Hill Hall (Essex)
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The house was originally built for Sir Thomas Smith during the reign of Elizabeth I to replace a 12th-century house on the same site. Construction was carried out over several intervals (1567-8, 1572-3) interspersed between Smith's stints as ambassador to France. The hall stands in 50 hectares (120 acres) of parkland designed by Humphrey Repton.
The Smith family remained in occupation until the mid 19th century. Hill Hall subsequently became a prisoner of war camp during World War 2 and later a women's prison until a fire in 1969. It has since become part of the Heritage Trust. Limited tours are available to see the internal period wall paintings described by Croft-Murray of the British Museum as the most important survival of Elizabethan decorative figure painting in England.
According to local legend, Hill Hall was once the site of a duel between seven brothers, for the hand of a beautiful girl. Every brother was killed. It is also allegedly the haunt of a phantom black dog.
- "Hill Hall". English Heritage. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- "Name: HILL HALL AND ATTACHED SERVICE WINGS TO NORTH AND WEST List entry Number: 1123963". English Heritage. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
- Girouard, Mark (2009). Elizabethan Architecture: its rise and fall, 1540-1640, p. 176. Yale University Press, New Haven and London. ISBN 978-0-300-09386-5.
- Ash, Russell (1973). Folklore, Myths and Legends of Britain. Reader's Digest Association Limited. p. 246. ISBN 9780340165973.
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