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Monument record MDR7900 - Bretby Hall (site of), Bretby Park, Bretby

Type and Period (2)

  • (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Stuart to Georgian - 1699 AD to 1777 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

In 1802 it was recorded that the 'present Earl … in his youth, was persuaded, by an artful steward, to pull down [a magnificent old mansion] as being in a dangerous state of decay, though it was afterwards proved to have been very firm and substantial…. Its demolition is sincerely regretted by its noble owner, who is become very much attached to the place, and actually inhabits a small building erected by the steward out of the materials of the old mansion It is reported to be Lord Chesterfield's intention to build a new house here immediately'. (1) In 1610 Philip, 1st Lord Stanhope, obtained Royal consent to enclose a park. He erected a new house within it some years later. The main range was one room deep, of two storeys and attics and nine bays. At either end a pair of long ranges enclosed a 'cour d'honneur'. The house was completed by 1639 when a masque was given and in 1670 it was assessed for the Hearth Tax on 68 hearths. A chapel was added to the eastern end of the main range in 1696. Bretby supplanted Shelford as the chief seat of the Stanhopes after the Civil War, but was little used after the middle of the 18th century. In 1777 demolition commenced and was completed in 1781. A new house was commenced in around 1813 on a different site (see SMR 17530), and is thought to incorporate some of the outbuildings of the Jacobean house. (2) A view of the house, dated 1707, shows details not only of the main building, but also of outbuildings and extensive garden features. (3) At around the same time it was described as follows: "The house is of stone, yet not of the modern architecture, yet regular enough, with a curious chapel and very good out-buildings ..". (4) Trial excavation ahead of proposed redevelopment was carried out in March 1998. Trenches were sited at right-angles to the suggested line of the side wing of the former hall and another was positioned to cross the possible chapel, although these positions had to be modified due to the presence of a number of trees. No evidence of the hall was found. Two substantial stone capped drains were identified, together with a number of smaller french drains and shallow pits which could relate to the 17th century garden or later activity. Only seven sherds of pottery were recovered, of possible 16th to 18th century date, together with a couple of architectural fragments. It was suggested that that part of the hall within the development area had been used as a quarry. (5) Resistivity and magnetometer surveys were also carried out in March 1998. The results were inconclusive, but anomalies were thought to indicate areas of demolition rubble, wall foundations and garden features. The anomalies could not be related directly to the ground plan of the former hall. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Britten, J & Brayley, E. 1802. Beauties of England and Wales. Vol. III. p 398.
  • <2> Bibliographic reference: Craven, M & Stanley, M. 1991. The Derbyshire Country House. pp 43-45.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: Knyff, L & Kip, J. 1714. Britannia Illustrata I. pls 60-61.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: Glover, C & Riden, P (eds). 1981. William Woolley's History of Derbyshire. pp 149-150.
  • <5> Unpublished document: Parry, S & Webster, M (Northamptonshire Archaeology). 1998. Archaeological Evaluation at Bretby Hall, Bretby, Derbyshire, March 1998.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Masters, P. 1998. Geophysical Survey at Bretby Hall, Bretby, Derbyshire, March 1998.



Grid reference SK 30041 22660 (point) (Approximate)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR1644
  • EDR1645

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Record last edited

Jun 22 2015 11:01AM

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