two projects at Little Canfield Hall

Last week (on the 22nd and 24th October), the Trust undertook two projects at Little Canfield Hall, at Little Canfield in west Essex. Trust archaeologists Steve Benfield and Chris Lister conducted an archaeological watching brief and historic building recording respectively. Little Canfield Hall is a very interesting and attractive historic farm complex which stands on the north side of the line of ancient Stane Street. Its buildings were in poor condition but they are currently being renovated and the complex redeveloped for a residential scheme. Last week, the watching brief was conducted on the footings for two new walls and on the foundation trenches for an extension to the main building.

The main building itself is a Grade II listed, 16th-century timber-framed hall. It has developed over the centuries with extensive modifications and additions which date to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. It has a T-shaped plan with a surviving cross-wing at the west end, and it includes all sorts of elements, including decorative cartouches on the exterior, surviving timber-framed features, and evidence of diamond mullion windows with grooves for shutters. The farm complex has also developed over the centuries and includes two medieval barns – a beam barn and a tithe barn – and a later maltings, as well as medieval fishponds. One of the barns dates to the late 14th century and is also Grade II listed. The most recent elements in the complex are 20th century in date.

Little Canfield Hall has had a long and varied history. The manors of Great and Little Canfield were held, in 1086, by the powerful de Mandeville and de Vere families. In the 19th century, Little Canfield Hall was part of the Easton Park estate inherited by Frances Evelyn Maynard, later the notorious Countess of Warwick, in 1865; the nearby Easton Lodge was one of her residences. Lady Warwick inherited a fortune and lost it by extravagance. In the 20th century, during WW2, Little Canfield Hall was apparently used by the United States Air Force.

The Trusts’ two projects at Little Canfield Hall are being funded by Foxley Builders.

Lady Warwick’s garden at Easton Lodge is now open to the public; visit the web-site at .

The images show part of the farm complex; the main building; the timber framing visible in one of the rooms; a decorative cartouche; and one of the foundation trenches.


Canfield complex x










hall x











Canfield timbers x















cartouche x













wb trench x