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Haslingfield Hall: a post-medieval moated site and associated formal garden remains, bridge, park wall and gateway

A Scheduled Monument in Haslingfield, Cambridgeshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.1512 / 52°9'4"N

Longitude: 0.0529 / 0°3'10"E

OS Eastings: 540550.743614

OS Northings: 252316.074731

OS Grid: TL405523

Mapcode National: GBR L7Z.261

Mapcode Global: VHHKF.V6V6

Entry Name: Haslingfield Hall: a post-medieval moated site and associated formal garden remains, bridge, park wall and gateway

Scheduled Date: 15 September 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013283

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27107

County: Cambridgeshire

Civil Parish: Haslingfield

Built-Up Area: Haslingfield

Traditional County: Cambridgeshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cambridgeshire

Church of England Parish: Haslingfield All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Ely

Details

The village of Haslingfield is located at the northern foot of a spur of the
low chalk hills some 6km to the south west of Cambridge, just to the west of
the River Cam (or Rhee). The monument, which lies approximately 200m to the
north east of the parish church, is in two areas and includes a rectangular
enclosure surrounded on three sides by a moat and completed by a 17th century
brick wall. Within this enclosure are the walls of a 17th century formal
garden and the foundations of a 16th and 17th century mansion, formerly
known as Haslingfield Hall. The eastern part of Haslingfield Hall (a Grade II*
Listed Building, excluded from the scheduling) survived demolition in the
early 19th century and remains in use as a private dwelling known as The
Manor.
The hall was built for Henry VIII's physician, Thomas Wendy, soon after he
acquired the property in 1541. The moat is thought to have been created at
this time and, like many such developments earlier in the medieval period,
served to enhance the setting and status of the house, which stood within the
centre of the enclosure. The moated enclosure measures approximately 120m by
75m and is orientated north east to south west. The south eastern and north
western arms of the moat are about 2m deep and 10m wide, some 2m-3m broader
than the south western side. The moat is supplied by a spring in the north
western arm, and the water level is regulated by a small dam across the outlet
channel located at the northern end of the south eastern arm. Although this
dam has partially collapsed and the water level has fallen, the moat remains
waterlogged and retains standing water in each arm.
The Tudor mansion was remodelled by Sir Thomas Wendy in the mid 17th century.
The predominantly timber structure was clad in red brick and a top storey
added. This building was depicted in c.1814 on a number of drawings by Relhan,
including a general view of the house and grounds. At this time the hall
comprised a range c.30m in length, orientated with the long axis of the moat,
with symmetrical turrets or oriels flanking the main entrance on the southern
side. The enclosure award map of 1810 shows the building to have been L-shaped
with a large projecting wing at the north western end, and a second smaller
extension in the centre of the northern side. A second wing (or solar) at the
north eastern end is suggested by Relhan's drawings, and may partially survive
within the present standing building. The remodelling of the house was
accompanied by alterations and developments within its grounds. The northern
enclosure wall, Listed Grade II, (which is included as part of the scheduling)
was constructed at this time. It continues around the south eastern arm of the
moat and about half way along the south western arm, leaving a gap, 4m-5m wide
to serve as a terrace adjacent to the inner bank. Several sections of the
wall, constructed of red brick in a mixture of English and Flemish bond, have
been restored in recent years. However, the majority of the structure is
original, and survives to its full height of about 3m, topped by a gabled
brick coping and a dentel cornice of protruding brick ends. A new red brick
bridge was constructed across the centre of the south western arm of the moat,
probably replacing an earlier timber structure. The bridge (Listed Grade II)
has three round arches (the largest in the centre) recessed in square outer
frames. The parapets are capped with limestone and are swept inwards towards
the the centre of the hall, the brick work continuing for approximately 25m to
either side of the inner piers forming a three tiered wall along the inner
face of the moat. This wall is thought to have been more extensive and the
lower courses may survive elsewhere along the bank, buried beneath later
subsidence.
Relhan's illustration of 1814 shows the interior of the island arranged in the
formal layout of a late 16th or early 17th century garden, with a grid pattern
of walkways and borders dividing rectangular plots, some containing orchards.
The principal archaeological evidence for this layout (the pathways and
parterres) is considered likely to survive as buried features beneath the
present lawns. In the mid 17th century, the south eastern quarter of the
island was enclosed by an extension to the perimeter wall linked to the north
eastern corner of the hall. Together with the perimeter wall around the south
eastern corner of the moat, this provided a separate rectangular pleasure
garden, shown on Relhan's illustration with a central avenue flanked by trees
extending eastwards from the hall. This avenue can still be seen as a slightly
raised walkway leading to a gateway in the perimeter wall flanked by brick
piers with moulded caps and bases. Further access to the garden is provided by
two doorways, each with a round headed arch, situated at the western end of
the north and south walls.
The western limit of the garden is marked by the house itself and by a short
section of wall leading southwards from the corner of the building. This wall
is similar in most respects to the others, but contains large blocks of
limestone in the lower courses which are thought to be medieval in origin, and
may indicate the presence of an earlier structure in the immediate vicinity.
The wall is part of the scheduling. The Relhan illustration demonstrates that
this section of wall was paired in symmetry with a second wall which extended
between the western end of the mansion and the moat, thereby providing an
imposing entrance courtyard.
The moated site formerly lay within an enclosed park comprising about 8ha
which was established in the 16th century on the northern side of the village.
The area to the north and east of the hall has been overlain with housing in
recent years, and only a small area to the south west and west remains as
pasture. The brick-built southern park wall survives (with numerous later
alterations) for most of its former length along the northern side of Broad
Lane and the High Street. The carriageway, which leads directly to the bridge
some 80m to the north east, enters the park though a gateway with 17th century
brick piers in the southern park wall. The gateway represents part of the
aggrandisement of the property under the ownership of Sir Thomas Wendy, and is
included in the scheduling together with a 5m section of the park wall to
either side. The carriageway remains visible as a slightly raised causeway,
c.3m in width. The present surface of turf is thought to overlie a succession
of gravel surfaces, and a sample of this feature, 5m in length, is therefore
included in the scheduling in order to provide protection for the
archaeological relationship between these layers and the development of the
gateway.
Sir Thomas Wendy died in 1673 and the hall passed to his widow, Lettice, who
held the property for the next 23 years. After her death the house fell into
disuse, and in 1726 it was described as ruinous. The greater part of the
house was demolished between 1814 and 1819 by George Sackville-West, 5th Earl
De La Warr. The location of the demolished section is indicated by a wide,
shallow depression in the lawn to the west of the present structure, beneath
which both foundations and robbing trenches indicating the former ground plan
are thought to survive. Some of the more impressive internal fittings from the
hall, including the main staircase and a wooden fire surround inscribed with
the date 1555, were removed and incorporated in the renovation of Bourn Hall,
the Earl's principal residence, some 9km to the north west.
The eastern end of the mansion (to the east of the turret or oriel flanking
the main entrance) was retained and put into a habitable state by constructing
an external wall with doorway and windows across the breach.
Excluded from the scheduling is this remaining part of the original structure
of Haslingfield Hall, together with the later alterations and extensions to
the north, the adjacent 19th century stable building, the surfaces of all
paths, and all fences and fence posts, although the ground beneath these items
is included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Around 6,000 moated sites are known in England. They consist of wide ditches,
often or seasonally water-filled, partly or completely enclosing one or more
islands of dry ground on which stood domestic or religious buildings. In some
cases the islands were used for horticulture. The majority of moated sites
served as prestigious aristocratic and seigneurial residences with the
provision of a moat intended as a status symbol rather than a practical
military defence. The peak period during which moated sites were built was
between about 1250 and 1350 and by far the greatest concentration lies in
central and eastern parts of England. However, moated sites were built
throughout the medieval period, are widely scattered throughout England and
exhibit a high level of diversity in their forms and sizes. They form a
significant class of medieval monument and are important for the understanding
of the distribution of wealth and status in the countryside. Many examples
provide conditions favourable to the survival of organic remains.

