Thorndon Hall

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Thorndon Hall, Thorndon Park, Essex. Thorndon Hall, Thorndon Park.JPG
Thorndon Hall, Thorndon Park, Essex.

Thorndon Hall is a Georgian Palladian country house within Thorndon Park, Ingrave, Essex, England, approximately two miles south of Brentwood and 25 miles (40 km) from central London.

Georgian architecture set of architectural styles current between 1720 and 1840

Georgian architecture is the name given in most English-speaking countries to the set of architectural styles current between 1714 and 1830. It is eponymous for the first four British monarchs of the House of Hanover—George I, George II, George III, and George IV—who reigned in continuous succession from August 1714 to June 1830. The style was revived in the late 19th century in the United States as Colonial Revival architecture and in the early 20th century in Great Britain as Neo-Georgian architecture; in both it is also called Georgian Revival architecture. In the United States the term "Georgian" is generally used to describe all buildings from the period, regardless of style; in Britain it is generally restricted to buildings that are "architectural in intention", and have stylistic characteristics that are typical of the period, though that covers a wide range.

Palladian architecture Style of architecture derived from the work of Venetian Andrea Palladio

Palladian architecture is a European style of architecture derived from and inspired by the designs of the Venetian architect Andrea Palladio (1508–1580). That which is recognised as Palladian architecture today is an evolution of Palladio's original concepts. Palladio's work was strongly based on the symmetry, perspective and values of the formal classical temple architecture of the Ancient Greeks and Romans. From the 17th century Palladio's interpretation of this classical architecture was adapted as the style known as Palladianism. It continued to develop until the end of the 18th century.

English country house larger mansion estate in England, UK

An English country house is a large house or mansion in the English countryside. Such houses were often owned by individuals who also owned a town house. This allowed them to spend time in the country and in the city—hence, for these people, the term distinguished between town and country. However, the term also encompasses houses that were, and often still are, the full-time residence for the landed gentry that ruled rural Britain until the Reform Act 1832. Frequently, the formal business of the counties was transacted in these country houses.


Formerly the country seat of the Petre family who now reside at nearby Ingatestone Hall, the house is located within nearly 600 acres (240 ha) of ancient medieval deer park, meadows and forest. The garden is designed by Capability Brown.

Baron Petre

Baron Petre, of Writtle, in the County of Essex, is a title in the Peerage of England. It was created in 1603 for Sir John Petre. His family has since been associated with the county of Essex. He represented Essex in parliament and served as Lord Lieutenant of Essex. Lord Petre was the son of Sir William Petre, Secretary of State to Henry VIII, Mary I, Edward VI and Elizabeth I. Sir William acquired Ingatestone Hall and the surrounding manor from Henry for the full market value after it had been surrendered to the King by Barking Abbey during the Suppression of the Monasteries.

Ingatestone Hall Grade I listed English country house in the United Kingdom

Ingatestone Hall is a Grade I listed 16th-century manor house in Essex, England. It is located outside the village of Ingatestone, approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) south west of Chelmsford and 25 miles (40 km) north east of London. The house was built by Sir William Petre, and his descendants live in the house to this day. Part of the house is leased out as offices while the current Lord Petre's son and heir apparent lives in a private wing with his family.

Capability Brown landscape architect from England

Lancelot Brown, more commonly known with the byname Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. He is remembered as "the last of the great English 18th century artists to be accorded his due" and "England's greatest gardener". He designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure. He was nicknamed "Capability" because he would tell his clients that their property had "capability" for improvement. His influence was so great that the contributions to the English garden made by his predecessors Charles Bridgeman and William Kent are often overlooked; even Kent's apologist Horace Walpole allowed that Kent had followed "a very able master".

Thorndon Hall is Grade-I listed with English Heritage, and the park is Grade II*-listed. [1] [2]

Old Thorndon Hall

The estate of Thorndon Hall, known previously as the manor of West Horndon, can trace its records back to the 1086 Domesday Survey commissioned by William the Conqueror. However, a building on the site of Old Thorndon Hall was first recorded in 1414 when King Henry V of England gave licence for its new owner, a merchant from South Wales called Lewis John, to "empark 300 acres (120 ha), to surround his lodge within this park with walls and to crenellate and embattle the lodge". The current house replaced Old Thorndon Hall which was located about a mile to the south in what is now known as "ruin wood" next to Old Hall pond. The old hall was damaged by fire in the early 18th century and was subsequently pulled down after being used briefly as farm buildings.

William I, usually known as William the Conqueror and sometimes William the Bastard, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. After a long struggle to establish his power, by 1060 his hold on Normandy was secure, and he launched the Norman conquest of England six years later. The rest of his life was marked by struggles to consolidate his hold over England and his continental lands and by difficulties with his eldest son.

