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HER Number (PRN):11870
Name:Ercall Hall, Ercall Magna (High Ercall)
Type of Record:Building
Protected Status:Listed Building (II*) 1187259: ERCALL HALL

Monument Types

  • MANOR HOUSE (17th century - 1608 AD to 1608 AD) + Sci.Date

Summary

A manor house, built in 1608, which is protected by Grade II* Listing.

Parish:Ercall Magna, Telford and Wrekin
Map Sheet:SJ51NE
Grid Reference:SJ 5941 1742

Related records

16928Parent of: Arcade to southeast of Ercall Hall (Building)
19910Parent of: Farm buildings adjoining SW of Ercall Hall, HIGH ERCALL (Building)
00140Parent of: High Ercall Moat (Monument)
16929Parent of: Wall to NE of Ercall Hall, HIGH ERCALL (Building)
05596Part of: Medieval manor site, High Ercall (Monument)
07769Related to: Gardens at High Ercall Hall (Monument)

Associated Finds: None recorded

Associated Events

  • ESA15 - 1991 building recording, survey and excavation at Ercall Hall by BUFAU
  • ESA6108 - 2001 investigation of Ercall Hall by Time Team

Description

Built in 1608 for Sir Francis Newport by the mason Walter Hancock who designed the Market Hall, Shrewsbury, and possibly Condover Hall. Situated on a moated site, the earthworks can be seen to the north and north-west. Large sandstone house, L-shaped on plan. The north-east front is red brick with blue brick diaper pattern axed stone dressings. Steeply-pitched tiled gabled roof. Three storeys. Five bays with 3 projecting gables, the centre gable has stone panel with inscription. Four-light stone mullion windows with cornices. Large brick chimney stacks with grouped shafts. Wing at rear built of sandstone with brick gables and stone mullion windows. Country Life 21/2/1920 <1>

Built by Sir Francis Newport between 1602 and 1620. Hall seems to have been originally 3 or 4 sides but South wing has disappeared <3>

CMHTS Record Sheet <4>
CMHTS Report <5>

Evaluation report delving into the history surrounding the construction of the 17th century hall. Notes that Walter Hancock, generally held to have been the stonemason at the hall, died in 1599, which creates a conflict with the 1608 date inscription for the hall's completion. Speculates that there may have been more than one building campaign, with Hancock perhaps associated with an earlier one prior to the eventual completion of the hall. It may be that the association of Hancock with the hall is erroneous. The first concrete documentary evidence of building work taking place occurs Sir Francis Newport's first will, dated 1604: this mentions building materials and implements on site, implying that building operations were at that point far from complete. There is a further issue with the 1608 date, in that its source, an inscribed plaque on the central gable of the northeast elevation, may originally have been sited on another part of the building, possibly not the main building. There are therefore still questions to be resolved with regard to the hall's dating; further inconsistencies in the work of architectural historians relating to subsequent building activities are also mentioned. Similarly, assertions that the hall was originally based around a courtyard cannot be backed up by documentary evidence. ->

-> Orders that the house be kept in good repair, together with the pales of the park, were issued in 1639, shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War. However, Sir Richard Newport, the son of Sir Francis, joined the Royalist cause in 1643, and the hall formed an important Royalist garrison for most of the Civil War, one of a series of manor houses providing intermediate cover and support to the garrisons at Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth and Ludlow. As a result of this, the fortifications were strengthened, with the moat probably being deepened and a drawbridge perhaps constructed; there may also have been defensive watchtowers. High Ercall fell to Parliament in 1646 after a protracted siege and bombardment. The fortifications were subsequently slighted and, though instructions were given not to demolish the house, contemporary sources make it clear that a great deal of damage had been done to it during the fighting. Sir Richard Newport's will of 1651 describes it as ruined, but it seems to have been habitable, as two probable tenants are mentioned in documents of about the same date: from this period onwards, however, it is best seen as a working farmhouse rather than a hall. ->

-> Several illustrations of the hall in the 18th and 19th century exist. They show a number of interesting features, but may not be completely reliable. The illustrations suggest that the roof was originally tiled with large slates, quite possibly the local Harnage slate, rather than small clay tiles. Since fragments of slate tiles are found throughout the building where levels have been adjusted, this is highly plausible. There is also some evidence of a further programme of building work at some point prior to 1868; an 1883 pamphlet about the nearby coin hoard find (PRN 02832) mentions a restoration some twenty years earlier. ->

-> As part of this evaluation, the hall's main southern elevations were surveyed and recorded in detail, and some recording work was also undertaken on other elevations; there was also limited examination of the interior. The building surveyors concluded that there was no doubt that the present Hall is only a remnant of the original structure, with the most likely original plan being H-shaped, and clear vertical breaks in the existing building show that it is indeed of two builds. There are obvious scars of a former building on the elevations examined, but these are not of sufficient scale to represent a lost wing. Instead, they are likely to represent the marks of former agricultural buildings, as this end of the house has been greatly modified to cater for agricultural use at some point in its life as a farmhouse (as evidenced by now-blocked loading bays and a cart door). Internally, the roof space of the building is massive and it may have been used not only for accommodation of servant but for storage and processing (it may even have had a role in the local dyeing industry). Further, more detailed, recording work is recommended by the report <6>

