Belchamp Hall 348

Sudbury, England, Essex, Braintree

Brief Description

Belchamp Hall has 18th-century parkland of approximately 8 hectares which encloses 3.3 hectares of gardens with formal features.

History

John Wentworth commissioned the surveyor Walker to prepare a map of his estate, which was completed in 1605 and showed that the house was surrounded by a garden with an orchard, a rectangular pond, and a dovecote, and was enclosed to west and north by a ditch. The 16th century manor house was replaced in 1720/1721 by John Raymond III and map evidence suggests that the layout of the gardens most probably dates from this period.

Visitor Facilities

Open to the public on specific days only. Please see website. 01 787 881961

Terrain

The site sits on the north side of the Belchamp Brook valley, the ground falling slightly from west to east.

Detailed Description

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

Late 18th century parkland enclosing a garden containing formal elements contemporary with the building of the house in 1720.

DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Belchamp Hall stands in the little Essex village of Belchamp Water, in a secluded rural setting c 6km south of Sudbury close to the Suffolk/Essex border. The c 9ha site sits on the north side of the Belchamp Brook valley, the ground falling slightly from west to east. It is bounded to the north-west and north-east by Hall Road, and to the south-east and south-west by farmland.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The Hall is approached from the east-south-east, through late C18 stone and rubble gate piers (listed grade II) set opposite the village church of St Mary. The piers are flanked by short curving walls capped with wrought-iron railings. The c 80m long straight drive leads to a circular carriage drive below the south-east front and surrounds a lawn set with a central sundial. A second drive enters the grounds from Hall Road, c 100m to the north-east of the Hall, where the boundary is formed by a brick and rubble wall. Gate piers surmounted by iron heraldic emblems (listed grade II together with the boundary wall) flank the drive which passes the stable block before turning south-east and south to join the main carriage drive below the south-east front.

PRINCIPAL BUILDING

Belchamp Hall (listed grade II*) is a small country mansion built of red brick with a gabled peg-tile roof. The Hall has two storeys with attics, the entrance front on the south-east having a nine-bay facade with a central stone porch, surmounted by urns and added in the late C18, projecting over the door. The garden front to the south-west has a two-storey canted bay window, all that remains of a larger extension added during the late C19. Belchamp Hall was built for John Raymond in c 1720 to replace an earlier, possibly timber, C16 manor house.

The late C18 stable and coach house lie c 70m north-north-east of the Hall, beside the entrance off Hall Road. The two buildings, of red brick with blue headers, are linked by a single-storey block. In the centre of the stables peg-tile roof is a painted timber open-arched cupola with pyramid roof. These buildings were converted in the late C20 for office and commercial use.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The entrance facade to Belchamp Hall looks south-east over lawns which flank the main drive. The parish church of St Mary (of C13 origin) lies c 100m to the east of the Hall (outside the site here registered), forming an important visual part of the landscape scheme. Beyond the lawn, c 150m to the south-east of the Hall is a raised terrace, beyond which lies a sunken garden. This garden, planted with water-loving species around a brick-lined rectangular pool, is shown in this position on Walker's map of 1605. The land rises from the pool to the south-east boundary and is planted as a shelter belt, this small area having been taken into the garden following a road diversion sometime before 1777 (Chapman and Andre). The south-west boundary of the gardens is marked by a raised terrace walk running from north-west to south-east for c 200m. The walk runs north-west/south-east c 40m to the south-west of the Hall, the area in between having been enclosed by yew hedges in the late C20 and laid to rose and herbaceous gardens. The terrace walk is terminated at each end by a building: to the south-east is a small octagonal rubble and stone garden room (listed grade II) with domed ceiling, while at the north-west end the remains of a pavilion built of brick and knapped flint stand on a mound below which lie the remains of an icehouse. A ditch is marked on the 1605 Walker survey in a similar position to the raised walk, the terrace itself, from the cartographic evidence, probably being created as part of the garden work undertaken when the present house was built in 1720. To the north-west and north of the Hall the gardens are laid to lawn whilst to the north-east a further small, late C20 herbaceous garden has been created.

