Thursday, December 1, 2016

Hall Place in Kent

Hall Place is perhaps one of the most unusual places we have been in search of the Regency. It is situated in Bexley in Kent.  During the time I grew up theren the house was not open to the public, but it was a well-known local land mark.

Hall place dates back to before Henry VIII's reformation and around that time fell into the hands of one of London's Lord Mayors, Sir John Champney a self-made man who died of the plague in 1556.

This is a view of the Tudor courtyard built for Champney with its stunning pattern of grey and white stone.  A mark of his wealth and importance. Originally it would have had only one large oriel window looking into the courtyard, as all the other windows also would have done.

Over time, the house was added to and altered by succeeding owners and in 1772, the era in which we are interested it passed into the hands of Sir Francis Dashwood, later Baron Le Despenser.  Apparently there really were Dashwoods around in Jane Austen's time.

The red brick extension, with its two wings and front facing outwards now, was added to what would have been the back of  Tudor buildings as seen here. The extension formed a central enclosed courtyard between the new front and the old tudor great hall, and provided a corridor between the wings.

A view along the side shows where the new was added to the old.  I must say I found it rather odd from this angle, but I cannot contain my respect for those who decided to keep the old Tudor part in tact.



A bell tower was added within the new courtyard with a fashionable prospect room at the top for watching the hunt and for entertaining.  What and interesting looking tower it is.  The rectangular windows follow the ascending stairs to form an unusual asymmetric pattern.  The courtyard at this time would have been the hub of the household. Water was fetched from the pump and arrivals and departures would be observed from the upstairs windows. The archways around the courtyard lead to the new architectural development --- corridors.  It enabled privacy, one room no longer leading directly into the next

At the time Sir Francis inherited the property it was rented out to a Richard Calvert Esquire and then to the Reverend Richard Jeffreys in 1798 who set it up as a School for young gentlemen. And so it remained until the 1860's.

What a wonderful place for boys to go to school. At the time there were coach houses, stables, outhouses, office buildings, boat yards, orchard gardens, shrubberies, a pleasure ground and appurtenances thereto.

What a great setting for a story.


Hall Place today is a mix of original Tudor, Commonwealth and Restoration.

Next time will will take a peek around the interior.  Until then.....




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