SmallBridge Hall - Tudor Hunting Lodge
A ferret has provided an unwitting link
to the present for a Tudor Hunting Lodge in Wormingford.
Back as far as 1340 records indicate a
Deer Park on the south side of the River Stour. It was the pastime of
the gentry to watch the Deer being herded and culled. One text records,
"wave after wave of deer herded to meet a shower of crossbow bolts
fired from this platform"
However Queen Elizabeth 1 visited Smallbridge and Lodge Hills in 1561 and it is not unreasonable to assume the Lodge may have been in existence at that time.
Was the Lodge inhabited ?
When did it disappear ?
The specific whereabouts of this site have
been withheld in order to preserve its integrity.
This site is on private property and
has been subject to various geophysic surveys as well as conventional
Acknowledgment to Colchester Archaeological
Group for allowing publication of this material
Hunting Lodge, it seems likely that the land on which it stood was part of the Manor of Wormingford Hall. We know that Joan de Bures took a number of estates into her marriage to Sir Richard Waldegrave. As well as Smallbridge, they included Overhall and Netherhall in Bures, Wickhambrook and Great Waldingfield in Suffolk, and Foxearth and Borley in Essex, but there is no mention of Wormingford. The tenancy of the Manor of Wormingford Hall was acquired by Sir Richard before 1384, and the land on which the Lodge stands was definitely owned by the Waldegraves by 1528 (recorded in a document held by the Public Record Office). The sale of Wormingford Hall to John Currance in 1702 included the Lodge, which is last documented in a book published in 1836 ('The History and Topography of the County of Essex', Vol 1, by Thomas Wright)