Old House

The Old House in Rochford was built in 1270, seated on South Street it’s a real gem in the District’s crown and a must see for everyone.

The main hall was the first part of the house to be built and is more than 700 years old. Built of a timber frame with wattle and daub panels the house really was the height of luxury in medieval England.

The panels were made from a mixture of mud, dung, reeds and rushes all gathered from the nearby River Roach and was plastered with a mixture of goat hair and lime, with the wood supplied from Hockley Woods.

The whole family would have lived in the hall along with the servants and even the animals in the winter months. A fire would burn in the centre of the room which would be used for cooking, heating and lighting. It would have been lined with tiles angled at 45° - this was to cause an under draught to keep the fire burning.  Logs would have been piled in a criss –cross formation with the smoke escaping from a small hole in the roof.

In 1290, an extension wing was added to the north side of the hall with the south wing being added 100 years after that. The main hall was still the principle area but the extra wings housed the masters bedrooms and a buttery.

In 1550 a chimney stack was added to replace the fire in the main hall being one of the most prestigious in the country.  At this time chimney stacks were a mark of status. This one demonstrates a very high standing.   

In the 1700s  the upper floors were added allowing the servants to have their own living quarters in the south wing.

Rochford District Council bought the building in 1982 and using traditional methods managed to restore the house to its original glory using as much of the original materials as possible, there was even a cauldron of hand made limewash in the garden area which was used to paint the outside walls.

Occupants of The Old House

1450 – mid 17th century

We have no idea who built ‘The Old House’ or who lived here until the 18th century, although there is some speculation (but no evidence) that the important Shaa family lived here in the 15th century. John Shaa’s son (also called John) became the Mayor of London.

18th century - George Garrett and wife Grace (Chandlers)

1820s    Thomas Hurst Marsh, owner of the Red House, bought the Old House, and rented it to George Turner (Shoe Maker)

1855    John Hedgecock (Shoemaker) and his wife (Haberdashery)

1872    George Wood (Solicitor)

1902    Hugh Rankin rented it to Reverend Nixon (Retired Minister)

1920    Gertrude Bessie Bryan.  When she died in 1948 her daughters were appointed trustees (E Bryon and Barbara de Winton)

1965    Mrs E Pettigrew (Golden Lion Pub)

1968    Rochford Rural District Council

1971    Brian Catley

1982    Rochford District Council

Tours of the Old House

Walking tours of Historic Rochford, including tours of the Old House can be arranged through Rochford Town Team - you can contact them using the link in the Related Content section.

Weddings at the Old House

Did you know you could hold your special day with us at the Old House? Further information on booking this unique venue can be found via the link in the Related Content section.