a cupola, now gone. Ground floor room S of gateway has early C18 stair in D-shaped rear projection, and fine Arts and Crafts chimneypiece c.1902, of polished hardwood, inset with large Persian tiles, a decorated enamelled band, carved achievement, and a deep ceramic frieze of cats at ceiling (rebus of Minet). Fine C16 chimneypiece and painted oak panelling in SW room. 2 panelled rooms over now 1, with small C17 oak panelling and fluted frieze with triglyphs. Corner lobby in SE, of wainscott with cockspur hinges. Tall fluted pilasters flank S fireplace with 'Japanese' cast iron grate to Thomas Jeckyll design. Grand 1st floor of S range unequally divided c.1720, with fine bolection moulded, panelled interiors with moulded cornices, 6- panelled doors and tall sash windows along S front. Square pier rises from cellar floor to support central fireplaces on 1st floor. Small roundheaded windows to Ground floor with C17 external stack at SE corner of range. Centrepiece of an important group of historic buildings. (Listed Building Report)

Hadham Hall is the remaining part of a brick manor house built by the Capels in c 1575. It was originally a court-yard house but all that now remains of 16th century date is the W range, with the main entrance and part of the S range; additions were made in the 17th and 19th cents. There were two houses before the present one; the first stood on a moated site (TL 45132273) a few hundred yards W of the existing house and the other (which was probably built c 1440 by the Bauds) appears to have been partly incorporated into the present house at its SE corner. The homestead moat is all that is left of the first house but foundations of the second one still remain.
A portion of the Gatehouse (which stands 100 yards W of the present house) is of the 15th cent; the remainder, including the archway, is of the 16th cent. (PastScape)

Site of residential manor of bishops of Ely listed by Thompson, but Payne states this 'was in secular rather than episcopal ownership' referencing (Smith 1993: 120-1)' Earlier ownership by a bishop of London was also secular rather than episcopal. The medieval house and its C16 replacement were probably both houses decorated with martial symbolism.
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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