A Jaunt to Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex

Ingatestone Hall bell tower
Ingatestone Hall bell tower

A Jaunt to Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex

I first visited Ingatestone Hall, Ingatestone, Essex many years ago and was amazed to find such a wonderful Tudor building almost on my doorstep. A few days ago, I went with my husband, mum and cousins, Andrea and David, to see it again.

When Henry VIII ordered the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1535, a lawyer called William Petre was sent to the monasteries of the south east of England to persuade them to surrender lands and possessions to the king. He visited Barking Abbey which owned a manor at Yenge-atte-Stone, and eventually, he bought it for £849 12s 6d. Despite seemingly having taken advantage of Church property, he and his descendants remained loyal to the Catholic Church despite persecution of Catholics under subsequent monarchs.

William Petre demolished the manor and built a new house which is substantially what remains today.

Ingatestone Hall still belongs to the Petre family and although John, 18th Lord Petre doesn’t live there, his son, Dominic does. In fact, while we were there, we saw Dominic taking a tour round the house.

At the approach, is a bell tower with a one-handed clock which bears the Petre family motto Sans Dieu Rien (Nothing without God) and underneath is an arch which leads to the Outer Court. Apparently, this is where the workshops and offices necessary for the smooth running of the household would have once been located. As we approached the house, we entered the Inner Courtyard where an espaliered pear tree could be seen, full of fruit.

Espaliered pear tree
Espaliered pear tree

Unfortunately, it isn’t allowed to take photos inside the house where there are countless paintings and pieces of furniture, as well as two priest holes where Catholic priests may have hidden to keep them safe from the authorities. There were plenty of guides to give the history and point out items of interest in each room. In His Lordship’s Bedroom which was the master bedroom and was listed in the 1600 inventory as ‘My Master’s Lodging’, is a bed which is thought to be original and it was used up until the 1920s! The bed had a solid top to stop vermin from dropping on to whoever was asleep!

Lily in the pond
Lily in the pond
Ingatestone Hall from the garden
Ingatestone Hall from the garden

In the garden is a large stew pond which was once used to provide fish for the table and in the walled garden was another stew pond which had once served time as a swimming pool but is now full of lilies. We explored the grounds, including the Lime Walk where a ghostly dog is supposed haunt. In 1733, Bishop Benjamin Petre was set upon by robbers while he was in the Lime Walk and a dog saved his life. The ghost of the dog is still said to patrol the walk and sometimes people hear him bark. Sadly, he wasn’t there during out visit.

Lime Walk
Lime Walk

If you’d like to see the other photos I took on the day, click here to go to Flickr

And if you’d like to visit Ingatestone Hall or would like to find out more, click here to go to the website ¬† It’s well worth a visit!