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Monument Name Spains Hall
SMR Number 29307
Summary Late C16 and later great house, incorporating fragment of c.1400-1450 house.
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Description The house is named after the Hispania or Ispana family who held the manor post 1066 as tenents of the Count Alain Fergent. In the mid C14 the estate passed to the Kempe family from Finchingfield. In the later C16/C17 the estate was owned successively by Robert Kempe, John Kempe who died in 1612, his son Wiliam who died in 1628 and his nephew Robert who was married in 1632, was knighted by Cromwell in 1641 and died 1665.The last male Kempe at Spains was was John Kempe who died 1726. His daugther married Swinnerton Dyer (Dunmow) and the estate was sold to Samuel Ruggles of Bocking. He died in 1764 followed by his son John Ruggles (d.1776) and Thomas Ruggles (d.1813). His son John took the additional name of Brise, died in 1852 and was succeeded by Sir Samuel Ruggles-Brise who lived until 1899. During the C20 ownership passed from Sir Archibald Weyland Ruggles-Brise, Sir Edward Ruggles-Brise to the present incumbent Sir John Ruggles-Brise. The medieval house was probably a timber-framed hall house set within a moat. Some of this building, namely a C14 crown post wing survives within the rear parts of the present building. The house was first rebuilt sometime in the 1580s based on the date of 1586 on the sundial over the entrance porch and the late Tudor style. The owner was John Kempe. Between 1628-1665 the house was owned by Robert Kempe who was responsible for adding the shaped gables to the front as attested by the rainwater goods dated 1637 and carrying the Kempe coat of arms. Other work pos. to the drawing room and the main stair was also carried out at this time. Based on similarities in architectural style, the cupola on the rear wing (dated 1768) the arch and the canted two storey bay at the N end of the drawing room were part of an improvement carried out during the 1760s. Despite the cupola the main fabric of the rear wing dated to the C17 and was rebuilt in the C18 after a fire. Some time after 1785 the main front was completely refaced in red brick.The new frontot the south wing may have been the work of John Johnson, Essex County Surveyor and friend of the owner Thomas Ruggles. Alterations in the 1830s consisted largely of undoing the work of the C18. In 1807 Humphrey Repton was consulted re landscaping the park and although some work was carried out in the park the scheme for the house was too expensive and not comissioned apart from the addition of a bay window to the SE front of the drawing room. A programme of Gothic improvements were carried out in the later 1830s by architects Beadel,Son and Chancellor and James Davies Morgan. In the late C19 an extra bay containing one room on each floor was added to the west end of the main front The roof was overhauled in 1977 by architect John Finch of Chelmsford. <1> Listed Building Description: TL 63 SE FINCHINGFIELD SPAINS HALL ROAD (east side) 3/79 Spains Hall 2.5.53 GV I Great house. Circa 1570, with C17, C18 and C19 additions, incorporating a fragment of an earlier house, c.1400-50. Red brick, mainly English bond, some Flemish bond, with some plastered timber framing, roofed with handmade red clay tiles. Complex plan approximately of L-shape with wings extending SE and NE, main elevation to SW (see scaled plan in RCHM, 91, to which these notes refer). 2 storeys with attics. SW elevation, English bond with moulded plinth, the storeys divided by moulded brick string courses (originally with recessed plaster bands, missing), continued round the SE end. 7 original gables, 2 large and 5 small, all with curvilinear copings. The windows have hollow-moulded mullions, square heads and labels; 6 of them are original. The porch is carried up to the full height with one of the smaller gables. The outer entrance has moulded jambs and a 4-centred arch under a square head with label. The inner doorway has been brought forward, with an original door with 4-centred head and mouldings. On each side of the porch there is an original window of 2 lights with square heads, blocked. 5 lead rainwater heads with arms and initials of Robert and Elizabeth Kempe, dated 1637, the pipes elaborately ornamented with strapwork, leopards, cherubs, etc. There are 22 octagonal chimney shafts with moulded bases, variously restored. The NW elevation, partly of plastered timber framing, has a moulded plinth, and 2 projecting gables, with 2 carved brackets. The bressumers and bargeboards are moulded and richly carved with guilloche and conventional ornament, and at the apices are carved and moulded pendants, early C17. 3 of the lower windows are original and similar to those of the SW eleva- .. tion, but still plastered. Under one gable is an original oriel window of 8 lights with one wrought iron casement, some early glass and diamond leading. One Venetian window, C18. The SE elevation of the NE wing is in Flemish bond, with on the ground floor 3 C18 sashes of 12 lights with flat arches of gauged brick and 2 tripartite french windows with segmental arches of gauged brick, and on the first floor 4 C18 sashes of 9 lights and one early C19. Crown glass. 2 wooden string courses, plain parapet, circular domed cupola with 6 Tuscan columns and weathervane with pierced design 'TR 1768'. The block NE of the library retains one bay of a king post roof, c.1400-50, with arch-braced side purlins and cambered collars. The king post, its one remaining brace, and the side purlins and their associated braces, are moulded. Medieval king post roofs are rare in Essex; only 2 other domestic examples are known. The roof is unsooted and appears to be part of the crosswing of a former house on this site. The hall has moulded wallplates and moulded and carved beams, 2 of them carved with a shield of arms and crest, painted. The doorways to the porch and S staircase have double-chamfered jambs and 4-centred heads, with original doors, richly moulded with iron handles. The drawing-room has moulded ceiling beams and a fireplace with richly panelled overmantel of c.1640, flanked by Ionic pilasters; the walls have panelling of similar date. The early C17 S staircase has turned balusters, moulded handrails and square newels with turned finials and acorn tops. The library has double- ogee moulded beams with foliated cyma stops, oak panelling, and at the N corner there is a blocked doorway with " 4-centred head. The corridor running NE from it has an original brick floor laid in herringbone pattern. The kitchen has re-used C17 oak panelling, and the scullery has a large bread oven with wrought iron door. On the first floor, over the corridor already mentioned there is an early C17 fireplace with brick depressed arch and chamfered jambs, richly carved arcaded overmantel, and C18 3-movement wrought-iron crane and cast iron grate; the associated panelling is early C17. There are several early C17 moulded doors, some with drop-handles, and 2 late C16 moulded 8-panel doors. The roofs are of butt-purlin construction. RCHM 3. Listing NGR: TL6787634017
Monument Type(s) GREAT HOUSE (Dated 1567AD to 1599AD)
TIMBER FRAMED HOUSE (Dated 1400AD to 1450AD)
Monument Class(es) BOND
BRICK
TIMBER
Period 1567AD to 1599AD Post Medieval
Status Listed Building (EH)
Administration Area FINCHINGFIELD, BRAINTREE, ESSEX
National Grid Reference Square: TL63SE
Ref: 678340
Finds None listed
Events None listed
Sources Photograph : ECC Historic Buildings Photo Print Archive (unknown) 7 frames, 10/1984 Dated : 1970-1993 c.

Photograph : unknown (Andrews, D) Dated : 2003

<1> Desc Text : Spains Hall finchingfield (The Architectural History Practice Ltd) Dated : unknown