Little Hadham Travel Guide

  • St Cecilia's Church
    St Cecilia's Church
    by Willettsworld
  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld
  • Things to Do
    by Willettsworld

Little Hadham Things to Do

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    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    Just a few photos of some of the lovely cottages in Little Hadham. Most of them dates from the 17th and 18th centuries.

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    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    Built in the late 14th and early 15th century, St Cecelia’s probably stands on the site of an earlier church that fell within the bounds of the manor of Hadham Hall.

    The Saxon lords who first owned the manor also owned the advowson of the parish i.e. they had the right to appoint the clergyman to it, but this changed in 1086 when the Baud family held the manor, and they appointed the clergy. This continued until 1276 when Sir Walter Baud sold the advowson to the Bishop of London for the sum of £20.

    In the church is a memorial stone to Arthur, Lord Capel, who was executed for treason and hanged on March 9th 1649. An ardent Royalist during the Civil War, he was sent to the Tower of London after being captured by Parliamentarians. He escaped but was re-arrested and one of his last requests was for his heart to be buried with King Charles I. The Bishop of Winchester preserved it in a silver box and gave it to Charles ll when he was restored to the throne. It is believed the King sent it to Capel's son, the first Earl of Essex because in 1703 a heart in a silver box was found at Hadham Hall.

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    by Willettsworld Written May 10, 2009

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    The site of Hadham Hall was first settled by the Catuvellauni, one of the Belgic tribes that led Celtic resistance to Julius Caeser’s invasion in 53 BC. During excavations here in 1962 a great deal of detail was revealed about how these early Britons lived, and many artefacts were found that prove they were a relatively prosperous people who took full advantage of the Roman way of life. However, the settlement appears to have been abandoned before the end of the 1st century AD when its inhabitants, probably encouraged by the Romans who conquered Britain in 43 AD, and who had a dislike for hill-top settlements, moved to the nearby valley settlements in Bishop’s Stortford and Braughing.

    The history of the manor of Hadham itself dates back to the 11th century when William, Bishop of London, owned it. At his death, in 1076, William the Conqueror made a grant of land in Hadham to William of Baud in Normandy, who had followed him to England at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066. His name is recorded in Domesday Book as Lord of Hadham.

    He built the first Hadham Hall, along with barns and cattle sheds, on a 1–2 acre site surrounded by a stockade and moat. The house certainly wasn’t built on any grand scale, but as uncomfortable, cold and damp as it may have been, it served as the Baud’s manor house for 350 years.

    By 1440, brick was taking the place of wood for house construction and Thomas Baud built a far more substantial manor house on the site of the original. The second Hadham Hall stood for 130 years but all that remains now is the eastern section of its gatehouse, a barn and part of an old cottage.

    The first member of the Capel family to actually live at Hadham Hall was Henry Capel (1537–1588) who moved in after his wife died in 1572. Between then and 1578 he had the second Hall demolished and built, partly on its foundations, the magnificent Elizabethan mansion that stands today. This is the same Hadham Hall in which Henry Capel entertained Queen Elizabeth I in 1578 when she lodged here while returning from Norfolk. The Capel family owned the hall until 1900 when it was sold to the Minet family who then sold it to Hertfordshire County Council in 1948. They took the brave and experimental step of converting Hadham Hall into a co-educational school at a cost of £65,000. The school survived for 38 years until Hertfordshire County Council decided there were not enough children in the area to justify the expense of keeping it open. The school closed in 1990 and the Hall today is a series of private residences and businesses.

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