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Padley Hall: a medieval great house

A Scheduled Monument in Grindleford, Derbyshire

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Latitude: 53.3073 / 53°18'26"N

Longitude: -1.6306 / 1°37'50"W

OS Eastings: 424710.282668

OS Northings: 378987.542426

OS Grid: SK247789

Mapcode National: GBR KZ16.S4

Mapcode Global: WHCCV.X4PF

Entry Name: Padley Hall: a medieval great house

Scheduled Date: 29 January 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017587

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29799

County: Derbyshire

Civil Parish: Grindleford

Traditional County: Derbyshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Derbyshire


The monument includes the standing and buried remains of Padley Hall and an
area of associated cultivation terraces to the immediate north of the hall,
and stands at the foot of steeply sloping ground overlooking the River Derwent
just over 1km north of Grindleford. The former gatehouse to the hall is used
as a Roman Catholic Chapel and is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath is included.
The ruins of the hall, although in many areas little more than foundations,
are preserved in good condition. Some of the surviving walls stand up to 1.3m
high. There is clear evidence of a range of buildings covering an area of
about 0.15ha arranged around the four sides of a small central courtyard. The
buildings include the former gatehouse located on the south western side of
the courtyard. The visible ranges of the hall date chiefly from the 14th
century, although clearance of the area in the 1930s revealed that the last
hall had been built on an earlier structure. The date of this earlier phase is
unknown. After the demise of the hall in around 1650, masonry was robbed from
the buildings to construct a farm and outbuildings close to the site. Some of
the farm buildings, now used for other purposes, still survive to the south of
the hall outside the area of protection. The former gatehouse is two stories
high with a wooden interfloor and is a good example of a medieval building.
The scheduling includes an area immediately west of this building where
further remains of the hall are located. These are partially covered by turf
and hillwash and their full extent remains unknown. Surviving remains
extending to the track which cuts through this area are also included in the
scheduling. There is evidence that the hall had a domestic chapel as an
altar stone was found in the ruins of the north eastern part of the hall in
1933. The area of this discovery is now marked by an inscribed stone kerb.
The last phase of the hall is likely to have been built for the Padley family
after which it passed to the Eyres, another local aristocratic family. During
the early 16th century the hall passed, through marriage, to Thomas
Fitzherbert who died in the Tower of London in 1591, having been imprisoned
for being a recusant. During his occupancy of the hall, financial constraints
on Fitzherbert meant that no further building occurred. The hall is associated
with two Catholic martyrs, Nicholas Garlick and Robert Ludlam, both priests
seized at Padley in 1588 and executed in Derby.
The hall once consisted of a great hall, a kitchen to the west of the range
with a solar above, accessed by a spiral stairway, the foundations of which,
measuring 1.5m in diameter are still visible. The remains of a large
fireplace, about 3m wide and standing 1.5m high, is located in the kitchen
area. There was also a parlour and other rooms, including the domestic chapel
to the east. This range of rooms is less clearly understood at present,
although the foundations of three rooms are clearly defined. The main entrance
to the buildings was in the north west corner of the courtyard, the latter
paved with coarse stone slabs. To the rear of the buildings is an area thought
to be a small yard, similarly paved with stone slabs.
To the west of the ruins is a small triangular piece of enclosed ground
containing six stone pillars of unknown date, each about 0.7m high, and small
areas of mainly turf-covered foundations: some of the masonry in this area
appears to be of similar type to that of the hall ruins.
During the 1950s a small canopy was erected within the hall ruins. It is used
for outdoor functions connected with the present chapel. The canopy comprises
a tiled roof on a timber frame supported by a retaining wall to the east and
two stone piers to the west. A low wall surrounds most of the area covered by
the canopy, containing reused masonry from the hall. Similary, a stone bench
on the east side of the canopied areas contains various ornate carved
fragments from the hall. To the immediate north east of the ruins are two
revetment walls of uncertain date, although their foundations are probably
contemporary with the hall. These walls retain the sloping ground above.
Between the hall and the revetment walls is a small enclosed area which may
have been a private garden or yard area. . To the north east of the revetment
walls is a small paddock containing several platforms cut into the hillslope
which are likely to be the remains of cultivation terraces associated with the
hall. The terraces survive on good condition and one appears deeper than the
rest, indicating that it may have been a small quarry, possibly providing some
of the stone for the hall itself.
Padley Chapel (the former gatehouse), all modern stone walls, gates and
fences, the modern canopy and related features, including seating are excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground bebneath is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Medieval great houses were the residences of high-status non-Royal households.
They had domestic rather than military functions and show little or no sign of
fortification, even of a purely cosmetic nature. Great houses share several of
the characteristics of royal palaces, and in particular shared similar
characteristics of size, sophistication, and decoration of the architecture.
Great houses usually consist of a group of buildings, including a great hall,
service rooms, one or more kitchens, several suites of chambers for the
owners, the household and its guests, and a gatehouse. Other ancillary
buildings are known to have been present but very rarely survive. Earlier
examples typically comprised a collection of separate buildings, but through
the 14th and 15th century there was increasing integration of the buildings
into a few larger buildings. By the later medieval period, such complexes were
commonly laid out around one or more formal courtyards; in the 16th century
this would occasionally be contrived so that the elevations were symmetrical.
Many great houses are still notable for the high quality of their architecture
and for the opulence of their furnishings. Several examples contain
substantially intact buildings, others consist of ruins or complexes of
Great houses are found throughout England, although there is a concentration
in the south and Midlands. Further north, great houses were more heavily
fortified, reflecting more unsettled political and social conditions, but
their domestic purpose and status were still predominant. Fewer than 250
examples of great houses have been identified. As a rare monument class which
provide an important insight into the lives of medieval aristocratic or gentry
households, all examples will be nationally important.

The remains of Padley Hall are important because the buildings were not
significantly modified after the 14th century and retain evidence of an
earlier structure. They offer considerable potential for understanding the
development of a medieval manorial centre and its architecture. Additionally,
the well preserved terraces will retain information on the gardens surrounding
the medieval house.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981), 154
Smith, B, Padley Chapel near Grindleford, Derbyshire., (1990)
Hadfield, C M, 'Trans. of the Hunter Archaeological Society' in Notes on the Architectural History of Padley Hall, Derbys., , Vol. Vol 4:1, (1933), 262-267

Source: Historic England

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