Dendrochronological samples of roof timbers taken as part of a Time Team investigation confirmed the likelihood of two building phases. One set of timbers was felled in spring 1595, and another in 1608 <7>

The 17th century hall is shown in relation to the old hall and post medieval farm buildings on John Rocque's 1746 survey of the manor of High Ercall (<8>) <9>

In June 2001 Time Team carried out an investigation at Ercall Hall. The excavation confirmed the site of the demolished mansion in front of the extant High Ercall Hall, although the ground plan still remains uncertain. <15>

Several questions remain unanswered regarding this complex building. It is reasonably certain that a large house of 1617-20, the property of Sir Francis Newport, was demolished after the civil war (when High Ercall was an important royalist garrison), although some fragments of it survive. The present house is a substantial L-shaped stone-built structure, with three projecting brick-built gable wings on the north side. One of these bears a datestone of 1608, recording the builder as Sir Francis Newport. Internally, the roofs have principal rafter trusses with straight soulaces and ashlars, with the exception of the western end of the north range which is intersected by the roofs of the west range and the western north front gable. Here a lack of wall plates necessitated using three upper-cruck trusses, continuing the same roof line internally. Felling dates of 1607/8 were obtained by dendrochronology, from both ranges. These are consistent with the 1608 datestone, although the brickwork to the walls below show a more complicated building chronology. Dating funded by Channel 4 as part of a Time-Team programme. <16><16a>

Sources

[00]SSA20722 - Card index: Shropshire County Council SMR. Site and Monuments Record (SMR) cards. SMR record cards. SMR Card for PRN SA 11870.
[01]SSA662 - List of Buildings: Department of the Environment (DoE). 1983-Apr-08. 19th List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Vol 1126-0. List volume. p82.
[02]SSA13452 - Photograph: Anon. 1980. Padmore, Upper Walton, Onibury. Colour.
[03]SSA11525 - Article in serial: Anon. 1928. High Ercall Church and Hall. Archaeol J. Vol 85. p223.
[04]SSA19967 - Record form: Buteux Victoria. 1993/ 1996. CMHTS SMR Records Shropshire: Ellesmere and High Ercall. Central Marches Historic Towns Survey record form. Vol 4. High Ercall 11870.
[05]SSA12071 - Historic landscape survey report: Buteux Victoria et al. 1996. Archaeological Assessment of High Ercall, Shropshire (CMHTS). Hereford & Worcester CAS Rep. Rep 314.
[06]SSA674 - Archaeological fieldwork report: Ferris Iain & Litherland Steve J. 1991. Archaeological work at Ercall Hall, High Ercall, Shropshire, in 1991. BUFAU Rep. 171.
[07]SSA22898 - Webpage: Time Team. Time Team webpages. See associated files for address. higherc_dig.html, 22/05/2007.
[08]SSA22899 - Map: Rocque J. 1746. Survey of the Manor of High Ercall.
[09]SSA20777 - Watching brief report: Hannaford Hugh R. 2002. A Watching Brief at High Ercall, Telford and Wrekin. SCCAS Rep. 210.
[10]SSA110 - Monograph: Pevsner Nikolaus. 1958. Buildings of England (Shropshire). Buildings of England. p149.
[11]SSA2766 - Article in serial: Forrest H E. 1918/ 1919. Article in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 4, Vol VII (=Vol 40). p139-144.
[12]SSA23172 - Article in serial: 1920. Article in Country Life. Country Life. 21/2/1920.
[13]SSA2766 - Article in serial: Forrest H E. 1918/ 1919. Article in the Transactions of the Shropshire Archaeological and Historical Society. Trans Shropshire Archaeol Hist Soc. Ser 4, Vol VII (=Vol 40). 139 & Ill.
[14]SSA23169 - Publication: 1868. Castles & Old Mansions of Shropshire. Ill 98 ?.
[15]SSA23077 - Archaeological fieldwork report: Time Team. 2001. High Ercall Hall, a civil war garrison, Shropshire: an archaeological evaluation. Time Team Series.
[16]SSA27695 - Online database: Worthington M. 2011. Oxford Tree-Ring Laboratory List of Dated Buildings (Shropshire).
[16a]SSA29391 - Online database: Miles D W H and Bridge M. 2017. Oxford Dendrochronology Laboratory (Shropshire). pp.31, 32.
[17]SSA28143 - Article in serial: Miles D W H and Worthington M. 2002. List 128: Shropshire Dendrochronology Project - phase nine. Vernacular Architect. Vol 33.1. pp.94-99. p.98.
[18]SSA2150 - Monograph: Alcock N W. 1981. Cruck Construction: An Introduction and Catalogue. CBA Research Reports. 42. pg145.
Date Last Edited:Jul 12 2017 1:20PM