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Historic England Research Records

New Hall

Hob Uid: 378691
Location :
Essex
Chelmsford
Boreham
Grid Ref : TL7339910274
Summary : New Hall, now a Catholic School, was acquired by Henry VIII in 1516. He bought the medieval house from Sir Thomas Boelyn and ordered construction of the royal palace just one month before the birth of his first child, Princess Mary. He renamed it Beaulieu Palace, however the name never outlived his reign. The quadrangular palace Henry built was one of his biggest works. In 1523 a garden was laid out at New Hall which in 1530 was referred to as the 'great garden of Beaulieu'. Between 1737 and 1764 New Hall underwent substantial demolition which included the hall and chapel. In 1798 it was purchased by the Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre for conversion to a convent and school and continues as such to this day. The building was bombed in 1943 and was subsequently repaired. The building was also extensively added to and altered in the 20th century. The only surviving fabric of the palace built by Henry VIII consists of part of the wall at the east end of the house and a carved stone panel.The present building is of red brick and consists of a long range, formerly the north side of the quadrangle, with smaller wings at each end and a small courtyard on the east side with 18th century ranges on the east and south. In 2009 a three day archaeological excavation carried out by Time Team exposed remains of what is considered to have been Princess Mary's nursery wing, as well as an imposing gatehouse and the chapel.
More information : (TL 734103) New Hall (NR) (Convent) (NAT) (1)

The north wing of New Hall is the only surviving part of a great quadrangular Palace built by Henry VIII soon after 1518 called Beaulieu. He re-built or enlarged an existing house which was already an important building and made it a magnificent residence. In 1737 John Olmins demolished all but the north and adjoining parts of the east and west wings and remodelled the whole thing into "a gentleman's residence". The Canonesses of the Holy Sepulchre acquired it in 1798 and it still remains their convent and school today. It was extensively damaged in 1943 and has had alterations and additions. What exists today is chiefly the splendid south facade of the north wing of the 1573 house. (2-4)

The present building is of red brick and consists of a long range, formerly the north side of the quadrangle, with smaller wings at each end and a small courtyard on the east side with 18th century ranges on the east and south. The south front of the long range has 7 half octagonal 2 storeyed bays each with stone mullioned and transomed windows with 24 lights in the upper storey and 16 in the ground storey windows. A parapet with a stone modillion cornice and a moulded stringcourse continues round each bay. In the centre and between the bays there is a small stone pilaster rising from the stringcourse and surmounted by a square pier with a ball finial. The central bay has a Tudor arched doorway in a stone Roman Doric doorcase with plain columns, triglyph frieze with ornamented metope, cornice and a carved coat of arms in a panel framed by pilasters, frieze and cornice. For full details, please see the listed building description. (4)

The remains of the 16th century mansion of Beaulieu (now called New Hall, a convent school) is generally as described by authorities 2 and 3. The remaining south facade of the north wing, partly restored in style after 1945 bomb damage, is outstanding. No architectural features of the original chapel are visible, though the probable site lay on the west side of the north wing.
Published survey (25") correct. (5-6)

TL 73351035. Excavations for a new classroom block at New Hall Convent School revealed an octagonal brick-built subterranean cistern which acted as a water supply point for the Henrician palace. Externally the cistern was square with an octagonal man-hole chamber on the NW corner, and a circular well with a surviving bored tree-truck pipe for a pump at surface level at the NE corner. (7)

Henry VIII purchased New Hall from Sir Thomas Boleyn in 1516, and the resulting palace was one of Henry's largest works. In 1521, £16000 was advanced for the construction programme, and the total cost of the work was circa £17000. Henry renamed the manor house Beaulieu. In 1737-64, much of the house was demolished to make it a more manageable property. Little now remains of the original house. The only surviving fabric consists of the lower part of the wall at the east end of the house and a carved stone panel.

The name 'Beaulieu Palace' was never really used as its common name and was rarely used after Henry's death. In 1573 Elizabeth I granted the house to Thomas Radcliffe, Earl of Sussex. Between 1737 and 1764, the owner, Lord Waltham, ordered the demolition of much of the house, including the hall and chapel as it was simply too large for the owner. (8)

In 1523 John Ryman a garden was laid out at New Hall which in 1530 was referred to as the 'great garden of Beaulie' . For a more detailed description of the gardens at New Hall see its description in the Parks and Gardens register. (9)

An earlier incarnation of the building was home to Thomas, earl of Ormonde, who had been granted a licence to crenellate in 1491. (9-11)

Beaulieu Palace was the first palace Henry VIII ever built. A month before the birth of his first child, Princess Mary, Henry ordered that construction begin on the palace. This was in 1516, just seven years into his reign.

