Gaynes Hall is a Grade II* listed Georgian mansion set in 20 acres (81,000 m2) of parkland in the heart of the Cambridgeshire countryside. Located in the village of Perry, Huntingdon the building was requisitioned during the Second World War and was also residence of Sir Oliver Cromwell for 21 years.
Gaynes Hall takes its name from the family of Engaine; the original house was probably built as the hall of their manor of Dillington. In 1238 Viel de Engaine was living there when he had licence to have his private chapel at his manor of Dillington. Only small fragments of the moat remain from the original Engayne dwelling.
Sir Oliver Cromwell of Hinchingbrooke was a tenant of the Gaynes Hall estate for 21 years who then sublet it to his brother Richard Cromwell from 1599.
Gaynes Hall was requisitioned during the Second World War from the Duberley family and used by the Special Operations Executive (SOE). The SOE was set up by Winston Churchill in 1940 to conduct warfare using sophisticated techniques which didn’t involve direct military contact.
Gaynes Hall was given the code name of ‘Station 61’. It was the headquarters of the Air Liaison Officers and the ‘hotel’ at which agents were kept and comforted through the last ordeal of waiting for weather conditions to be right before they were air dropped into occupied Europe.
Post 1945 Gaynes Hall was used as the administrative office and governor’s house for Gaynes Hall Borstal. The borstal stood on the site of Littlehey Prison. The boys maintained the grounds and gardens of Gaynes Hall until the borstal closed in 1983. The site was surrounded with what were referred to as "Moats." They were literally teeming with Carp but became rat infested and were eventually filled in sometime in the 1970s.
In 1985, Gaynes Hall was purchased by AIM Cambridge (later AIM Technology) a technology consulting company. The building was renovated and adapted to the needs of the company. During the renovation, some of the original fittings were stolen and not recovered. Within two years, AIM Technology closed and the building became empty.
Gaynes Hall was sold by the Ministry of Defence to a private company in 1990 and the restoration of the house has been ongoing since 1994.
- 1116–1322 Engaine Family
- 1322–1421 Barnack Family
- 1421–1607 Stonham Family
- 1599 – let to Sir Oliver Cromwell
- 1664–1797 Handasyde Family
- 1797–1940 Duberley Family
House and gardens are now privately owned.
- Norris Museum and Library at St Ives
- County Office Record at Huntingdon
- National Archives at Kew
- Transactions of the Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire Archaeological Society, Rev HG Watson (1914)