Serving the communities of Bures St Mary and Bures Hamlet





Smallbridge Hall lies on the Suffolk side of the River Stour. Smallbridge Park (or otherwise known as Wormingford Park) is situated on the opposite bank of the River Stour in Essex.
Wormingford Park is part of Wormingford Manor or Hall.

The Park contained the Deer Park and a Hunting Lodge, consequently as the Waldegraves had access to the Essex side, they must have owned that land which belonged to the Manor of Wormingford Hall.
There was9 also clear photographic evidence to show a track running from the Lodge down to the River Stour and into Smallbridge

Wormingford Hall was first documented in 1267.
Richard Waldegrave purchased the "Hall" in 1383 and it remained in the Waldegrave family until 1702.

1702 would have been the time the Waldegraves also vacated Smallbridge.

There may be some truth in the tale. Sir William (b1515) lived at Church Hall with his second wife, the Lady Jemmimah. She was the niece of Sir Francis Bacon, the Lord Chancellor, and was at one time one of the Queen's Ladies. Therefore it is possible the Queen paid a social call on Lady Jemmimah and accorded the honour of her Cypher to Church Hall out of the esteem she had for Sir Francis and his family.
Lady Jemmimah's retired to the Dower House (Note 1) of Wormingford Hall but continued in control of the Church Manor.

From this extract we can see the Waldegraves held the second Manor in Wormingford called "Church Hall"
In 1578 the Mannocks sold "Church Hall" to Sir William Waldegrave and his wife Elizabeth. Thereafter it descended with Wormingford Hall Manor.

The property visible today, cannot be the original building which dated back to 1267.
Currently it is a gabled house, with a wealth of carved and moulded decoration inside and out. Much of it was added on old or introduced timber by S. J. Tufnell in the mid 20th century and at the same time panelling and other architectural salvage was brought from London and elsewhere. Before those alterations the house appeared to be later 19th century, but was partly timber- framed. The north end is a substantial, probably 16th-century, parlour cross wing but the original plan of the ranges to the north of it has been obscured by later
rebuilding and alteration.



Wormingford has two manors, viz., Wormingford Hall and Church Hall, and John Jolliffe Tufnell is lord of both; but a great part of the soil belongs to Geo. Nottidge, Esq., and several smaller owners. Wormingford Hall, now a farm-house, had formerly a park; and a mere of 12A., formed by the Stour, opposite Smallbridge, belonged to it.
Ref:- White's Directory of Essex 1848

Land transfer. Wormin[g]ford Hall, Essex.
Deccimo Sexto die Novembris Anno die Millimo Sexcent. ‘20th Aug 1691’
in ink on verso. Reign of William and Mary. Named parties includes Baron Thomas Waldegrave, John Harrison, gentleman, and Richard Newton. Refers to Mount Bures [Essex]. Refers to sale of tenements or cottages. Signed by John Harrison. In Latin. Provenance unknown.
Ref:- http://ucblibraries.colorado.edu

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)
Ref:- John Moore, Colchester Archealogical Group

The Waldegraves exit from Wormingford Manor:-

1393 The holding was claimed by Sir Richard Waldegrave II and became part of Wormingford Manor
He or his heir of the same name held it in 1420
and then it passed to his son Richard (d. 1435),
and to Richard's son Richard (fl. 1455)
In 1480 Elizabeth, widow of Sir Thomas Waldegrave, held the manor with her second husband William Say.
They were followed by William Waldegrave (d. 1526)
William's son George (d. 1528)
and by George's son William (d. 1553)
From William's son, Sir William (d. by 1584)
it passed to his son William (d. 1610)
William's son William (d. 1612), whose widow Jemima held in dower in 1635.
Their son William Waldegrave (d. by 1650)
succeeded, then his son Thomas Waldegrave.

Thomas sold the manor with Church Hall in 1702 to John Currance, whose son Clement held it in 1704.

The last Currance died in America, and Richard Andrews of Earls Colne bought the Manor together with Church Hall Manor and the
rectory. His heir, John Wale, sold them in 1742 to Samuel Tufnell of Great Waltham, in which family the Wormingford Hall and Church Hall estates remained in 1995.

1528 Sir William Waldegrave (b1462) charged his eldest son William "to be good to his mother (Dame Margery) and if any of his children want property she has to give her Wormingford instead." Thus Wormingford Hall became the Waldegrave Dower House.

