Building record HNV 013 - Hengrave Hall

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Hengrave Hall - courtyard-plan mansion built circa 1524-40. Listed Building.


Grid reference Centred TL 8239 6856 (64m by 69m)
Map sheet TL86NW


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

Hengrave Hall - courtyard-plan mansion built c.1524-40 for Sir Thomas Kytson, a wealthy London merchant. Hall was finished in 1538, however Kytson died in 1540 and was succeeded by his son, Thomas. Accounts for much of the work survive, indicating that the main mason up to 1535 was John Eastawe/Estow and after then William Ponyard. Built of pale yellow brick and limestone (R1, S1, S2, S3, S4). Royal vist in 1578. Inherited by St John Gage before 1633.

Kitchen range and a `high tower' removed in 1775 (S1, S5, S15), the outer court was removed and part of the buildings to the east and north, the house was reduced to 1/3 of its original size (R1) present N wing built on their site 1897-1900, internal alterations also carried out (S6). For luminescence dating of some of the bricks see (S12).
A rectangular moat about the house was filled in after 1769, most probably in 1775. Accounts in the 1520s refer to both cleansing and digging the moat, suggesting that an existing moat was being extensively remodelled. The moat is shown on maps of 1588, 1742 and 1769 (S7).
An outer court on the SE side of the moat, shown fringed with buildings in 1588 (S7) was removed in the C17 the buildings are said to have been a central lodge for keepers and falconers and low surrounding buildings used for offices, including a stable for `the horses of pleasure' (S1).
To the W of the moat were the `great barn' (tiling of the barn mentioned in 1533, shown on maps of 1588, 1742 and 1769) and a dovecote (shown on a map of 1742). Area is now a garden.
Sold in 1889-96 bought by Sr John Wood whi undertook drastic restoration of the hall in 1897 - north-east wing was rebuilt and the Great Gallery created. Purchased in 1952, bought by Abington Farms Ltd, hall and immediate grounds first used as a school and then ecumenical centre (R1).

See HNV 038 for Stable Block.

There was a Bowling Green on the moat N of the house. Bowling Green recorded 1742 (S15). And a garden outside the N side of the moat.

2001: Surviving building accounts and a study of the construction of Hengrave Hall and its Stable Block have established that building of much of the existing complex took place during the period AD 1525-36. Dendrochronological analysis of the timbers in various parts of the buildings concur with this overall date range, but the lack of sapwood on datable timbers meant that it was not possible to resolve issues of the sequence of building of the various parts. A single timber in the Queen Elizabeth Room had a felling date in the spring-summer of AD 1536, suggesting that this area was amongst the last areas to be roofed. There is dendrochronological evidence that some individual timbers in the roof over the Queen Elizabeth Room and in the Stable Block were reused. The Stable Block and Gatehouse Range, stylistically very similar and possibly contemporaneous, provide the earliest dated examples of the use of on-edge joists. The site chronology produced provides additional dendrochronological data for Suffolk, which is currently under-represented compared with much of the rest of England. The site chronology matches well with other sites, especially from the neighbouring counties of Norfolk and Essex (S14).

2003: Vistit by R Carr and S Anderson to examine wall fabric exposed on back wall of hall during the remodelling of a step. Upon inspection of the stone and brick work it is concluded that the doorway was a C19 alteration (M3).

A site visit to examine a test pit on the site of a proposed floor lowering between wings exposed medieval masonry. This has been interpreted as re-used material from an ecclesiastical structure, brought to the site to form a footing in the main Tudor construction period (S13).

See also HNV 003, 010, 011, 012, 014, 037, 038, 039.
Booklet with short history and copy of 1588 map in parish file. See also (R1).

Features visible on Lidar. See associated files.

Sources/Archives (20)

  • --- Unpublished document: Robert Carr. 2003. Hengrave Hall.
  • <R1> Unpublished document: Williamson,T. & Taigel, A.. 1992-1994. A Survey of Historic Parks and Gardens in Suffolk.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file: copies & drawings of (S7).
  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Gage, J.. 1822. The History and Antiquities of Hengrave, in Suffolk. Gage J, The History & Antiquities of Hengrave, 1822. Building accounts p 51-51; plan of house in 177.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N & Radcliffe E. 1974. The Buildings of England: Suffolk. 262-4.
  • <M2> (No record type): AP: (S8).
  • <M3> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Caruth J (SCCAS) 22/4/2003.
  • <S3> (No record type): Airs M, `The designing of 5 E.Anglian country houses 1505-1637', Architectural Hist 21, 1978, 58-67.
  • <S4> (No record type): Howard M, The Early Tudor Country House, 1987.
  • <S5> (No record type): Gage J, History & Antiquities of Suffolk, Thingoe Hundred, 1838, 215.
  • <S6> (No record type): Listed Building notes.
  • <S7> (No record type): Suffolk Record Office, Bury, P746/1, 712/58, 712/60.
  • <S8> Photograph: Essex County Council. Air Photograph. Essex C C, AP, CP/97/13/22, June 1997.
  • <S9> Photograph: Air Photographs. NAU, TL 825 683, JBZ 7-8, 10 July 1996.
  • <S10> Unpublished document: Evaluation Archive. Reilly, D 1999, Hengrave Hall and park evaluation.
  • <S11> Excavation archive: Excavation Archive. Reilly, D 1999, Archaeological excavation Hengrave hall.
  • <S12> Article in serial: Antrobus, A.. 2004. Luminescence Dating of Brick Chimneys. Vernacular Architecture 35: 21-31.
  • <S13> Unpublished document: Robert Carr. 2003. Hengrave Hall.
  • <S14> Unpublished document: Bridge Dr M, English Heritage. 2001. Tree-ring analysis of timbers from Hengrave Hall and Stable Block, Hengrave.
  • <S15> Monograph: Williamson, T.. 2000. Suffolk's Gardens and Parks - Designed Landscapes from the Tudors to the Victorians. p. 49, p.66.

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Record last edited

Sep 22 2020 1:31PM

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