Braintree: Discover the history of 'lost' mansion

A community dig took place on the site of the lost mansion last year

A community dig took place on the site of the lost mansion last year

First published in News

Visitors can rediscover the history of a lost mansion at a touring exhibition.

The history and archaeology behind Marks Hall Mansion, the lost country house formerly at the heart of the Marks Hall Estate in Coggeshall, has been opened up following a major research project.

The mansion was demolished in the 1950s after the Jacobean hall fell into disrepair following use as a military base during the Second World War.

The owner of Marks Hall, Thomas Phillips Price, had left the estate to the nation, in the interests of agriculture, arboriculture and forestry, when he died in 1932.

Although his wife Mary continued to live in the mansion, the building fell into disrepair until it was requisitioned during the war.

After a brief period being used by Braintree Council to house people who had been displaced following the war, the hall was deemed beyond repair by 1949, and permission to demolish it was granted the following year.

The gardens of the estate were eventually restored and are now open to the public and the Marks Hall Estate, the charity which manages it, is keen to reconstruct the history of the site for visitors.

As well as researchers from Essex University going through records and collecting personal memories, members of the Colchester Archaeological Group have been searching for physical traces of the hall and the evidence left behind by its occupants over many centuries.

Edward Taylor, a masters graduate from Essex University, who worked on the project, said: “Many people visit Marks Hall to see the gardens. We are helping people find out so much more about the history of the site.

“Our work is all about bringing the building back to life for people.”

The exhibition will be at Chelmsford library until Monday and will then be at Braintree library from Friday, January 25, to Monday, February 4.

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