In 2009 a three day archaeological excavation carried out by Time Team, what is considered to have been Princess Mary's nursery wing was uncovered, as well as a section of the gatehouse. From the archaeological evidence, the gatehouse appears to have been an imposing structure and would have made an impressive impact. (12)

This is an evaluation comprising geophysical survey and trial trenching revealed structural evidence for Beaulieu Palace, including the Gatehouse, 'Nursery Floor' and Chapel. This report was produced as part of Time Team's excavations. (13)

This is an additional reference. (14)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : OS 6" 1967
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Essex
Source details :
Page(s) : 94-95
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Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : Greater Medieval Houses of England and Wales 1300-1500, Volume II: East Anglia, Central England and Wales
Source details :
Page(s) : 166
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : World Wide Web page
Source details : Time Team. 2009. Beaulieu Palace, Channel 4 [accessed 02-OCT-2009]
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 13
Source : Geophysical Surveys of Bradford/Reports
Source details : GSB/2008/Geophysical survey report: Beaulieu Place, Chelmsford, Time Team, 2008
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Source Number : 14
Source : The royal palaces of Tudor England : architecture and court life
Source details :
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Source Number : 3
Source : An inventory of the historical monuments in Essex. Volume II: [central and south-west]
Source details :
Page(s) : 24-26
Figs. :
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest
Source details : Chelmsford District
Page(s) : 08-Sep
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 PAS 21.11.75
Page(s) :
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Source Number : 6
Source : Field report on TL 71 SW 12 - 21-NOV-1975
Source details :
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Source Number : 7
Source : Post-medieval archaeology : the journal of the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology
Source details :
Page(s) : 193-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 17, 1983
Source Number : 8
Source : The history of the King's Works, volume 4 : 1485-1660 (Part 2)
Source details :
Page(s) : 172-5
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Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : Register of parks and gardens of special historic interest in England
Source details : Essex
Page(s) :
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Plates :
Vol(s) : Part 15
Source Number : 10
Source : Essex Review
Source details : See red box parish file for offprint of these articles: "New Hall, Boreham, 1062-1799"
Page(s) : 57-66, 121-132
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : XVII, APRIL AND JULY 1908

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Constructed prior to 1491
Monument End Date : 1491
Monument Start Date : 1022
Monument Type : Manor House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence, Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Granted licence to crenellate 1491
Monument End Date : 1491
Monument Start Date : 1491
Monument Type : Fortified Manor House
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Renovated into palace from 1516
Monument End Date : 1516
Monument Start Date : 1516
Monument Type : Royal Palace, Royal Chapel, Gatehouse, Great Hall
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Garden laid out 1523
Monument End Date : 1523
Monument Start Date : 1523
Monument Type : Garden
Evidence : Documentary Evidence
Monument Period Name : Tudor
Display Date : Altered post-1573
Monument End Date : 1573
Monument Start Date : 1573
Monument Type : Great House
Evidence : Demolished Building
Monument Period Name : Georgian
Display Date : Partly demolished 1737-1764
Monument End Date : 1764
Monument Start Date : 1737
Monument Type : Great House
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Georgian
Display Date : Change of use 1798
Monument End Date : 1798
Monument Start Date : 1798
Monument Type : Roman Catholic Nunnery, School
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : C20 additions and alterations
Monument End Date : 1999
Monument Start Date : 1900
Monument Type : Roman Catholic Nunnery, School
Evidence : Extant Building
Monument Period Name : Mid 20th Century
Display Date : Bomb damaged 1943
Monument End Date : 1943
Monument Start Date : 1943
Monument Type : Roman Catholic Nunnery, School
Evidence : Extant Building

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Listed Building List Entry Legacy Uid
External Cross Reference Number : 112445
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Essex)
External Cross Reference Number : 6041
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Essex)
External Cross Reference Number : 6040
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (Essex)
External Cross Reference Number : 30269
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : NBR Index Number
External Cross Reference Number : 111046
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TL 71 SW 12
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 541498
Relationship type :

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : BEAULIEU PALACE (TIME TEAM)
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT NEW HALL SCHOOL
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : GREATER BEAULIEU PARK
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2008-12-31
Associated Activities : NEW HALL SCHOOL (TIME TEAM)
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2009-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : LAND AT NEW HALL SCHOOL
Activity type : EVALUATION
Start Date : 2011-01-01
End Date : 2011-12-31