Spains Hall

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Engraving of Spains Hall, c.1833 by William Henry Bartlett
Spains Hall

Spains Hall is an Elizabethan country house near Finchingfield in Essex.

The hall is named after Hervey de Ispania, who held the manor at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086. Since then, the land has been continuously owned and occupied by three families—the de Ispania family, the Kempe family, who acquired it when Margery de Ispania married Nicholas Kempe in the early fifteenth century, and the Ruggles family (later the Ruggles-Brise family).

History[edit]

After the Kempe line ended, the house was bought in 1760 by Samuel Ruggles, a clothier from Bocking. His descendants, the Ruggles-Brise family, still live in the house today. Recent occupants include Sir Edward Ruggles-Brise, 1st Baronet (1882–1942), and his son, Sir John Ruggles-Brise, 2nd Baronet (1908–2007).

The house and land[edit]

The current house dates to c. 1570, with earlier remains that include part of a medieval king post roof. The principal façade was remodelled by William Kempe in approximately 1585 and Dutch gables were added by Robert Kempe in 1637.

A park of approximately 7 hectares surrounding the house was landscaped to a plan by Humphry Repton near 1807. The new landscaping remade some of the series of early seventeenth-century fishponds as ornamental water features, which gradually, are being restored today. Nearer the house are a large (2 hectare) and early (sixteenth-century) walled garden, and a mid-nineteenth-century formal garden. The grounds also include the remains of a moat around an earlier house. The house is protected as a grade I listed building. The eighteenth-century dovecote and nineteenth-century coach house and stables were converted in 2005 into an Essex venue for weddings, conferences, and other events. Conversion of Spains Hall followed and in 2010 it was opened to civil ceremonies, wedding receptions, parties, and corporate events.Spains Hall also offers group house tours [1]

TV appearances[edit]

Spains Hall has featured in several TV shows including English village life (1937),The Only Way Is Essex and BBC's Antiques Road Trip in March 2014 where the owner, Sir Timothy Ruggles-Brise, recounted a tale of murder, mystery, and sunken treasure.

Other "Spains Halls"[edit]

Other historic houses named Spains Hall exist at Willingale and Spaynes Hall in Great Yeldham, also in Essex.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

Coordinates: 51°58′03″N 0°27′29″E / 51.96759°N 0.45795°E / 51.96759; 0.45795