There was a house on this site in c.1600 but the manor of Cranham dates back at least to the C11th when it was held by the Bishop of London; an earlier manor house may have been located in the north of the parish. From 1765 until his death the estate was the home and farm of General James Oglethorpe (1696-1785), famous as the colonist of Georgia, USA. Cranham Hall today is an early C19th house built on the site of the C16th house, demolished in 1789. The estate remained intact until 1867 when 812 acres of farmland were sold to Richard Benyon, and it was largely built over. C16th garden walls survive almost intact, on the south side of which is a gateway, and many mature trees remain although the private gardens are now much reduced in size. The main entrance was formerly by the church, overlooking the fields and not The Chase, which was the back entrance.
The information shown above was correct at the time of the last update 01/09/2007
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Cranham Hall is an early C19th house of 5 bays, built on the site of a brick house of c.1600, which was largely demolished in 1789/90 although a small part was incorporated into the new house. The old house was in the north-east corner of a walled garden of 1.5 acres, with a small park to the south and east. However, the manor of Cranham is recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 and an earlier manor house may have been located in the north of the parish. It was held by the Bishop of London in 1086, probably granted in recognition for his support for William the Conqueror in the overthrow of Harold, and between the C12th and C14th the manor was owned by the Ockendon family. In 1571 the manor comprising 780 acres was held by Sir William Petre of Ingatestone Hall and Thorndon Hall. From 1765 until his death the estate later became the home of General James Oglethorpe (1696-1785), following the sale of the estate by the Petre family to Sir Benjamin Wright. He was famous as the colonist of Georgia, USA and is commemorated by a marble tablet in the nearby All Saints’ Church (q.v.). Following a distinguished military and philanthropic career, Oglethorpe married Elizabeth Wright, the heiress to Cranham Hall Estate in 1743. Although he had been acquitted following his court-martial for 'excessive sympathy with the enemy' when he was engaged in fighting Prince Charles Edward Stuart in 1745, Oglethorpe retired from public life in 1745. He spent the rest of his life farming the Cranham Hall Estate and enjoying the company of literary men of the day such as Dr Johnston.
The Hall and its estate remained intact until 1867 when 812 acres of farmland were then sold to Richard Benyon MP who also owned the manor of North Ockendon. The Benyon family's Essex estates were eventually sold in 1937. Cranham Lodge and Cranham Hall Farm, which was built for the Benyons to the west of the garden in the late C19th, probably designed by Richard Armstrong, were sold with 415 acres to the Southend-on-Sea Estates Company. Cranham was developed as a suburb after WWII, mainly north of the railway and to the east of the parish but the Green Belt Act of 1938 prevented further expansion.
Cranham Hall Farm was a large farm of 474 acres in 1839, among the largest in the parish. It has now been converted into livery stables and work units. The C16th red brick garden walls of the earlier house survive almost intact, on the south side of which is a gateway with rusticated brick piers on moulded brick plinths. There remain many mature trees including holm oak, horse chestnut, lime and walnut, which are the subject of tree preservation orders. In c.1960 some ancient species of American trees were recorded as standing in the field to the east of the garden walls, which created a short approach avenue, as indicated on Chapman and Andre's map. The private gardens are now much reduced in size, and a recent owner planted trees and created a lake and a swimming pool over much of the site of the earlier gardens and house. The main entrance was formerly by the church, overlooking the fields and not The Chase, which was the back entrance.
English Heritage History File, Havering Countryside leaflet; Arthur Mee 'The King's England: London North of the Thames except the City and Westminster' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1972); John Drury, 'Treasures of Havering', (Ian Henry Publications, 1998); Paul Drury Partnership for LB Havering, 'Cranham Conservation Area Character Appraisal and Management Proposals' (February 2007)