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Engraving of Spains Hall, c.1833

Spains Hall is an Elizabethan country house near Finchingfield in Essex.

The hall is named after Hervey de Ispania, who held the manor at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086. Since then, the land has been owned by three families - the de Ispania family; the Kempe family, who acquired it when Margery de Ispania married Nicholas Kempe in the early 15th century; and the Ruggles family (later the Ruggles-Brise family). After the Kempe line failed, the house was bought in 1760 by Samuel Ruggles, a clothier from Bocking. His descendents, the Ruggles-Brise family, still live in the house today. Recent occupants include Sir Edward Ruggles-Brise, 1st Baronet (1882-1942), and his son, Sir John Ruggles-Brise, 2nd Baronet (1908-2007).

The current house dates to c. 1570, with earlier remains that include part of a medieval king post roof. The principal façade was remodelled by William Kempe in around 1585, and Dutch gables and silvered lead drainpipes were added by Robert Kempe in 1637. Robert Kempe was reputedly knighted by Oliver Cromwell in 1641, in front of the house.

A park of around 7 hectares surrounding the house was landscaped to a plan by Humphry Repton in around 1807; the new landscaping remade some of the series of early 17th-century fishponds as ornamental water features. Nearer the house are a large (2 hectare) and early (16th-century) walled garden, and a mid-19th-century formal garden. The grounds also include the remains of a moat around an earlier house.

The house was protected as a grade II listed building, upgraded to grade II* in June 1988. The 18th-century dovecote and 19th-century coach house and stables were converted in 2004 into a venue for weddings, conferences, and other events.

Other historic houses called Spains Hall exist at Willingale and Great Yeldham, also in Essex.


Coordinates: 51°58′03″N 0°27′29″E / 51.96759°N 0.45795°E / 51.96759; 0.45795



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