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HER Number MWB3333
Record Type Monument
Name Site of Hamstead Marshall Mansion House

Grid Reference SU 419 666
Map Sheet SU46NW
Parish Hamstead Marshall, West Berkshire
Map:Show location on Streetmap


Cropmark remains of late 17th century mansion, probably built on the site of an earlier manor house; burnt down in 1718, although later rebuilding may have occurred

Associated Legal Designations or Protected Status

  • SHINE: Below ground remains of the late 17th century Hamstead Marshall mansion, probably built on the site of an earlier manor house but burnt down in 1718

Other Statuses and Cross-References

  • Berkshire SMR No. (pre 2000): 01342.01.000
  • National Monuments Record No.: SU 46 NW 12
    SU 4194 6665 (

Monument Type(s):

  • MANOR HOUSE? (Elizabethan to 17th century - 1586 AD to 1661 AD? (pre))
  • COUNTRY HOUSE (17th century to 18th century - 1661 AD? to 1718 AD)

Full Description

Gray provides a version of the history of Hamstead Marshall's large 17th century mansion, and the later Hamstead Lodge: "(In 1662) the house built by Sir Thomas Parry having been pulled down, Sir Balthazer Gerbier began a stately pile of building for (the Earl of Craven) at Hamstead Marshall, which was finished in 1665. The house was almost wholly destroyed by fire in 1718.. Sir Balthazer Gerbier.. died at Hamstead Marshall while on a visit, in 1667, and lies buried in the parish church. The present mansion was erected by the late earl of Craven, merely as a shooting lodge, and has been from time to time subsequently enlarged." <1>

The mansion was linked to Elizabeth Stuart of Bohemia, sister of Charles I, in that it was suggested that William Craven, the first earl, built it with 'the Winter Queen' in mind <2>, and that they might even have secretly married <3>. However, work at Hamstead can hardly have started when the queen died in 1662. The original Dutch architect Gerbier, also seems to have died, perhaps in the early 1660s <4>, before the house was completed, and documents in the Bodleian library indicate that work was continuing on the house, outbuildings and gateways for 20-30 years <5>. Kip's engraving <6> shows a house of three storeys with attics, U-shaped in plan, set amidst formal gardens (MWB6291).

It is generally assumed (eg, by Lysons <7>) that Craven built this house on the site of the manor house erected by an earlier estate owner, Sir Thomas Parry (1558-1616). Parry's house was mentioned by Camden in c1586 <8>; the VCH even think a reconstruction may have occurred in about 1620 <4>. Stokes has drawn together evidence suggesting that Craven's mansion looks like a 'dual construction of much earlier lower floors topped by later work' <3>; in particular, Hill and Cornforth saw Jacobean styles in the windows of the lower storeys <9>.

It is not known how much time the Earl of Craven spent at his mansion; it was only one of many he owned <10>. However, in the era of the third baron, the mansion was burned to the ground. It seems that work started on rebuilding under the architect James Gibb, but stopped on the baron's death in 1739 <3><22>. However, some kind of building is still marked in this location on Rocque's map <11> and on an estate survey of 1775 <12>, although it is uncertain what this was used for. By the beginning of the 19th century, the shift to living at Hamstead Lodge (MWB15941) had occurred.

The site of the former mansion(s) can detected by a pronounced hollow, probably reflecting the former presence of cellars <13>. Aerial photographs, and to a lesser extent geophysical survey <14>, have also given a clear indication of the accuracy of Kip's drawing. The GIS polygon is a representation of the courtyard layout of the house (one side being open), although the First Edition Ordnance Survey map <15> plots a point to the south of this location. The Berkshire National Mapping Programme produced a transcription of the garden layout <17>.

