Mount Bures Community Web Site






Although not strictly in Bures or Mount Bures this is a very intriguing tale.
For many years a story has been told of land in Wormingford being the site of a
Roman Villa or Medieval Hunting Lodge.

Until recently this was thought to be nothing more than a village tale, possibly
on land owned by the Waldegrave Family.

Background History to Smallbridge Hall which was owned by the Waldegrave family.

14 cent: The property we know today as Smallbridge Hall was constructed during this period of time.
The Ref (a) below indicates it must have been around 1375 or even much earlier.

Ref (a)
Having lived at Smallbridge since 1375, the Waldegrave family sold the debt-encumbered estate in 1705, and while it remained a gentleman's residence until 1750, by 1800 the Hall was occupied by a tenant farmer.
(ref Leigh Alston)

Ref (b)
In 1385 Overhall and Netherhall were held by Sir Richard Waldegrave through his wife's inheritance, and were managed together with the manors of Smallbridge................................

(ref Leigh Alston)

Ref (b)
James Butler, Earl of Ormond, a staunch Lancastrian, was executed in 1461 after the Battle of Mortimer's Cross, and the two manors of Nether Hall & Over Hall passed for a short time to Anne Woodville, the sister of Edward IVth's Queen, before being granted to the Waldegraves of Smallbridge.
(ref Leigh Alston)

Extracts from "The Wormingford Story" by Winifred Beaumont:
"Wormingford, an English Village" by Winifred Beaumont and Ann Taylor ,

1523: Sir William Waldegrave 1 transformed the gentle slopes of Wormingford into a deer park and connected it to his grand red brick house by a bridge across the Stour. From that time the name Small Brigg gradually changed to Smallbridge House.

1555: Smallbridge House completely re-built by the Waldegraves.

1561: Sir William entertained his Queen, Elizabeth 1 for two days in August.
Coming from Colchester, her progress was indeed a royal one. She travelled with a dozen coaches, 300 baggage carts; foot soldiers ran behind, and the local gentry followed on horseback. It left William £250 poorer having to entertain not only the Queen but her entourage, at that time this was an enormous sum of money.
The placing of the cavalcade on Lodge Hills is interesting for house, road and bridge had disappeared long before the storyteller was born.
We know for certain the Queen visited Smallbridge, but the story of the Hunting Lodge could possibly be an example of embellished village tale.

1578-9: On her second visit to Suffolk, she avoided Colchester where the small pox was "very bad" and probably only came into Wormingford for a "divertisment" staged in the deer park. Tradition says she visited Church Hall and partook of cold meat and drank a flagon of ale, and was so pleased that she wrote her initials on the window with a diamond ring. There is a 16th century roundel in a window of Church Hall depicting the Tudor Rose surmounted by "E.R." and a Crown. Other houses, known to have been visited by her, have similar roundels.

1588: Sir William spent a fortune on entertaining his Queen and another on raising and equipping 500 men to resist the Spanish Armada "all choice men and singularly well furnished".
Nichols, a member of the Royal household, travelled with the Queen and kept a journal of her journeys. He described in detail the grand houses visited and the wonderful entertainment's they provided but only made a sparse report on her visits to Smallbridge, over a sour footnote: Sir Edward Waldegrave was eventually held in the Tower of London for Treason

1600: The house is known to have had a chapel dedicated to St. Anne and it also had a gatehouse.

Circa 1648:- The lodge was given to Giles Barnadiston (from Clare) by his mother-in-law Lady Jemmima Waldegrave (wife of Wiliiam).
Giles was a Parlimentarian and was imprisoned in Colchester Castle by the Royalists.

1650: The Lodge indicated on a local map of the area

1693:The property stayed in the Waldegrave family until 1693 when it was sold.

18th cent:- The Lodge was demolition during the 1700`s
(ref Leigh Alston)

1874: The house was again rebuilt and further restored by Lady Phylis Macrae, daughter of the Marchioness of Bristol in 1932.

In 1900 a story was told in the village "how once there came a great company to visit the squire. Men on hossback, men arunning and blowing bugles and hollering and they all had flags". They galloped over Lodge Hills and "wor a wunnerful sight".
A classic example of village folk-lore where the name of th
e Queen and her noble host were forgotten and only the turmoil and banners remembered


During 2006, a local landowner reported that her Ferreter had discovered what appeared to be "foundations" while he was digging out one of his trapped ferrets whils`t rabbeting.

Colchester Archaeological Group were invited to investigate this anomaly.

North facing boundary wall
Corner of building
Site excavation

Bricks unearthed from foundations

Probable line of track down to the river and into
Smallbridge Hall

Smallbridge in the distance with the River Stour running in front.
Old maps indicate a track from the Hunting Lodge down to the river and
then over a "Ford" to the Hall. (see left image)
This is the Front view of the property.
Artist impression of Hunting Lodge
Similar Hunting Lodge near to Epping Forest
Built for Henry V111 in 1543

The specific whereabouts of this site have been withheld in order
to preserve its integrity.

Artefacts discovered on the site, date the building to approximately 1570

This site is on private property and has been subject to various geophysic surveys as well as conventional metal detection.
Private metal detectors are not permitted, especially as the site has yet to be thoroughly investigated.

Acknowledgment to Colchester Archaeological Group for allowing publication of this material
Colour Photographs of site by Alan Beales