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Hall Place and Gardens * Bexley

Summary

* on The National Heritage List for England, Parks & Gardens

Hall Place is an early Tudor mansion built near the River Cray for Sir John Champney, Lord Mayor of London. The house was enlarged over the years and passed through numerous owners, once used as a school. The house and grounds were opened to the public in 1952 and today have a number of formal garden areas, including an enclosed Elizabethan garden, rose garden, herb garden, rock garden, sunken garden, topiary lawn. The working nursery dates from the original walled kitchen garden for the house. The grounds also have open areas for sports and recreation.

Basic Details

Site location:
Bourne Road, Bexley

Postcode:
DA5 1PQ ( Google Map)

Type of site:
Public Gardens; Public Open Land

Date(s):
1537-40. Public gardens: 1952

Designer(s):

Listed structures:
SAM: Hall Place. LBI: Hall Place; Garden Walls, Gate Piers, and Gates to north and west of Hall Place LBII: Barn, Granary re-erected to north-east of Hall Place. Local list: Lodge, stables, mill house.

Borough:
Bexley

Site ownership:
LB Bexley

Site management:
Bexley Heritage Trust (BHT) in partnership with Bexley Council

Open to public?
Yes

Opening times:
Gardens and Nursery 9am - dusk. Mansion/Museum summer daily 10am-5pm, winter Tues-Sat 10am-4.15pm. Park & sports fields unrestricted

Special conditions:
No dogs in formal gardens and nursery, under control in other areas. Dog waste bins provided

Facilities:
Car park, café, toilets; visitor centre/shop; Nursery; Jacobean Barn Restaurant; Museum in Hall Place mansion. Football and cricket pitches; changing rooms.

Events:
Annual Flower Show in July. Exhibitions, educational programme in Mansion. Has opened for Open House London

Public transport:
Rail: Bexley; Crayford. Bus: 96, 132, 229, 492, B15.

The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/06/2015
Please check with the site owner or manager for latest news. www.bexley.gov.uk

Further Information

Grid ref:
TQ501743 (550246,174175)

Size in hectares:
63

Green Flag:
Yes

On EH National Register :
Yes

EH grade:
Grade II

Site on EH Heritage at Risk list:
No

Registered common or village green on Commons Registration Act 1965:
No

Protected under London Squares Preservation Act 1931:
No

Local Authority Data

The information below is taken from the relevant Local Authority's planning legislation, which was correct at the time of research but may have been amended in the interim. Please check with the Local Authority for latest planning information.

On Local List:
No

In Conservation Area:
No

Tree Preservation Order:
No

Nature Conservation Area:
To be checked (Crayford Rough?)

Green Belt:
Yes

Metropolitan Open Land:
No

Special Policy Area:
No

Other LA designation:
? possible some conservation interest in Crayford Rough

Hall Place and Gardens *

Hall Place and Gardens, Topiary Garden, September 2001. Photo: S Williams

Click photo to enlarge.

Fuller information

Site on The National Heritage List for England, Parks and Gardens, for Register Entry see https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

Hall Place is an early Tudor 3-sided mansion set in beautiful, formal gardens on the banks of River Cray. The mansion was built between 1537-40 for Sir John Chapenois /Champney, a former Lord Mayor of London, incorporating older fabric and was enlarged with extensions dating from 1650. C18th walls enclose the north garden, which has a herbaceous border running along its length, and there are splendid C18th iron gates attributed to Thomas Robinson. The estate passed through numerous owners, and in the C19th the house was once used as a school. The house and grounds were purchased and opened to the public in 1952 by the Duchess of Kent.

Details of the garden development before the C20th are uncertain, although numerous trees are thought to have been planted in the C19th. The grounds are fairly level; an oval drive approaches from the east around a lawn planted with numerous trees including mature plane, catalpa and chestnut. Bedding and lawn to the south of the house is bounded by the River Cray to the south. To the south-west of the house is a formal rose garden with a yew hedge to the west and with rising terraced lawn to the north-west that features clipped yew figures depicting the Queen's Beasts, which were planted in 1953 to commemorate the Coronation of Elizabeth II. These were pre-dated by topiary chess pieces planted by Lady Limerick in 1935, found along the north-west side of the Hall. There are more lawns to the north of the Hall, with massed bedding, a sundial and wrought iron gates. To the west the lawns are decorated with scattered trees, some of them mature. Beyond these lawns is a herb garden and a shrubbery. Lawns extend south and south-west of the formal gardens to the banks of the River Cray, the southern banks are lined with weeping willows. A footbridge in the north/east corner leads to the water meadows and sports pitches beyond. To the west of the car park is the original walled kitchen garden now used as a working plant nursery. The C18th Barn was refurbished in 1990 and is used as a restaurant. A 'Flora-for-Fauna' garden of native British plants has been developed to promote biodiversity by LB Bexley in conjunction with the Duchess of Hamilton and the Flora-for-Fauna Society. To the north of Bourne Road is North Field (q.v.), consisting of more parkland that was part of the Hall Place estate, with relict avenues of mature trees. The best is an avenue of limes running east/west parallel to the Bourne Road, possibly relict from an avenue shown on a map of Hall Place estate of 1768. An avenue of younger copper beech runs north from the western end of Bourne Road and clumps and individual mature trees decorate the site. To the north-east of the playing fields is an area of ground known locally as Crayford Stadium Rough. As the name suggests this is an area of rough ground behind Crayford Greyhound stadium. The area that is bordered by the river Cray to the north, contains several wild plants rare in London.

Sources consulted:

Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, Greater London; Country Life 21 Jan 1922 80-87; Cherry B and Pevsner N, The Buildings of England, London 2: South, 1983, 135/137

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