DiCamillo Companion

Thorndon Hall (Thornton Hall)

  • Earlier Houses: An earlier house, Old Thorndon Hall, partially remodeled for the 8th Lord Petre by Giacomo Leoni, was demolished by the 9th Lord and its stone used for Paine's new house.

    Built / Designed For: 9th Lord Petre

    House & Family History: Thorndon's grand Palladian portico was originally commissioned and imported from Italy in 1742 for Old Thorndon Hall; after that house burned, it was reused as part of the design of the new Thorndon Hall. In 1778 King George III and Queen Charlotte visited Thorndon on their way to see the troops at nearby Warley Common. The House suffered a devastating fire in 1878, leaving the main block and the West Wing gutted shells; the undamaged East Wing was reconfigured into a new home for the Petre family. In 1920 the Petres leased Thorndon and part of the Park to Thorndon Park Golf Club. In time, the golf club purchased the House and Estate, but sold the House in 1976 to Thomas Bates & Son, who converted it and surrounding outbuildings to 84 luxury flats and cottages in the 1980s. The golf club retained some of the Park, on which it built a new clubhouse and golf course.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: Capability Brown landscaped the Park between 1766 and 1772 at a cost of £5,000, approximately £8 million in 2012 inflation-adjusted values using the labour value commodity index. Though much of the Park today is part of Thorndon Park Golf Course, a surprising amount of Brown's design survives. Parts of the Park on the outskirts of Brentwood were sold during the 20th century for development. Essex County Council manages large areas of the former Park today as the public Thorndon Country Park.

    Chapel & Church: A.W.N. Pugin designed the Petre Mortuary Chapel, which is today owned by the Historic Chapels Trust. Samuel Wyatt's Chapel survives as shell.

  • Architect: Lancelot Brown

    Date: 1766-72
    Designed: Landscaping

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    Architect: James Paine Sr.

    Date: 1764-70
    Designed: New Palladian House for 9th Lord Petre

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    Architect: Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin

    Designed: Mortuary Chapel

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    Architect: Samuel Wyatt

    Designed: Chapel

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. I, p. 66, 1854.

    John Preston (J.P.) Neale, published under the title of Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. II, 1825.

  • Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - SOFTBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 1995
    Reference: pg. 610
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 0300072074
    Book Type: Softback

    Title: Burke's & Savills Guide to Country Houses, Volume III: East Anglia
    Author: Kenworthy-Browne, John; Reid, Peter; Sayer, Michael; Watkin, David
    Year Published: 1981
    Publisher: London: Burke's Peerage
    ISBN: 0850110351
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade I

    Park Listed: Grade II

  • Past Seat / Home of: Robert James Petre, 8th Baron Petre, 18th century; Petre family here from the 18th century until the 1920s.

    Current Ownership Type: Corporation

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Flats / Multi Family

    Ownership Details: The House was converted into 84 flats in the 1980s.

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No