Sources and further reading

<01>Gray, E W (ed)?. pre 1839. The History and Antiquities of Newbury and its Environs. P297. [Monograph / SWB11182]
https://archive.org/details/historyandantiq00unkngoog (Accessed 16/07/2019)
<02>Newbury District Field Club. 1875-86. TRANS NEWBURY DISTRICT FIELD CLUB 1875-86 VOL 3. pp105-115 The Manor of Hamstead Marshall and its Historical Associations by W Money. [Article in serial / SWB11187]
<03>Stokes, P. 1996. Craven Country - The story of Hamstead Marshall. p30-35, 44-51. [Monograph / SWB14044]
<03>Stokes, P. 2000?. Hamstead Marshall - Gazetteer. http://www.hamsteadmarshall.net/index.htm. [Website / SWB148950]
http://www.hamsteadmarshall.net/gazetteer.pdf (Accessed 23/01/2019)
<04>Page and Ditchfield (eds). 1924. Victoria County History (VCH) Berks IV 1924. Vol 4. p179 Illust, 183 note 9. [Monograph / SWB10281]
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/vch/berks/vol4 (Accessed 24/09/2015)
<05>Gerbrei, B (Sir) & Winde, W. 1897. Plans of Hamstead Marshall. BODLEIAN 17592. [Graphic material / SWB13094]
<06>Kyp (or Kyp), J. c1709. Engraving of Hamstead Marshall, seat of Lord Craven. [Graphic material / SWB146721]
<07>Lysons, D & S. 1813. Magna Britannia I. [Monograph / SWB10284]
https://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/book/lookupname?key=Lysons%2C%20Samuel%2C%201763%2D1819 (Accessed on 08/01/2021)
<08>Camden, W. 1586 & later. CAMDEN'S BRITANNIA. 1. [Monograph / SWB11822]
<09>Hill, O and Cornforth, J. 1966. English Country Houses: Caroline 1625-1686. [Unpublished document / SWB146723]
<10>unknown. mid-1700s. Title deeds of properties belonging to Lord Craven. BODLEIAN 29470. [Unpublished document / SWB13095]
<11>Rocque, J. 1761. Rocque's Map of Berkshire. 1:35,000 (approx). [Map / SWB7242]
https://www.rct.uk/collection/search/3/collection/700042/rocques-map-of-berkshire (Accessed 20/07/2020)
<12>1775. A Map of the Manor of Hamstead Marshall, Holt, etc. [Map / SWB146724]
<13>Keevill, Graham D, and Linford, Neil. 1998?. Landscape with Gardens: Aerial, Topographical and Geophysical Survey at Hamstead Marshall, Berkshire. [Article in monograph / SWB12805]
<14>Linford, N T. 1997. Hamstead Marshall, Berkshire - Report on Geophysical Surveys, 1996. 2018 pdf online. [Unpublished document / SWB13940]
http://www.eng-h.gov.uk/reports/hamstead_marshall/ (Report on line)
<15>Landmark. 1872-85. Digital Ordnance Survey Mapping Epoch 1, 1:2500. Digital. 1:2500. [Map / SWB14341]
<16>Pevsner, N. 1966. The Buildings of England (Berkshire). p152. [Monograph / SWB10024]
<17>RCHME. Berkshire - National Mapping Programme. Carolyn Dyer/27-NOV-1996/RCHME: Berkshire NMP. [Unpublished document / SWB146801]
<18>Dils, J (ed). 1998. An Historical Atlas of Berkshire. p60-1 Country houses c1500- c1750 by Geoffrey Tyack. [Monograph / SWB13916]
<19>Colvin, H. History of the King's Works. Vol 2, p955-6. [Monograph / SWB12804]
<20>15/10/1982. CUCCPS10-13. [Photograph / SWB3719]
<21>Ordnance Survey. 1960s-70s. Ordnance Survey Field Investigators Comments. F1 GHP 09-OCT-63. [Personal observation / SWB14640]
<22>Tyack, G, Bradley, S and Pevsner, N. 2010. The Buildings of England (Berkshire). p321. [Monograph / SWB147855]
<23>Historic England (previously English Heritage). 1987. Register of Parks and Gardens of special historic interest in England. Hamstead Marshall Park. [Unpublished document / SWB12616]
<24>Dils, J and Yates, M (ed). 2012. An Historical Atlas of Berkshire (2nd Edition). p76-77, Country houses before 1750 by Geoffrey Tyack. [Monograph / SWB148708]

Related Monuments

MWB15940Morewood House (formerly Ivy House), Hamstead Marshall (Building)
MWB3335Walls around gardens at former mansion, Hamstead Marshall (Monument)
MWB6291Hamstead Marshall Gardens (Monument)
MWB3339Hamstead Marshall deserted medieval settlement (Monument)
MWB15941Hamstead Park (formerly Hamstead Lodge), Hamstead Marshall (Building)

Associated Excavations and Fieldwork

EWB584Hamstead Marshall, Berkshire - Report on Geophysical Surveys, 1996 (Ref: Ancs Mons Lab Report 2/97)
EWB885Berkshire - National Mapping Programme (Ref: 1064614)
EWB1241Gate Piers at Hamstead Marshall - Report and Condition Survey
EWB1453East Gate Cottage, Craven Hill, Hamstead Marshall, West Berkshire - An Archaeological Watching Brief (Ref: Site Code EGC11/42)