Architecture Case Study Hilton Hall
Working on the early seventeenth-century Hilton Hall was a pleasure for the English Listed team. We drew upon all of our expertise to restore and extend the Grade II* Hall, firstly to construct an extension to the rear of the hall and again to re-roof and restore the old Grade II Dove Cote in the Hall’s grounds.
Hilton Hall is an impressive early seventeenth-century house with a rich history. It has been the home to an array of artists, writers and politicians; it was first owned by Robert Walpole (a distant relative of the first prime minister) and more recently by Angelica Garnett, British writer, artist and member of the Bloomsbury Group.
The hall is filled with unique and stunning original features, the interior boasting an elegant early seventeenth-century staircase of six flights, moulded beams with elaborately decorated stops, and eighteenth-century panelling in the main hall. The modern single-storey extension to rear also has eighteenth-century panelling, which was reclaimed from Park Farm.
The large dovecote behind the hall also dates from the seventeenth century, and was used by Garnett as her studio. She has left her mark on the house with a decorated bedroom mantelpiece, a large mural in the dovecote and a mosaic doorstep.
Our first brief was to build an extension to the rear of the Hall, and we were later called back to repair the dovecote. When we started the building, it was paramount to us that we preserved the feeling of Hilton Hall and the construction of the extension complimented the old building while offering our clients the bright, modern space they wanted. Detailed plans were drawn up by Anne Copper to create a building that would be sympathetic to the history of the Hall, add an element of modern style, and get the ‘go ahead’ from planning.
Working on the dovecote required thorough conversations with HDC conservation teams to work out how best restore the roof and remain as historically accurate as possible. We all reached a conclusion that the roof would be replaced with a sympathetic oak version.
We are thrilled with the outcome of both these projects. The new extension is sympathetic to the feel of the Hall, while bringing a touch of modern style to the site, while the restoration to the dove cot allowed us to be a part of the buildings rich history, helping to preserve it for future generations to enjoy. This buildings’ history, and previous owners, truly reflect our belief that there is indeed an art to restoration.
We have returned more recently to restore the outside swimming pool area and gain permission & built a large oak frame with slate roof garage.
- HISTORYHILTON HIGH STREET 1. 5140 (south side) Dovecote to rear of Hilton Hall (formerly listed as Pigeon House to Hilton Hall) TL 26 NE 9/21 24.10.51 II GV 2. C17 red brick. Plain tile roof with gablets. Saw-tooth eaves cornice. Modern windows and external staircase.
HILTON HIGH STREET 1. 5140 (south side) Hilton Hall, gate piers and forecourt wall TL 26 NE 9/20 24.10.51 II* 2. Early C17, T-plan house with C18 facade. Red brick, formerly colour-washed. Old tile roof with parapet and parapet gables. Projecting end stacks with recessed panels. Three-storeys. Second and first-floors are basically a three window range of hung sashes with glazing bars recessed in segmental headed arches, with flanking blind openings at first-floor. Band course between first and ground-floors. Ground-floor has pair of hung sashes flanked by blind openings on each side of central, modern two panelled door with glazed upper half. Interior has fine early C17 staircase of six flights (RCHM Item 4). Moulded beams with elaborately decorated stops, and C18 panelling in hall. Modern single-storey extension to rear has C18 panelling, removed from Park Farm, Hilton, now demolished. C18 low wall and two square section, red brick gate piers to forecourt. Piers with ball finials. Wrought iron gates, dated 1845. (RCHM Huntingdonshire Mon 4 p 139).
Parks and Gardens
To the south of the Hall there is a fine square, late-17th-century two storey brick dovecotee, with a pyramidal roof. There is also a small pond and extensive orchard.
Hilton Hall is an early-17th-century brick house to the north-west of the village green. Its first owner was Robert Walpole who died in 1699. His second wife was Susan Sparrow, the widowed mother of William Sparrow, who built the Maze at Hilton.
A recent owner was the writer David Gardnett (d. 1981), whose second wife was Angelica Bell, the daughter of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell. Garnett’s first novel Lady Into Foxbecame a best seller. Another novel, Go She Must, gives a good picture of life in the village during the 1920s. D. H. Lawrence, one of his friends, teased him for living in a Hall.
Hilton Hall (Plate 149), house and pigeon-house, 300 yards N. of the church. The House is of two storeys with attics; the walls are of brick and the roofs are tiled. It was built early in the 17th century on a rectangular plan with a staircase-wing on the S. The building was refronted in the 18th century and there are modern additions on the E. The sides and back of the house have brick bands between the storeys. Inside the building, the ground-floor rooms have original moulded ceiling-beams, one being enriched with guilloche-ornament; the E. room has a fireplace with a moulded lintel. The original staircase (Plate 164) has moulded rails, symmetrically-turned balusters and square newels with moulded terminals and pendants.
The Pigeon-house (Plate 166), S. of the house, is a square building of brick and of two storeys with a pyramidal roof, saddle-backed at the top. It was built, probably, late in the 17th century.