The comprehensive gazetteer and bibliography of the medieval castles, fortifications and palaces of England, Wales, the Islands.
The listings
Other Info
Print Page 
Next Record 
Previous Record 
Back to list 

Henham Hall, Essex

In the civil parish of Henham.
In the historic county of Essex.
Modern Authority of Essex.
1974 county of Essex.
Medieval County of Essex.

OS Map Grid Reference: TL54272874
Latitude 51.93584° Longitude 0.24271°

Henham Hall, Essex has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are cropmark/slight earthwork remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.


Moat by The Hall, Henham (RCHME 1916).
Complete moat, waterfilled and in good condition. When a new house was erected on the island in 1961, foundations of an earlier brick house were found (F1 FGA 20-APR-66).
A rectangular homestead moat with original entrance causeway across the east arm, and a modern bridge over the western arm. The moat measures overall 64.0m E-W by 80.0m N-S, with arms averaging 10.0 width. There is an extension from the SW angle towards the south, 130.0m by 9.0 wide (F2 PAS 23-APR-75). (PastScape)

The moat at Henham Hall is well-preserved and will retain archaeological information relating to the occupation of the site and adding to the information from surviving historical documentation. The waterfilled ditches will also contain evidence relating to the economy of its inhabitants and to the landscape in which the monument was built.
The moated site at Henham Hall is situated on a west-facing slope overlooking the River Cam 183m north-west of Henham Church. The monument includes a rectangular moated site, which measures 64m east-west by 81m north-south, and associated extensions to the moat. The arms are waterfilled and are between 6m and 10m wide. An extension from the south-west corner runs southwards for 130m whilst another extension from the north-eastern corner is 10m in length. A modern brick and concrete bridge, 4m wide, crosses the western arm of the moat giving access to the island. A causeway, 1.5m wide crosses the eastern arm and is considered to be the original entrance to the site. A modern house is situated on the island and foundations of an earlier brick house were uncovered during the construction of the present house in 1961. Henham Hall is first mentioned in the the account of the birth of Robert Fitzwalter in 1249. It is thought that Robert Radcliffe rebuilt the manor within Henham Park between 1509 and 1530. An account of the house is given in a survey of 1530. The manor house, at that time, was built within a deer park, round a square courtyard and was entered by a turreted three-storied gatehouse of brick. There was a "fair chapel" with a "quire". The house, bridge, driveway and shed are all excluded from the scheduling though the ground beneath these features is included. (Scheduling Report)

"There is a town adjoining to the said maner where be many fair houses well buylded and inhabited with honest persons which standith a myell from the said maner. The park called Henham Park is well enclosed with pale conteguyance about which is a high and dry champion ground and competently wooded very comodyous and parken where in be Redd dear”
The survey then goes on to describe the Manor House, built ‘in the middest of the said park’ round a square court, and entered by a brick and turretted three- storied gatehouse, facing south. On either side of the gatehouse were galleries, with oriel windows and chimneys. At the end of the western gallery was a ‘fair chapel’ with a quire, 50 feet long, and 20 feet wide. At the north end of the courtyard a great flight of wooden stairs led up to a large room ‘the Chamber of Presence 60 feet long, and 18 feet wide, with adjoining rooms looking into the garden, ‘very commodious for flavours of the herbs and view into the same’. From two little rooms near the Presence Chamber were windows opening into the Chapel. ‘to hear and see devyne servyce’.
The kitchens were to the east; a kitchen with two ranges, a wet larder, a dry larder, the pastry, the cellar and the Ewerye; the division of the kitchens is interesting, one for roasting, one for boiling, and the pastrey kitchen for baking. This survey follows the almost universal plan of a rich man’s house just before the Reformation, with wings of building enclosing a courtyard. As in the case of Henham, opposite the great Hall was always the gatehouse; on one side was the chapel, and completing the quadrangle were lodgings for guests and retainers of the household. From accounts kept by the Prior of Dunmow, also in the Public Records Office, he spent several Christmasses at Henham, and there are entries such as ‘rewards in my Lord of Sussex’s house 2/8, ‘reward to my Lord of Sussex’s cook 8d’ and the last Christmas,1535, ‘to my Lord of Sussex’s players 3/4. (Henham History website quoting survey of 1530)

Called a 'homestead moat' in the 1916 RCHME Inventory but appears to have been a considerable noble house in 1530 with a turreted brick gatehouse and a chapel 50ft by 20ft. The surviving moat is quite modest at 64m by 80m (possibly reflecting the earlier gentry status manor house) but the 1530 Noble house may have occupied a larger area of c. 200m by 200m upto the church yard, partly outlined by the moat extension to the south of the original moat.
This house of the Earl of Sussex is not to be confused with the Duke of Suffolk's Henham Hall in Suffolk.
Links to archaeological and architectural databases, mapping and other online resources

Data >
PastScape   County HER   Scheduling        
Maps >
Streetmap   NLS maps   Where's the path   Old-Maps      
Data/Maps > 
Magic   V. O. B.   Geology   LiDAR   Open Domesday  
Air Photos > 
Bing Maps   Google Maps   Getmapping   ZoomEarth      
Photos >
CastleFacts   Geograph   Flickr   Panoramio      

Sources of information, references and further reading
Most of the sites or buildings recorded in this web site are NOT open to the public and permission to visit a site must always be sought from the landowner or tenant.
It is an offence to disturb a Scheduled Monument without consent. It is a destruction of everyone's heritage to remove archaeological evidence from ANY site without proper recording and reporting.
Don't use metal detectors on historic sites without authorisation.
The information on this web page may be derived from information compiled by and/or copyright of Historic England, County Historic Environment Records and other individuals and organisations. It may also contain information licensed under the Open Government Licence. All the sources given should be consulted to identify the original copyright holder and permission obtained from them before use of the information on this site for commercial purposes.
The author and compiler of Gatehouse does not receive any income from the site and funds it himself. The information within this site is provided freely for educational purposes only.
The bibliography owes much to various bibliographies produced by John Kenyon for the Council for British Archaeology, the Castle Studies Group and others.
Suggestions for finding online and/or hard copies of bibliographical sources can be seen at this link.
Minor archaeological investigations, such as watching brief reports, and some other 'grey' literature is most likely to be held by H.E.R.s but is often poorly referenced and is unlikely to be recorded here, or elsewhere, but some suggestions can be found here.
The possible site or monument is represented on maps as a point location. This is a guide only. It should be noted that OS grid references defines an area, not a point location. In practice this means the actual center of the site or monument may often, but not always, be to the North East of the point shown. Locations derived from OS grid references and from latitude longitiude may differ by a small distance.
Further information on mapping and location can be seen at this link.
Please help to make this as useful a resource as possible by contacting Gatehouse if you see errors, can add information or have suggestions for improvements in functality and design.
Help is acknowledged.
This record last updated 27/08/2017 07:06:45

Home | Books | Links | Fortifications and Castles | Other Information | Help | Downloads | Author Information | Contact