Haslingfield Hall moated site is an unusual example from the final period in
the development of this class of monument, when the moat was used entirely to
establish status and enhance the prestige of the house. The moat itself is
very well preserved, retaining structural details, including those of the
water management system and sections of the retaining walls. The moat also
retains deep deposits of waterlogged silts which will contain artefactual
evidence (including organic materials) from the earlier periods of occupation.
The remains of the demolished north western section of the house will survive
as a series of buried foundations and robber trenches beneath the present
surface of the island, together with evidence for the former design of the
gardens. The survival of the eastern end of the mansion enables its former
extent to be visualised, by the existence of contemporary illustrations.
The bridge, the park wall and entrance, and the perimeter and pleasure garden
walls on the island are each of interest as good examples of 17th century
architecture, but together provide graphic evidence for the status of the site
in the various stages of its development. Documentary evidence survives which
records the names of the original and subsequent owners.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Taylor, C C, The Cambridgeshire Landscape, (1973), 153
Other
C.A.S collection, Hatten Library, Relhan, R, Haslingfield Hall, (1814)
C.A.S collection, Hatten Library, Relhan, R, Haslingfield Hall, (1814)
C.A.S collection, Hatten Library, Relhan, R, Haslingfield Hall, (1814)
Conversation with owner, Davis, N, Haslingfield Hall, (1994)
Conversation with owner, Davis, N, The Bridge at Haslingfield Hall, (1994)
Enclosure Award Map, Watford, A, CRO: R60/24/2/35, (1810)
Haslingfield 15/170 (park wall), HBMC, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
Haslingfield 15/170, HBMC, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
Haslingfield 15/171 (house), HBMC, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
Haslingfield 15/172 (perimeter wall), HBMC, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
Haslingfield 15/173 (walled garden), HBMC, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
Haslingfield 15/174, DoE, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
Haslingfield 15/175 (bridge), HBMC, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
Haslingfield 15/175, HBMC, List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, District of South Cambridgeshire, (1984)
RCHM(E), An Inventory of Historic Monuments in the County of Cambridge, West Cambridgeshire, (1968)
RCHM(E), An Inventory of Historic Monuments in the County of Cambridge, West Cambridgeshire, (1968)
RCHM(E), An Inventory of Historic Monuments in the County of Cambridge, West Cambridgeshire, (1968)
RCHM(E), An Inventory of Historic Monuments in the County of Cambridge, West Cambridgeshire, (1968)
RCHM(E), An Inventory of Historic Monuments in the County of Cambridge, West Cambridgeshire, (1968)
Sale plan and inventory, Scruby & Gray, CRO: R 61/8/4, (1918)
Sale plan and inventory, Scruby and Gray, CRO: R61/8/9, (1918)

Source: Historic England

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