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HHER Number:6563
Type of record:Monument


Grand Tudor courtyard house built using materials from the Castle; only fragments survive

Grid Reference:SP 990 087
Map Sheet:SP90NE
Parish:Berkhamsted, Dacorum, Hertfordshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap

Monument Types

  • COUNTRY HOUSE (Post Medieval - 1501 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status

  • Listed Building (II*) 7/42
  • Listed Building (II*) 355425: ASH
  • Listed Building (II) 355426: PEAR TREE COTTAGE AND THE KEEP

Full description

In 1580 the manor of Berkhamsted was leased to Sir Edward Carey, who built himself a Tudor mansion on higher ground north-west of the Castle using flint and stone from the Castle itself. In 1610 it was acquired by Henry, Prince of Wales, and was sequestrated during the Civil War (and described in a survey in 1650). In plan, the Tudor building comprised a central courtyard with substantial masonry ranges around it; its total size was c.30m square. Berkhamsted Place, and probably Gorhambury, were 'the only courtyard houses conceived as such and built on unencumbered sites'; other grand 16th century courtyard houses in Herts were all the product of gradual growth <4>.
The building was badly damaged by fire in 1661 and cut down (by John Sayer) to a half-H plan shortly after, less than half its former size; all the important rooms were now in the wings <4>. Most of it was demolished in 1967 <1, 3>; 'a fragment of the 16th century NW flint and stone chequer front survives, near the house called Ash, which itself may be of medieval origin. Some other outbuildings and cottages remain (Old Steading (and The Keep)) and the ruin of a flint and stone gateway. The rest of the grounds were built up in the 1960s' <6>. The cellars also survive.
An approximate plan of the demolished courtyard building was recovered in 1983 <2>, but not tied in to the surrounding topography.

HCC Planning Dept, 1979-82, Historic parklands and gardens in Hertfordshire; record sheets & supplementary material (Unpublished document). SHT8294.

<1> RCHM (England), 1911, Inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire, - p98 (Bibliographic reference). SHT9222.

<2> Thompson, Alex, & Holland, Eric, 1984, Berkhamsted Place; Herts Past 17 (autumn 1984), 24-9 (Article in serial). SHT580.

<3> Listed Buildings description (Digital archive). SHT6690.

<4> Smith, J T, 1992, English houses 1200-1800: the Hertfordshire evidence, - p48-9, 71-2 (Bibliographic reference). SHT16661.

<5> Pevsner, N, 1953, Buildings of England: Hertfordshire, - p61 (Bibliographic reference). SHT8770.

<6> Pevsner, N, & Cherry, B, 1977, Buildings of England: Hertfordshire (2nd edition), - p100 (Bibliographic reference). SHT7257.

<7> Smith, J T, 1993, Hertfordshire houses: selective inventory (Bibliographic reference). SHT16660.

Sources and further reading

---Unpublished document: HCC Planning Dept. 1979-82. Historic parklands and gardens in Hertfordshire; record sheets & supplementary material.
<1>Bibliographic reference: RCHM (England). 1911. Inventory of the historical monuments in Hertfordshire. - p98.
<2>Article in serial: Thompson, Alex, & Holland, Eric. 1984. Berkhamsted Place; Herts Past 17 (autumn 1984), 24-9.
<3>Digital archive: Listed Buildings description.
<4>Bibliographic reference: Smith, J T. 1992. English houses 1200-1800: the Hertfordshire evidence. - p48-9, 71-2.
<5>Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N. 1953. Buildings of England: Hertfordshire. - p61.
<6>Bibliographic reference: Pevsner, N, & Cherry, B. 1977. Buildings of England: Hertfordshire (2nd edition). - p100.
<7>Bibliographic reference: Smith, J T. 1993. Hertfordshire houses: selective inventory.