SmallBridge (or Small Brigg) Hall
This magnificent moated
house, is believed to be one wing of a much larger Elizabethan mansion.
Background History to Smallbridge Hall.
In 1383 May
10, Richardus Waldegrave (Richard Waldegrave) was granted, by Richard
II, (In year 7 of his reign) a Royal licence to crenellate Seinte Marie
Bures (Smallbridge Hall, Bures St Mary)
14 cent: The property we know today
as Smallbridge Hall was constructed during this period of time.
Ref (b) Richard Waldegrave acquired
Smallbridge Hall in 1384
**1523: On Cardinal Wolsey`s downfall
Church Manor went with the church, through a number of owners to the Mannocks
and eventually became part of the Elizabethan Sir William Waldegrave's
estate. He transformed the gentle slopes of Wormingford into a deer park
and connected it to his grand red brick house by a bridge across the Stour.
From that time the name Small Brigg gradually changed to Smallbridge
Several late sixteenth century maps of Suffolk illustrate a park at Smallbridge, but do not make its exact location clear. The problem is compounded by the fact that Wormingford Park, which also belonged to the Waldegraves, was sometimes referred to as Smallbridge Park. A 1528 survey of Church Hall manor in Wormingford describes the land which borders Wormingford churchyard to the east as "the parke of Sir Willyam Walgrave knight called Smallbridge Parke". The lodge of this park stood upon Lodge Hill until its demolition in the Eighteenth Century. (Ref:- Leigh Alston)
1554:- William Waldegrave (Later Sir William) inherited the Manors of Wormingford and Bures from Sir Richard Waldegrave
1555 - 1561: Smallbridge Hall completely re-built by the Waldegraves. William demolished the old manor house and built an impressive new Hall with 44 hearths.
1561 Sir William entertained his Queen, Elizabeth I, for two days in August. She came from Colchester and her progress was indeed a royal one. She travelled with a dozen coaches and 300 wagons and horsemen rode before and behind her. The local gentry came on horseback, or running on foot holding onto a stirrup. They wore cockades and carried banners and sounded trumpets. In 1900 a story was told in the village "how once there came a great company to visit the squire. Men on hossback, men arunning and blowing bugles and hollering and they all had flags". They galloped over Lodge Hills and "wor a wunnerful sight". An example of village folk-lore where the name of the Queen and her noble host were forgotten and only the turmoil and banners remembered.
NOTE:-Winifred Beamont made several references in her book "The Wormingford Story" to the Queens visit with unfortunately some errors
She writes "Travelling from Colchester
in coaches" -but had the coach actually been invented?
(Courtesy of John Moore, Colchester Archaelogical Society for these corrections)
Sir Edward Waldegrave of Smallbridge
was an ardent supporter of Queen Mary and the Old Faith. In consequence
he was imprisoned (and died 1561)in the Tower by Queen Elizabeth and his
manors of Wormingford and Bures given to his nephew William Waldegrave,
1578/9: On her second visit to Suffolk, she avoided Colchester where the small pox was "very bad" and probably only came into Wormingford for a "divertisment" staged in the deer park. Tradition says she visited Church Hall and partook of cold meat and drank a flagon of ale, and was so pleased that she wrote her initials on the window with a diamond ring. There is a 16th century roundel in a window of Church Hall depicting the Tudor Rose surmounted by "E.R." and a Crown. Other houses, known to have been visited by her, have similar roundels.
1588: Sir William spent a fortune
on entertaining his Queen and another on raising and equipping 500 men
to resist the Spanish Armada "all choice men and singularly well
1600: The house is known to have had a chapel dedicated to St.Anne and it also had a gatehouse.
1650: The Lodge indicated on a local map of the area
1643 William Dowsing a parliamentary
envoy was sent upon a tour of Suffolk to purge the churches of all images
and popish symbols. He smashed his way through the county and came to
Smallbridge House where he was graciously received by the Lady Elizabeth.
But his plans to purge their private chapel were foiled by a simple ploy.
The chapel door was locked and the key lost
property stayed in the Waldegrave family until 1693 when it was sold.
18th cent:- The Lodge was demolished
during the 1700`s
1874: The house was again rebuilt and further restored by Lady Phylis Macrae, daughter of the Marchioness of Bristol in 1932.
In 1900 a story was told in the village
"how once there came a great company to visit the squire. Men on
hossback, men arunning and blowing bugles and hollering and they all had
flags". They galloped over Lodge Hills and "wor a wunnerful
During a 1961 excavation on Sandy Hill, Wormingford it revealed a Tudor Brick-Kiln. The bricks were very similar to those used at Layer Marney and Smallbridge Hall **
During the second world war, Smallbridge was briefly used as a home for evacuees from London.
NOTE:- Smallbridge Hall is private property and has no public access. However it can be seen from the lower road to Wormingford, with a public footpath running alongside the perimeter wall.
These dates are only approximations
from "The Wormingford Story" by Winifred Beaumont: and "Wormingford,
an English Village" by Winifred Beaumont and Ann Taylor ,