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Rochford Hall

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

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ870903
Latitude 51.58094° Longitude 0.69823°

Rochford Hall has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are major building remains.

This site is a scheduled monument protected by law.
This is a Grade 1 listed building protected by law*.


Rochford Hall and ruins. The remains of a very large house now a golf club house, said to have been built circa 1540-50 of possibly C12/CL3 origin, with later alterations, additions and demolitions. Red brick, ragstone and ragstone rubble, and mixed rubble, the south east face is plastered, in places the external walls are 2 ft 6 ins thick. Red plain tiled roofs. Once one of the largest houses in the County with at least 3, possibly 4, courtyards, the whole of the south part has been destroyed. The surviving buildings of the north western courtyard are reduced in height and used as barns, the remaining 2 full height north eastern 2 storey and attic ranges are L plan with the wings joined by an octagonal turret at the north east corner. East face. 2 chimney stacks end left and right forward of ridge between the 2 northern gables. Parapet verge to right. 4 gables with continuous coping, each gable with a truncated finial and a small paned vertically sliding sash window. 5 first floor small paned vertically sliding sash windows, 3 of which are tripartite, similar range to ground floor. 6-panelled door, moulded surround, semi-circular fanlight with ornate tracery to right of the first window. To the left (south) is a parapeted 2 storey, 2 window range of tripartite small paned vertically sliding sashes, 4 panel 2 light door to right. The taller crenellated octagonal turret to right (north) of mainly red brick with rubble and ragstone shows traces of former plaster. There is a moulded plinth and a band below the crenellations. Ground and first floor original window openings with moulded labels and a similar smaller window to second floor to eastern faces, traces of similar blocked windows to western faces. The north western face, mainly of red brick with rubble and ragstone shows traces of plaster. There are 4 gables each with a single octagonal chimney shaft supported below and rising from the apex. Coping to gables. There are traces of attic windows to each side of each chimney stack. 6 blocked first floor windows now with smaller 3-light casements. The ground floor has been much altered and repaired but blocked openings are visible, now with 5 various windows and 2 doors. Almost central is an external red brick chimney stack to first floor cill level. To the west of the return gable the remains are mainly of 2 storey height with later roofs of red plain tiles or pantiles, hipped to north west angle, gables to southern ranges. At the north western angle are the remains of an octagonal turret similar to that at the north eastern angle also with blocked doorways and windows. Part of the south western and off centre west ranges remain with courtyards between. The western face has remains of 2 blocked windows, one showing traces of 3 lights, there is another blocked window to the eastern wall of this range and the remains of a stair turret in the north western angle of the courtyard, this with an original doorway. A later gable has been erected to the east of this stair turret to east of which is a doorway with a 4 centred head. There are other windows and doorways to the west and east faces of the central range and 2 to the south. Former central projection now with only 2 walls has a moulded doorway to south wall and an opening to north. The north eastern courtyard has a stair turret in the north eastern angle. There are traces of 2 former projections, one with a blocked fireplace. Several original windows, doorways and recesses remain. Other doorways and windows are probably hidden by plaster and rubble infills. The building was inspected October 1974 by Messrs. A.C. Edwards, C.A. Hewett, M.C. Wadhams and Dr. D.J.E.L. Carrick, the comments made at the time noted "although apparently a building of C16/C17 there is re-used older material and in the north west area a building of great age. The West tower could possibly have been built C12/C13, lowered later and then built up again using old material. The bricks are of remarkable uniformity the great majority 9 1/4 x 2 1/2 x 4 inches, dark red and hard, well moulded and with very straight edges. English bond. Dr. Carrick suggested a date of 1590-1620 for the bricks, but, if earlier are presumably the result of brickmakers imported from the Continent. Regarding the attics with chimneys and roofs to match, a date of late C17 is suggested. The view of the group was that there was a building of C12-C13, then ruined and restored early C16 using old materials, then late C16/early C17 the present house was added and many parts of the original stone building rebuilt in brick. Possibly the roof was raised C17." A memo by C.A. Hewett states "The structural carpentry of this building is confirmed as original to the building, the precedent for the techniques employed survives in "The Queens House", Tower of London, and dated circa 1598, no evidence has been seen that can indicate disturbance or renewal of this timber work which comprises the first floor and roof of parts standing to full height," and "The standard of accuracy and excellence of finish justifies a Grade I listing and the technological innovation if proved earlier than St. Pauls deanery (1666) is of national importance." Historically Thos. Butler seventh Earl of Ormonde (d. 1515) once owned the Hall as did Sir Thos. Bullen (d. 1538), father of Ann Boleyn and later Lord Rich (d. 1567) Chancellor of England. During the period 1540-1550 the date given by RCHM for the building it was assigned by Bullen's elder daughter, Mary, Lady Stafford and her son by her first marriage, Lord Hunsdon. The Rochford Historian, Benton mentions 2 fires, "one in the time of James Butler who was beheaded 1461 and the second 1760 when the Hall remained for some time in a ruinous condition, when the windows were modernised and the red brickwork was encased in plaster." (Scheduling Report)

Substantial moated manor house of noble status in the C16. The earlier medieval house, of which some element may survive, may also have been moated and may have been otherwise fortified with tower(s).
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This record last updated 27/08/2017 07:06:59

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