Stable Block at Hedingham Castle


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1122961

Date first listed: 15-Oct-1984

Date of most recent amendment: 05-Apr-2016

Statutory Address: Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DJ


Ordnance survey map of Stable Block at Hedingham Castle
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Statutory Address: Hedingham Castle, Castle Hedingham, Essex, CO9 3DJ

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Essex

District: Braintree (District Authority)

Parish: Castle Hedingham

National Grid Reference: TL7875835894


Stable block built in the C18.

Reasons for Designation

The stable block at Hedingham Castle, built in the C18, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: it is a well-preserved example of an C18 stable which was a key element in a Georgian estate;

* Interior: it retains a good proportion of its original fittings, including internal panelling, stall holders and iron mangers, indicating the building’s original configuration and function;

* Historic interest: the rear wall which incorporates the retaining wall for the dry moat enhances the historic interest of the stable as it is evidence of an earlier phase in the castle’s history; * Group value: it has strong group value with the scheduled elements of the castle, and with the four listed buildings on the site, namely the C12 Keep, C15 bridge and the C18 house and dovecote. Altogether these form an ensemble of structures dating from each key phase in the nine hundred year evolution of the site, thereby encapsulating important aspects of the historical and architectural development of England.


The stable block at Hedingham Castle House was built for Sir William Ashurst but he died just as the house was completed in 1719. He had acquired the Hedingham Castle estate in 1713, ten years after the previous owner, Aubrey De Vere, the 20th Earl of Oxford, had died without an heir to inherit the title. His ancestor, also called Aubrey De Vere, had built the large earthen ringwork castle with two baileys (a scheduled monument) probably in the late C11 on land granted to him after the Conquest. The Keep (Grade I listed) was built in the mid-C12. The 13th Earl was responsible for a great rebuilding programme in or around 1496 but only the bridge (Grade II listed) survives from this phase. The retaining wall on the east side of the dry moat, north of the bridge (thought to be the remains of a tennis court that was recorded in this position in the early C17) was later incorporated in the stable block.

Sir William Ashurst sited his new house on a levelled area created by the removal of a section of the inner bailey earthworks, and at an angle to them so as to afford a direct view down the valley to the south. The remainder of the inner bailey was shaped into a small private garden and the castle mound was probably landscaped. The deep ditches of the former castle were utilised for wooded walks, and kitchen gardens were laid out to the west of the canal which was created out of the medieval fishponds. An unattributed view of 1719 shows the new house and the stable block to the north-west. A survey carried out by Bailey in 1785 depicts the layout of the estate in great detail, including the rectangular stable block in the north-west corner of the outer bailey. Between 1766 and 1785 the estate passed by marriage to the Majendie family who during the 1890s tried to sell it on at least three occasions but it never reached its reserve at auction and was withdrawn. The estate remains in private ownership but the castle is open to the public (2015).


Stable block built in the C18.

MATERIALS: red brick laid in Flemish bond which shows evidence of considerable repair and red tile roof covering.

PLAN: the stable block has a long rectangular plan and is located in the north-west corner of the outer bailey, to the north-west of the house. The lower part of the rear (west) wall is the retaining wall to the dry moat where the tennis court associated with the Tudor castle was located.

EXTERIOR: the two-storey building has a shallow hipped roof. The first-floor of the principal east elevation is lit by six small windows which have centre glazing bars and gauged brick arches, as do most of the windows. Between the first two pairs of windows there are two loft doors above the ground-floor doors. The ground floor has, from the left, a small window, a wide timber door which is a later insertion as it has a lunette for a narrower opening above, and three windows. These are followed by two vertical plank doors with lunettes above, and a lunette in between, then a wide double-leaf vertical plank door inserted in the C20. The brickwork in this last bay is also C20 in date. The south gable end has a small window and a bricked up lunette, and two bricked up windows above. There is a small single-storey C20 brick extension on the north gable end. The rear wall is blind. The lower courses may be constructed of brick dating to at least the early C17. INTERIOR: this is divided into three main rooms and retains panelling, stall holders and iron mangers.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 114523

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
Pevsner, Nikolaus, Bettley, James, The Buildings of England: Essex, (2010)
Moraig Brown, Hedingham Castle, Essex: Archaeological Field Survey Report, RCHME, 1995

End of official listing