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Listed Building record MDR792 - Sudbury Hall

Type and Period (2)

  • (Stuart to Victorian - 1660 AD to 1900 AD)
  • (Stuart - 1664 AD to 1664 AD)

Protected Status/Designation

Full Description

Sudbury Hall dates from the 17th century and is of moderate size, brick-built, with diapering in dark brick on both storeys. The plan is of an Elizabethan and Jacobean type; the E-type with a central porch and projecting wings. On the east side is a mezzanine in the Smythson manner (as at Hardwick). On the garden front, the wings do not project but are marked by bay windows. To the west is a lower wing by Devey, 1876-83, well matched to the main house. The conservative E-plan, the mullioned windows, the diapering, and, inside, the long gallery, have been interpreted as the result of building the house in two stages: the basic plan and ground floor with its flat quoins begun by Mary Vernon c. 1613, left unfinished at her death in 1622; and continued by her grandson, George Vernon, in the mid 1660s with more progressive features such as the tracery and the frontispiece. However, it has been plausibly argued that George Vernon was responsible for the whole house, and that his house replaced the earlier and more modest house shown on an estate map of 1659 and built by Mary Vernon. George Vernon began building on the estate with Park Gates in 1660. He then built a barn (now demolished) in 1661, and stables, with mullioned windows and gables in the Tudor tradition, in 1664, before beginning work on the house c. 1665. The interior was begun after the exterior was completed in 1670. (1) Property of the National Trust and open to the public. (4) A grade I listed country house and stable block, which are now in use as a musuem. The hall was built c. 1660 - 1670 and 1876-83 by George Devey. It is built of red brick with vitrified brick diaper work. It has sandstone quoins, which are flush to the ground floor, and raised and chamfered to the first floor. It has plain tile hipped roofs with two external brick stacks to the west and east sides, four ridge stacks to main part and six ridge stacks to the west wing. The stable block attached to the north-west has a brick ridge and a gable stack. There is a balustraded parapet and central domed ashlar cupola with pilasters and pedimented windows and a ball finial. It has an E-shaped plan, and is two storeys with attics. There are symmetrical elevations to the 17th century part. The north elevation is of nine bays, 1-3-1-3-1. There is a central two-storey porch with six steps leading up to the door that is built of ashlar. It comprises coupled columns and broken pediments on two floors in a Baroque composition. The carving is by Sir William Wilson of Leicester. There is an irregular elevation to the 19th century east wing in a similar style. It is descending in height, with a square projecting end pavilion and curved wall beyond linking to the stable block. There is a four-bay west elevation, almost symmetrical, with similar fenestration. The symmetrical nine-bay south elevation is of 1-3-1-3-1 bays. Bays one, five and nine project slightly. The centre bay has a large round-arched doorway with stone steps and a mullioned window above with semi-circular and oval motifs. There is a segmental pediment with carving by Sir William Wilson. A 19th century east wing is lower and set back to the right. It is of eight bays in a similar style, with diaper work and mullioned and transomed windows. There is a flight of balustraded stone steps in the angle with the main building. The stable block forms an L-range with the service wing. It is dated 1664, and is of two storeys. The east elevation has a broad round-headed quoined carriage arch, with a clock face above in ashlar surround. There is a cupola bell turret above. A similar entrance lies to the left, and between them is a doorway with a stone surround flanked by three-light mullioned windows. The interior of the house was begun in 1670 and completed in 1691. Small alterations were made in the 18th and 19th centuries, and restoration in 1969-71 by John Fowler. The main entrance leads into a passage opening into the great hall; the passage was divided from the hall by Salvin in c. 1850. Salvin copied the elaborate rusticated doorway from the west end of the hall. There is a broad bolection moulded chimneypiece with coved acanthus cornice, matching the cornice to the room. The staircase hall contains the Great Staircase (c. 1676), which has a white-painted balustrade with luxuriantly carved foliage by Edward Pierce, and is one of the finest staircases of its date in the country. It also has a rich plaster ceiling by James Pettifer (1675), with paintings by Laquerre (1691). A carved doorway to the Saloon has been attributed to Thomas Young. The Saloon has a plaster ceiling by Bradbury and Pettifer (1675) with a shallow dome painted by Laquerre. It also has carved panelling from 1678 by Edward Pierce, which was altered c. 1736-41 to take the portraits, and was painted in the 19th century. There is also a mid-Victorian marble chimneypiece. The drawing room and library were made into one by Salvin c. 1853 and re-converted to two in 1969. The drawing room has a ceiling by Bradbury and Pettifer with an early 18th century painting on canvas. It also has a sumptuous naturalistic carved overmantel by Grinling Gibbons. Library ceiling by Mansfield (1672) with coved cornice similar to that in the hall. Mansfield might have only executed the cornice, as the ceiling is in the style of Bradbury and Pettifer and may have been added slightly later. Bookcases of c. 1700 with fluted pilasters and modillion cornice. Upstairs the Queens Room has plasterwork by Mansfield and an alabaster chimneypiece and overmantel by Sir William Wilson (1670). Filling the full length of the South front is the long Gallery, a very conservative feature for its date (completed in 1676). It has a magnificent ceiling by Robert Bradbury and plain panelling painted in the 19th century. The Upper Library was fitted out c. 1840's. The attic rooms have some plain panelling and the cupola has a circular staircase with barleysugar balusters and a moulded plaster ceiling. Smaller rooms on the east side of the house have plain raised and fielded panelling and various alterations by E. M. Barry who worked on the house between 1869-72 and designed the Secondary Staircase of robust proportions, with a ramped hand-rail. George Devey worked on the house between c. 1872-80. His east wing has few interior features of special interest and has been converted into a Museum of Childhood. The billiard room has early 20th century plasterwork, incomplete, and probably by W Romaine-Walker. The stable block has a massive double purlin roof, and is also part of the museum. See list description for more details. (5) A comparison of estate maps has suggested that the manor house of 1613 was not on the same site as the present house, but rather that it stood to the south-east, under the modern quincunx of trees. The present house was probably largely built by George Vernon between 1665 and 1670. (6)

Sources/Archives (6)

  • <1> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1979. The Buildings of England: Derbyshire. 2nd ed., revised. pp 330-335, illust..
  • <2> Article in serial: Cornforth, J. Country Life, June 10, 1971. Vol 149, pp 1428-33.
  • <3> Bibliographic reference: 1981. Properties of The National Trust. p 15.
  • <4> Bibliographic reference: F1 FDC 01-SEP-66.
  • <5> Listed Building File: Historic England. 2011. The National Heritage List for England.
  • <6> Unpublished document: Beamish, H & Smith, L (The National Trust). 1985. The National Trust Archaeological Survey: Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire.



Grid reference Centred SK 1587 3210 (107m by 75m) (Centre)

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

  • EDR1729
  • EDR729

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Record last edited

Aug 7 2020 9:44AM

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