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Our History

Pitchford Hall is Grade I listed and one of England's finest Elizabethan half timbered houses. The first record of the estate is in the Domesday Book (1081 - 86) and "Piceforde" is described as follows:
Pitchford Hall has a long and largely peaceful history, having passed between many owners in its time and seen many alterations and renovations. Royalty have been infrequent guests, sometimes on pleasant vacations and sometimes on more urgent business. Boasting architectural oddities, wandering cigar-smoking ghosts and the weight of centuries, there's plenty to discover on the Pitchford Estate
Pitchford derives its name from a naturally occurring pitch, or bitumen, well by the Row Brook within the grounds and is one of the few such wells in the country. The bitumen was used for waterproofing and protecting the exposed timbers of the house. Opposite the pitch well is a ford across the Row, hence Pitchford.
Historical records relate that a mediaeval manor house existed somewhere on the site from at least 1284 to 1431 and it is possible that portions of the earlier house may survive within the fabric of the west wing. Soon after the three wings were completed a garderobe tower was added to the north east corner, overlooking the brook and rolling parkland. Many of the 16th century arrangements have been altered by successive waves of taste and need, with the exception of the drawing room where the paneling and ceiling are amongst the finest of their type and date back to 1626.
Pitchford Hall is Grade I listed and one of England's finest Elizabethan half timbered houses. The hall is mentioned in the Domesday book from 1086, and is believed to date to well before the Norman conquest.
Joe Smith, December 15th 2016.

The Hall's History

There has been a manor house on the estate since at least 1086, although it's likely that older estates were present on the site well before that. A section of the Watling Street runs through the estate, an ancient trackway that runs from the Kentish ports through Canterbury, London, St Albans and all the way to Wroxeter on the Welsh border. The Romans paved the route and used it to connect Dubris (Dover) Rutupaie (Richborough) Lemanis (Lympne) and Regulbium (Reculver) to their bridge over the Thames at Londinium.

In 1284, the house was recorded as being in the possession of the De Pykeford family, with the Crusader Geoffrey De Pykford recorded as Lord of the Manor in 1272. he built the Church of St Michael which stands near the manor today, and contains an oak statue of him. The De Pykfords had to sell the estate to the church in 1330 to pay debts.
In 1473 one Thomas Ottley bought the Manor of Pitchford, with his descendent Adam Ottley, a wool merchant, building the building that stands today, possibly as an extension of a much larger manor.

A True English Stately Home

The Estate contained a deer park from 1638 to 1790. Depictions of the house from 1778 show the distinctive timber-framed construction but a radically different layout, with a small river bridge and a less extensive layout.
In 1807, the estate passed from the Otley family to the Hon. Charles C.C. Jenkinson, second son of the first Earl of Liverpool. In 1832 Queen Victoria, then a Princess, visited the hall by invitation from the owner, the 3rd Earl of Liverpool. Her Majesty described the hall as 'A curious looking but very comfortable house. It is striped black and white and in the shape of a cottage.' The Princess watched the local hunt from the hall's treehouse.
The Hon. Jenkinson had the building extended and extensively rebuilt in the 1870s and 1880s by the architect George Devey, installing replacement windows, baths and water closets and extending the building extensively. His son-in-law John Cotes inherited the hall, passing it on to his son Charles Cotes, who then died unmarried in 1918 whereupon the hall passed to his brother-in-law Lieutenant-General Sir Robert Grant.

A Royal Refuge

Some time after the Dissolution of the Monasteries (during the reign of Henry VIII) and when Roman Catholics were being persecuted for their religious beliefs, a Priest's Hole was installed in the house. It is believed to have been used at various points in the house's history.

During the Second World War, the Hall was one of the pre-prepared bolt holes to be used by the Royal Family in the event of a Nazi invasion of London, with a special unit of the Household Cavalry, the Coats Mission, assigned to aid their dramatic escape from the capital.

Shuttering and Restoration

In 1992, the Colthurst family were forced to sell Pitchford Hall once again thanks to financial difficulties. The Colthursts cleared the property and auctioned off much of the furniture before moving out. The original plan was to offer the house to English Heritage, but the plan was scuppered as the house was of 'Insufficient national importance'. The National Trust were unable to find an endowment for the house, which was on sale for £1.8 million, and as such the house was auctioned and sold to a buyer who bought it for the stable block and left the house shuttered. For the next 25 years Pitchford Hall was left empty, gradually decaying and visited infrequently by urban explorers and trespassers.
In 2016, Rowena Colthurst and James Nason, owners of the estate, managed to raise the funds to buy back the Hall and re-open it. The west wing, also known as the General's Quarters, is now open for letting, but other sections of the house remain in a dilapidated state. A crowdfunding campaign is underway to try to restore these areas.
Ghosts of Pitchford

Ghosts of Pitchford

Stately homes always need a good ghost story, and Pitchford Hall is no exception. From Cavaliers wandering the gardens to mysterious whiffs of pipe-tobacco smoke, learn more about Pitchford's spiritual past.
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Make a difference

Large sections of Pitchford Hall are currently in disrepair after 25 years of neglect. The Estates owners are crowdfunding a restoration effort. Contribute today and help preserve this important heritage building for generations to come.

Windy Mundy Farm
Windy Mundy Farm was a threshing barn in the 18th century, and has now been converted to a 16-bed holiday cottage with luxurious rooms and a large brick-pillared sitting room. It’s available for rent year-round.
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Tree House
This is one of the world’s oldest treehouses, built in the 17th century by the architect Thomas Farnolls Pritchard. Once it was grey and covered in stonework-effect cladding to look like a little watchtower. More modern restorations have removed this so it matches the house.
Tree House Barn
The Tree House barn, the smallest of the Estate’s holiday properties. Recently converted, the barn sleeps four in two double beds and two singles, with access to the estate grounds and the treehouse. For more details, see below.
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Visiting the Treehouse and the Hall

Visiting the Treehouse and the Hall

Take a walk to see the Pitchford Tree House - the oldest tree house in the world via Tree House Barn and then have a look around the gardens of the Grade I listed Pitchford Hall, widely considered one of the finest half timbered buildings in the UK. Access into Pitchford Hall itself can be organised through the Estate.
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A servant's staircase in the Hall
An abandoned newspaper.
Hall restoration
Exterior shot of the Hall