Thursday, 10 January 2008

Brewood Hall

Historical Notes

Brewood (pronounced ‘Brood’) was a manor held by the Church as early as 822. The Domesday Book records that the Bishop of Chester held ‘Breude’. In Celtic, the name means a ‘fearful place’, held to be derived from the dense forests which covered the area at that time. Deer hunting was popular and King John is thought to have had a ‘Camera Regis’ (a temporary residence) on the site of Brewood Hall around 1204. The Fowke family became bailiffs of the Episcopal Manor of Brewood and Brewood Hall remained in this family for a number of generations. The pedigree of the Fowkes shows William Fowke living at Brewood Hall during the reign of Edward IV. During this period the ‘Leet’ (a Great Court) was held here.

William Parke, a local historian, refers to the two principal families in Brewood in the seventeenth century as the Giffards of Chillington Hall and the Fowkes of Brewood Hall. Both families had pews in the church of Saint Mary the Virgin and Saint Chad and a number of memorials to both families may be seen in the church. These families remained loyal to the King during the Civil War. King Charles passed through the area during his escape, stopping first at Boscobel House and then at Moseley Old Hall, both a few miles from Brewood. The last male descendant of the Fowke family was Phineas Fowke M.D. He died a bachelor in 1710 and his sister Sibella married Joseph Hussey. In 1767, Phineas Hussey sold to Thomas Plimley "all that Manor of Engleton with appurtenances and all the capital messuage called Brewood Hall with appurtenances." It was re-sold in 1786 to the Honourable Edward Monckton, who intended it as a jointure house to Somerford Hall, although it was never so used.

Brewood Hall remained in this family for a number of years. A major rebuilding was carried out in 1858 before Misses Leonora and Emma Monckton took up residence. The Moncktons sold Brewood Hall to Colonel C. O. Langley in 1929. He disposed of it to Avion Properties in the 1960s and this company developed about five acres of orchard for housing. The Hall and adjacent barns, with around an acre of gardens, were acquired by J. C. Ford in 1971.

There is a later post Notes on the History of Brewood Hall with more information.

Architectural Notes

Brewood Hall is a Listed Building (Grade II). There has been a residence on the site for over 700 years. The existing structure dates chiefly from a major rebuilding around 1640 which incorporated parts of an earlier building and retained the medieval plan. The external construction is of hand-made bricks although this conceals some timber framing which is visible from within the building. A number of partition walls on the second floor are timber framed with brick infill. The garden walls and stone gate piers with ball finials date from this period. The house has the traditional ‘E’ plan, albeit on a small scale, with two short ‘wings’ flanking a central porch. The North West wall shows the remains of early lunette windows. The Hall still has a number of lead rain water heads although the original lead rain water pipes were replaced with cast iron many years ago. The two lead rain water heads on the South Eastern (main) elevation are decorated with cherubs – one shows two complete cherubs, the other a single cherub’s head in close-up. The 1858 rebuilding added a new wing to the North East and placed a conservatory between the wings on the main elevation. At the same time, the original stone-mullioned windows were replaced by larger plate-glass sash windows. Cement quoins were placed around these windows and on the corners of the wings on the front aspect.

The major change in the 20th century was the replacement of the 1858 conservatory by a small porch.

Internally, there are a number of original oak floors, oak door frames and oak doors. The dining room is oak panelled, with the panelling of two dates as the original room was extended some time ago. The main stairs, also oak, feature barley sugar twist balusters (banisters). The lounge hall has an Elizabethan bolection moulded stone fire surround but the ceramic tiles and brass canopy are of later date. The large window on the main staircase, with its unusual shutters, is from the 1858 rebuilding.

There are two barns adjacent to the Hall, both dating from the 17th century. The larger barn features massive oak beams but the tiled roof is relatively modern. The smaller barn was extensively restored in 2004 as offices. All the original features of the smaller barn, such as the Queen Post Truss roof and timber framing have been retained. In 2004, the doors and windows in both barns were replaced, using oak, retaining the original designs as far as possible.

You can find all my posts on Brewood Hall and associated activities here.

There is an associated set of photographs recording different aspects of Brewood Hall and showing methods used in maintaining the various structures. Click here.

The project to restore the smaller barn has its own set of photographs. Click here.

The large barn has a set of photographs here.

Alternately, you can find all my pictures of Brewood Village and Brewood Hall here.

[5-Oct-2015: Links to related posts and pictures added]