PARK

The small park at Belchamp Hall surrounds the gardens from the south-east to north-north-west and is mainly composed of woodland with an area of open parkland to the south-west of the raised terrace walk. Beyond the boundary of the park, c 440m south-west of the Hall, is a flint and rubble sham castle (listed grade II), built in the late C19 as an eyecatcher from the terrace walk, to be seen through a controlled gap in the park's perimeter plantation. Late C20 growth in the woodland has closed this gap.

KITCHEN GARDEN

The walled kitchen garden lies on the north-west side of the stable block, which forms one of its enclosing walls. The garden contains a rectangular brick-lined pool running from north-east to south-west across the centre, dividing vegetable growing areas to the north from an orchard and tennis courts to the south. The date of construction of the walled garden and pool are not clear from cartographic evidence; although both are certainly shown on the 1839 Tithe map, they may be contemporary with the building of the house in 1720.

REFERENCES

P Morant, The History and Antiquities of the County of Essex (1763-8)

Country Life, 126 (17 December 1959), pp 1206-9; (24 December 1959), pp 1258-61

N Pevsner and E Radcliffe, The Buildings of England: Essex (1979), p 83

The Essex Journal 24, (1980)

Essex Gardens Trust Newsletter, No 8 (Spring 2000), p 1

Maps

J Walker, The mannor and demeine lands of Walter Bellcham Hall, 1605 (D/DU 1392), (Essex Record Office)

J Chapman and P Andre, A map of the county of Essex from an actual survey ... 1777, (Essex Record Office)

Tithe map for Belchamp Water parish, 1839 (D/CT 26), (Essex Record Office)

G Coote, Map of the parish of Belchamp Water, showing the estate of the Rev J M St Clere Raymond, 1867 (D/DU 1397/3), (Essex Record Office)

OS Surveyor's drawings, 1799 (Essex Record Office facsimile)

OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1897

Description written: November 2000

Register Inspector: EMP

Edited: September 2001

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Folly
  • Description: Sham castle folly
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Hedge
  • Description: Intimate gardens enclosed by yew hedges close to the house.
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

Open to the public on specific days only. Please see website. 01 787 881961
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Belchamp Walter
History

Detailed History

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The lordship of the manor of Belchamp Water was, at the time of the Domesday survey, in the possession of Alberic de Vere, in whose family it remained until the 17th century. Under the de Veres it was held by a number of families until in 1539 it came to Sir Roger Wentworth. Sir Roger's grandson, John Wentworth, commissioned the surveyor Walker to prepare a map of his estate, which was completed in 1605 and showed that the house was surrounded by a garden with an orchard, a rectangular pond, and a dovecote, and was enclosed to west and north by a ditch. John Wentworth sold the manor (still officially held by the de Veres) to John Raymond in about 1611. The 16th century manor house was replaced in 1720/1721 by John Raymond III and map evidence suggests that the layout of the gardens most probably dates from this period (Walker, 1605; Chapman and Andre, 1777). In about 1741 outlying parts of the estate, together with the lordship of the manor, were sold to Thomas Ruggles but the manor house was not included in the sale. The Reverend Samuel Raymond, who succeeded in 1767 and married Margarette Brooke Bridges in 1780, laid out the little park to the south-west of the gardens with small clumps of trees (OSD 1799). When Reverend Raymond died in 1825, Samuel Millbank Raymond inherited and lived at Belchamp, where he was known as Squire Raymond, until his death in 1863. He was succeeded by his second son, Reverend John Mayne St Clere Raymond, who in about 1865 recovered the lordship of the manor and in 1871 extended the house with the addition of a new wing. At around this time a sham castle folly was built beyond the park to the south-west, to act as an eyecatcher from the gardens (Country Life 1959). The large, late 19th century extension to the house was reduced in the 1950s by the Reverend M St Clere Raymond's grandson, Samuel Philip St Clare Raymond who, together with his wife Mabel Astell, created intimate gardens enclosed by yew hedges close to the house. The site remains (2000) in single private ownership.

Period

  • 18th Century
Contact
References

References