Copped Hall

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Coordinates: 51°41′37″N 0°04′04″E / 51.69361°N 0.06778°E / 51.69361; 0.06778 Copped Hall or Copthall is a mid 18th century country house close to Epping in Essex, England, undergoing restoration. Copped Hall is visible from the M25 motorway between junctions 26 and 27.

History[edit]

King Richard I bestowed the lands on Richard Fitz Aucher to hold them in fee, and hereditarily of the Abbey.[1] During the reign of Edward I Copthall continued in the possession of the Fitz Aucher family[2] till it came into the hands of the Abbot until the dissolution.

Letter sent from Lionel Cranfield, 3rd Earl of Middlesex, to his estranged wife, dated Copthall, 23 March, c.1670.

Sir Thomas Heneage received the estate of Copthall on 13 August 1564 from Queen Elizabeth I, where he subsequently built an elaborate mansion from the designs of John Thorpe.[3] The Queen was a frequent visitor to Essex and she is recorded as having visited Heneage at Copthall in 1575.[4] His daughter, afterwards Countess of Winchelsea, sold it to the Earl of Middlesex in the reign of James I. From him it passed to Charles Sackville, Earl of Dorset, who sold it in 1701 to Sir Thomas Webster.

Edward Conyers purchased the estate in 1739, but he only enjoyed the house for three years before dying in 1742. Conyers' son John (1717-1775) inherited the property and considered repairing the original Hall as it had become dilapidated. However, in the end he decided to build a new house on a different site. This was built between 1751-58 after demolishing the old one c.1748. The next member of the family to inherit Copped Hall was his son John Conyers II who extensively altered the house. His son, Henry John Conyers (1782–1853) who was said to be so obsessed with hunting that he neglected the house badly. Survived by three daughters, the house was finally sold by the family in 1869.

The Georgian house is an imposing structure set in beautiful landscaped parkland, described at one time as 'the Premier house of Essex'. The gardens of the main house have a ha-ha ditch which allows animals to approach yet prevents them from entering. It was a good example of the '18th-century house in landscape'. The mansion was placed overlooking two valleys with a third valley to the north and the building was well proportioned, with the chimneys built in a tight geometric arrangement.

The main house was gutted in an accidental fire one Sunday morning in 1917 which was caused by an electrical fault.

The Wythes family, who were the then occupiers, moved into Wood House on the Copped Hall estate which was vacant at the time. Ernest Wythes died in 1949 and his wife died in 1951. Around 1950 the estate was sold, after which followed a period of total neglect. The main 18th-century house was first stripped of its more desirable building materials then left to deteriorate. The orangery was blown up as an army training exercise in the 1960s. All of the statues in the gardens were sold and removed to other large estate houses. A gazebo from the garden was set up in the grounds of St Paul's Waldenbury. Some of the statues in the gardens were removed to Anglesey Abbey in Cambridgeshire.

The house, ancillary buildings and gardens are now owned by the Copped Hall Trust, who acquired the freehold in 1995. The surrounding parkland is now owned by the Conservators of Epping Forest-The City of London. The Copped Hall Trust is slowly restoring the buildings and the gardens.

The English publication Country Life ran two separate articles on Copped Hall in 1910 with many photographs published before the devastating fire.

On 27 April 2004 Charles, Prince of Wales, accompanied by the Lord Lieutenant of Essex - Lord Petre, visited Copped Hall and inspected the restoration work of the Copped Hall Trust. The Prince opened an exhibition of 18th century botanical water-colours in the new temporary gallery. These water-colours were painted by Matilda Conyers, the daughter of John Conyers, who built Copped Hall.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Journey from Chester to London by Thomas Pennant - 1811
  2. ^ The History of Essex, From the Earliest Period to the Present Time by Elizabeth Ogborne - 1817
  3. ^ Dictionary of National Biography
  4. ^ An Elizabethan Progress: The Queen's Journey to East Anglia, 1578 by Zillah M. Dovey

Further reading[edit]

Books
  • Brimble, James A. St. Thomas's Quarters. In: London's Epping Forest. London. Country Life, 1950. Chapter 10.
  • Cassidy, R. Copped Hall: a Short History. Waltham Abbey Historical Society, 2001.
  • Farmer, M.J. The history of the ancient Town and once famous Abbey of Waltham. London. 1735.
  • Newman, J. Copthall, Essex. In: H. Colvin and J. Harris (eds) The Country Seat. Studies in the history of the British country house presented to Sir John Summerson. London. Penguin, Press, 1970. 18-29.
Reports (by year)
  • West Essex Archaeological Group. An archaeological evaluation carried out at Copped Hall by West Essex Archaeological Group in 2002. West Essex Archaeological Group, 2003.
  • Holloway, C. Archaeological excavation at Copped Hall, Essex, in 2003. Copped Hall Trust Archaeological Project, 2005.
  • Holloway, C. Archaeological excavation at Copped Hall, Essex, 2004-5. Copped Hall Trust Archaeological Project, 2007.
  • West Essex Archaeological Group. Archaeology at Copped Hall 2002-2009. West Essex Archaeological Group. Accessed 5 April 2012
  • Madeley, Andrew & Holloway, Christina (West Essex Archaeological Group). The 2010 season at Copped Hall. West Essex Archaeological Group. Accessed 5 April 2012
Articles
  • Andrews, D. (1986). "Old Copped Hall: The Site of the Tudor Mansion". Essex Archaeology and History (17): 96–106. 
  • Andrews, D. (1998). "Epping, Copped Hall. Observations and discoveries 1996-97". Essex Archaeology and History (29): 226–228. 
  • "The Grand Estate of Epping". West Essex Life: 12–13. December 2006. 
  • "Copped Hall. Excavating an Elizabethan building boom". Current Archaeology. 19, No.2 (218): 36–43. May 2008. 

External links[edit]