History and Architecture
Albert Nye email@example.com
The first mention of the estate was in the Domesday Book. The estate became the principle manor of the parish Kelvedon Hatch. In the following centuries the estate was extended by the various owners. Woods were inparked and enclosed, and land was put into cultivation.
In 1538 the manor was sold to John Wright a yeoman of South Weald for £493. For nearly the next 400 years the estate remained in the hands of the Wright family. Tradition was clearly important in the family for there were to be ten successive John Wrights. They extended the estate further by purchasing Germains, a former manor. As land ownership meant power and money the family were able to confirm their status as minor gentry. The manor house was rebuilt by the seventh John Wright in the 18th century.
Next to the manor house was St.Nicholas's Church which had been on the site since at least 1372 and may have even dated back to before 1066. The first three John Wrights were Protestants, but early in the 17th century the next John Wright converted to Roman Catholicism. He encouraged to do this by William Byrd, the composer, who lived in nearby Stondon Massey. The Wrights were to remain devout Roman Catholics for their remaining time in Kelvedon Hall. In the new house a chapel was built, the existence of which was kept secret during the time Catholics were being persecuted. In 1753 the church was rebuilt but in 1895 it was abandoned for a new church built in the village.
In 1837 the estate consisted of 880 acres which included the Hall and grounds; Germains Farm, Langford Bridge Farm and Pump House Farm. The last John Wright died in 1868. The estate then passed to his nephew Edward Carrington Wright. He in turn left it to his own nephew Sir Henry J. Lawson.
However, from 1891 onwards the house had been occupied by a tenant: John Algernon Jones. Upon his death, his widow purchased it from Sir Henry. After her death the house was sold in 1932 by her son to St Michael's Roman Catholic School. Their occupancy of Kelvedon Hall was short lived as there were a number of unfortunate accidents which resulted in the deaths of some of the children and a nun. The school closed in 1937. Despite the rumours that the house was haunted it was purchased by Henry (Chips) Channon M.P. who restored it to its former elegance and added a pair of entrance lodges. The Hall was used as a convelesance home during the 2nd world war. The Hall is now occupied by his son Lord Kelvedon.
The house is a very good example of a small country seat of a 18th century land-owner. The main front has three stories with seven windows on each of the upper floors. On either side of this block are two storey pavilions connected to the main front by curved screen walls. The pavilions have hipped roofs with turrets and cupolas. The doorway is roman doric with engaged columns and a pediment. The front over-looks a small lake created by the damning of a small stream. There is a red brick stable block and an orangery.
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