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Hatfield House, Hatfield

Description: Hatfield House

Grade: I
Date Listed: 6 February 1952
English Heritage Building ID: 158402

OS Grid Reference: TL2371508394
OS Grid Coordinates: 523715, 208394
Latitude/Longitude: 51.7606, -0.2088

Location: Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 5NF

Locality: Hatfield
Local Authority: Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
County: Hertfordshire
Country: England
Postcode: AL9 5NF

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Listing Text

Old Hatfield
(west side)

15/139 Hatfield House



County house. Built for Robert Cecil, first Earl of Salisbury,
between 1607 and 1612. Designed by Robert Liming or Lyminge,
assisted by Robert Cecil, his friend Thomas Wilson, and probably
by Simon Basyll and Inigo Jones. The W wing was gutted by fire
in 1835 and redecorated by the second marquess (d. 1868), who
also did much decoration in other parts of the house.

Red brick with stone dressings. E-shape.

3 storeys and attic over basement. Stone mullioned and transomed
windows of 2 to 6 lights. N entrance elevation is 15 windows.
Central 3-storey porch bay with arched, shell-headed door flanked
by pairs of fluted Roman Doric columns. Strapwork to pedestals,
frieze and overthrow. C19 steps in 2 flights. 4-window flanking
walls have 2-storey canted window bays near 3-window end
projections. End projections have 3 and a half storey tower
projections, formerly with cupola domes. The basement has a
moulded plinth and 2 4-centre doors on each side of the right
hand end pavilion. Main south front has a 9-window loggia in
ashlar stone. The central feature is a 3-stage triumphal
entrance with pairs of Doric, Ionic and Corinthian columns at
each level. Double doors like those of N elevation. Strapwork
to columns and pedestals. Large coat of arms to third stage and
1611 date on parapet. Top stage renewed 1982. Loggia either
side was enclosed by stone trellis-work windows c1846, when much
of the stone work of the front was probably restored. Ground and
1st floor Doric and Ionic fluted pilasters with carved pedestals
and strapwork friezes. Strapwork parapet renewed c1950. Upper
floor windows have bracketed sills. Flanking sides of courtyard
are 6 windows: 3 2-storey bay windows alternating with 2-light
openings and 3-light attic windows with strapwork semicircular
crests. Doric doorways with similar crests. W side has large
chapel window with 2-storey 12-arched light windows. End
elevations of wings have square projecting turrets with leaded
cupolas and strapwork parapets between them. Central 2-storey
canted bay windows, that on W with C19 balcony and steps. E and
W elevations are two part compositions. N parts have 3 canted 2-
storey window bays with flat parapets. Recessed narrow gabled
central bay. S part with two small gables. Rising from the
centre of the house is a 3-stage wooden clock tower. The bottom
stage has triplets of Doric columns at the angles and triplet
arches between. Cube-shape middle stage has clocks N and S and
pairs of Ionic columns at angles. Arched octagonal turret with
leaded cupola. This part is possibly by Inigo Jones.

Outstanding features of the interior are the Hall and Grand
Staircase, both with wood carving by John Bucke. The hall screen
has profuse Jacobean ornament and a projecting upper gallery,
closed in the C19. A second gallery is corbelled out of the E
wall which has here two stone doorways. Hammerbeam ceiling with
paintings by Taldini, brought in by Third Marquess, 1878. The
Grand Staircase has richly carved balusters and newel posts, the
newels of carved lions and cupids. The Summer Drawing Room, E of
the staircase has a well-preserved original interior. The Chapel
in the W range has a large E window with twelve panes of original
stained glass. The secondary staircase in the W wing, called the
Adam and Eve staircase, was remodelled in the C19, but retains of
fire door surround of c1700 on the 1st floor. The Long Gallery
has panelling in two tiers and divided by pilasters, the
fireplaces and ceilings possibly C19. King James's Drawing Room
on the E has a restored ceiling and a contemporary fireplace by
Maximilian Colt. King James's Bedroom, adjoining, has a
fireplace taken from the Summer Dining Room. (C.L. 11.8.1900;
28.6 and 5.7.1907; 14.12.1907; Pevsner (1977).

Listing NGR: TL2371508394

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.