1615 Sir William the Elder died to be followed eight months later by his son Sir William the Junior, and Lady Jemmimah eventually retired to the Dower House Wormingford Hall. Another entry in the church register records "Henry Killigrew married Jemmimah Waldegrave". Although she bore him children she does not appear to have used his name. Even her will, in which she mentions the marriage, is signed Jemmimah Waldegrave.

1641 A report appeared before the House of Lord concerning " Jemmimah (Bacon)last Lady Waldegrave or the elder Smallbridge line...living at Wormingford Hall in the Co Essex." Petition of Wm Townsend.

"He states about seven years since he hired a farm in Wormingford of Dame Jemmamah Waldegrave. Two years since there happening to be left unpaid £4 of half years rent and Lady Waldegrave coveting to oust him...procured one man to take out a writ upon which the petitioner was arrested on the Lord's Day 1639 during Divine Service in his seat in church. Lady Waldegrave being Patroness...commanded the keys from the parish clerk and sent them by her servants to the bailiffs". (She also sent meat, ale and candles and kept the petitioner locked in the church until 12 o'clock of the night.) "He prays redress and punishment of offenders," The petition was dismissed, the noble lords, all landowners, did not consider him an injured person.
Ref:-Wormingford an English Village by Winifred Beaumont

The Civil War split the family into two camps and Lady Jemmamah chose and maintained a middle way between them. Her son, the William baptised in Wormingford Church, was a Royalist and joined King Charles I's Army. He and his men were provisioned from his estate. His mother directed supplies from Wormingford and his daughter Elizabeth from Bures and Smallbridge.

Ref:- A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10

...................................the third sister being ["sister Waldegrave"] Jemimma Bacon who married, firstly, Sir William Waldegrave(circa 1650) [ex of Smallbridge] of Wormingford Hall, of a familly closely connected to the Harris family of Essex,

Later Wormingford Hall was owned by Abraham Constable who`s uncle was John Constable RA,

Note 1:- Dower House. This is usually a moderately large house on an estate which is occupied by the widow of the late owner. The widow, often known as the "dowager" usually moves into the dower house, from the larger family house, on the death of her husband, the new heir occupies the now vacated principal house.


On Cardinal Wolsey`s downfall the Manor went with the church, through a number of owners to the Mannocks and eventually became part of the Elizabethan Sir William Waldegrave's estate. He 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,

**1523: On Cardinal Wolsey`s downfall Church Manor went with the church, through a number of owners to the Mannocks and eventually became part of the Elizabethan Sir William Waldegrave's estate. He 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.
Cannot ascertain who owned the Deer Park, The "Victoria County History of Essex" suggests it could have been owned by the Waldegraves at Smallbridge. It could of course be part of Wormingford Hall or Church Manor

1578 Thomas Mannock and his wife Denise sold Church Hall to Sir William Waldegrave and his wife Elizabeth.
Thereafter it descended with Wormingford Hall Manor
**Note:- Victoria County History of Essex" gives this date of 1578 when the Waldegraves purchased Church Hall, but this seems far to

1588 Sir William raised and equipped 500 men to resist the Spanish Armada "all choice men and singularly well furnished." (Ryce). At this period Sir William took an active interest in Wormingford and held his Manor Court in Church Hall.

1597 His son Sir William II was in residence at Church Hall and the Hall was enlarged and additions made to fit it for the residence of a lord and him a Waldegrave.
There are two Tudor chimney stacks in Church Hall and were probably added when the Waldegraves took up residence, along with the wing in red Tudor brick. Chimneys liberated the occupants and gave them bedrooms and an upper storey.

The staircases in the Hall date from this period. Sir William, juvenus, held the Manor Court along with his wife Lady Jemmimah Waldgrave, She was his second wife and the niece of Francis Bacon, Elizabeth's Attorney-General. Once a Lady of the Queen's Court Jemmimah settled down and spent forty years of her life in Wormingford and two of her children, another William and Elizabeth, were both baptised in the church.

The fortunes of the Smallbridge Waldegrave declined, their great house passed into less sympathetic hands and the wing, which contained their private chapel, demolished. Church Hall was the residence of the last generation of Waldegraves
1702/3 Wormingford and Church Hall Manor were bought by Samuel Tufnell for an investment and income from tithe and rents, The Tufnells were London merchants and nineteenth century bankers

Research by Alan Beales/Ida McMaster 16/05/2010
Main reference:-A History of the County of Essex: Volume 10
Wormingford an English Village by Winifred Beaumont