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HILL HALL

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Hill Hall, a country house in Theydon Mount, Essex, was built in 1557-8 for Sir Thomas Smith, Secretary of State to Elizabeth I. It was the third house to be built on the site; the first dating to some time prior to 1373 and the second was built in 1486, and extended in 1554-6. In 1568-9 Smith rebuilt the north and west ranges of the house and in 1574-5 he rebuilt the south and east ranges. Substantial alterations were carried out by Smith's heirs in the late 17th century and the east range was virtually rebuilt in 1714. The house underwent a degree of modernisation in 1789-1815 and the west front was rebuilt in 1844. Sir Reginald Blomfield designed the alterations carried out 1909-12. The house was converted to an open prison in 1952 but gutted by fire in 1969. It was taken into care by the Department of the Environment in 1980. The north range was re-roofed in 1982 and the shell restored by English Heritage. The hall has been converted into private apartments however sections are open to the public by prior arrangement with English Heritage.

Hill Hall is constructed of brick with rendered terracotta and cut-brick dressings. The north entrance front is two-storeyed and is partly cellared. It has seven mullioned and transomed windows and a Tuscan portico above the entrance. The east elevation comprises a nine window front with a balustraded parapet and is flanked by recessed three-storey corner towers. The south elevation is of two-storeys with attic and cellar, has nine windows and three storey projecting towers in bays one and eight. The two storey west front is irregular.

The west service wing has a nine window south front with hipped dormers, while the north service wing is of two-storeys, and has a three window range which was added in 1909-12.

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