Henry V of England 15th-century King of England and Duke of Aquitaine

Henry V, also called Henry of Monmouth, was King of England from 1413 until his early death in 1422. He was the second English monarch of the House of Lancaster. Despite his relatively short reign, Henry's outstanding military successes in the Hundred Years' War against France, most notably in his famous victory at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, made England one of the strongest military powers in Europe. Immortalised in the plays of Shakespeare, Henry is known and celebrated as one of the great warrior kings of medieval England.

South Wales region of Wales

South Wales is the region of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, mid Wales to the north, and west Wales to the west. With an estimated population of around 2.2 million, which is almost three-quarters of the whole of Wales, Cardiff has approximately 400,000, Swansea has approximately 250,000 and Newport has 150,000. The region is loosely defined, but it is generally considered to include the historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, extending westwards to include Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. In the western extent, from Swansea westwards, local people would probably recognise that they lived in both south Wales and west Wales. The Brecon Beacons national park covers about a third of South Wales, containing Pen y Fan, the highest British mountain south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia.

Present house

The present house was designed by the fashionable neoclassical architect James Paine and construction started in 1764. The portico of the present house was originally commissioned and imported from Italy in 1742 for use on the old hall which had been remodelled by Giacomo Leoni in the Palladian style. Following the fire at the Old Hall, it was kept, and reused in the design of the present house.

Neoclassical architecture is an architectural style produced by the neoclassical movement that began in the mid-18th century. In its purest form, it is a style principally derived from the architecture of classical antiquity, the Vitruvian principles, and the work of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio.

James Paine (architect) English architect

James Paine (1717–1789) was an English architect.

Portico Type of porch

A portico is a porch leading to the entrance of a building, or extended as a colonnade, with a roof structure over a walkway, supported by columns or enclosed by walls. This idea was widely used in ancient Greece and has influenced many cultures, including most Western cultures.

The estate and newly finished house was visited in 1778 by King George III and Queen Charlotte on their visit to see the troops at nearby Warley Common. [3]

George III of the United Kingdom King of Great Britain and Ireland

George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz Queen consort of the United Kingdom as the wife of King George III

Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz was the wife of King George III. She served as Queen of Great Britain and Queen of Ireland from her wedding in 1761 until the union of the two kingdoms in 1801, after which she was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until her death in 1818. She was also the Electress of Hanover in the Holy Roman Empire until the promotion of her husband to King of Hanover on 12 October 1814, after which she was also queen consort of Hanover.

Following a fire in 1878, much of the main house and west wing were gutted leaving a shell and destroying or damaging many of the Petre picture collection. The surviving east wing was adapted into partial residential use with plans to renovate the house back to its original grandeur. However Petre family finances were in a poor state after the Great War and in 1920 the house and a portion of the estate was leased to Thorndon Park Golf Club. Originally, the company had planned to develop the estate into a luxury housing development and golf course, much the same as the Wentworth Club and St. George's Hill in Surrey, but with the introduction of London green belt legislation limiting house building on farm and parkland, the plan could not go ahead and the company folded.


The park was landscaped between 1766 and 1772 by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown at a cost of £5,000, much of which still survives, albeit merged into the landscaping of Thorndon Park Golf Course. The main driveway extended from what is now Shenfield Common for nearly two miles southwards to the northern face of the house. It can still be traced with maps, although it is now made up of public country parks and golf courses.

The first recorded camellia – a cousin of the tea plant, camellia sinensis – to grow in Great Britain was at Thorndon Hall in the 1730s. Fifteen years later, the camellia was thriving around the country, and by the 19th century country houses were adding camelia houses just to grow the pink flowers. [4]

Recent years

Eventually the golf club acquired the house and grounds, but chose to move out of the main hall and construct its purpose-built clubhouse within the grounds. In 1976, Thorndon Hall was sold to a developer, Thomas Bates & Son, Romford, who converted the mansion sympathetically to luxury apartments and cottages in landscaped surroundings, woodlands and parkland. Parts of the former park had been sold off during the twentieth century for development on the outskirts of Brentwood. Essex County Council manages extensive areas as the public Thorndon Country Park. The nearby Petre family mortuary chapel is now owned by the Historic Chapels Trust.

Nearest places

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Thorndon may refer to:

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  1. Historic England. "Thorndon Hall  (Grade I) (1297212)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  2. Historic England. "Thorndon Hall  (Grade I) (1000314)". National Heritage List for England . Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  3. "Brentwood - Thorndon Park". The Red Penguin. 20 May 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2017.
  4. Don, Monty (22 January 2010). "Why Camellias are everyone's cup of tea". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 26 April 2017.

Coordinates: 51°36′N0°20′E / 51.600°N 0.333°E / 51.600; 0.333