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Audley End House

A Grade I Listed Building in Saffron Walden, Essex

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Latitude: 52.0208 / 52°1'14"N

Longitude: 0.2206 / 0°13'14"E

OS Eastings: 552467

OS Northings: 238150

OS Grid: TL524381

Mapcode National: GBR MC2.8M2

Mapcode Global: VHHL3.RGZP

Entry Name: Audley End House

Listing Date: 1 November 1972

Last Amended: 31 October 1994

Grade: I

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1196114

English Heritage Legacy ID: 370379

Location: Saffron Walden, Uttlesford, Essex, CB11

County: Essex

District: Uttlesford

Civil Parish: Saffron Walden

Traditional County: Essex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Essex

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Saffron Walden

Listing Text


669-1/3/329 Audley End House
(Formerly Listed as:
Audley End House)


Part of a palatial country house. Built 1605-1614. By the Earl
of Northampton, John Thorpe and Bernard Janssen, mason. For
Thomas Howard. Earl of Suffolk. Reduced in size and
refurbished later, particularly in 1721 by Sir John Vanburgh,
in the 1770's for Sir John Griffin Griffin by Robert Adam, and
in the C19 when the rooms were reorganised for the second,
third and fourth Lord Braybrookes. Ashlar faced, copper roofs.
U shaped plan. 3 storeys with principal first floor the
tallest. All windows are of ovolo moulded, mullioned and
transomed form, lights mainly now have plain glass. Parapets
all round hide roofs and are pierced with strapwork
W front elevation: central second floor 7 window range, 3x2
lights, in front, lower open hall block of 2 storeys height,
central oriel bay window 6x4 lights, side 1x4 lights, on each
side two 4x3-light windows. Two 2-storey porches as ground and
first floor loggias with Ionic grouped corner shafts of black
and white marble with profuse strapwork and grotesque
decoration, ground floor round headed arched doorways, early
C17 doors, panelled with war and peace motifs. Loggia upper
floors have pair of openings to front. N and S ends of range
have tower shaped blocks, turrets at the corners with blocked,
keystoned, round headed apertures, swept copper capping and
weather-vanes. Full height bay window. Windows - ground floor
7x2-lights, first floor 7x3-lights, second floor 7x2-lights,
matching return windows 2 lights wide. Each side matching
windows, 2 on inner face, 1 on outer, all 3 lights wide.
Rear, E elevation: around court, open to E. Central 7-window
range with second parapet seen behind. First and second floor
windows of 3x2 lights. Ground floor arcade with paired Ionic
pilasters, glazed with 4-light tracery ascending in tiered
semicircular arches. Central doorway with surrounding
semicircular architrave in Jacobean style with inset red
marble cabochons. 2-leaved door, panelled lozenge decoration.
Wings E ends have central 3-cant full height bay window,
middle windows, ground floor 5x2 lights, first floor 5x3,
second floor 5x2 lights. Side cant window match, all 2 lights
wide. Single outer matching windows to each floor, all 3
lights wide. Inner faces of wings to courtyard symmetrical
with central 3-cant bay window, central windows all 4x2
lights, side cant window, matching of single light width.
Single outer windows each side of bay, matching, all 7 lights
wide. Waterheads, round court, S side of 1679, N side I.R.1686
and 1786. The inner corners between wings and principal E
facade have turrets similar to those on W front but larger
with windows on each face of 3x2 lights.
S side elevation: 2 elements, to W, S end of front elevation
with full height 3-cant bay window, ground floor not as house
style but 1x2,5x2,1x2 lights with wooden glazing bars to lower
lights, upper central light. First floor central window 6x3
lights, sides 1x3, second floor central light 6x2, sides 1x2.
Turrets each side with blocked round headed openings with
keystones. Range to E has 2 full height bay windows with
single windows between and windows at W end. Bay window, first
floor 7x3 lights, second floor 7x2 lights, return side lights
match, 2 lights wide. Between bays, matching window 6 lights
wide, at W end also matching 4 lights wide. Ground floor
loggia arcade of 9 bays (including bay windows) now infilled
and with a simple 2-light window in 8 bays. One has a framed
and panelled door with upper glazed panel (second from E end).
Arcade has Doric pilasters and entablature. At roof level,
large turret seen from E court behind parapet, also tall
grouped chimneys seen along range.
N side elevation: similar to S side but some differences as it
is the service end. To W, N end of front elevation, full
height bay window, ground floor, canted central window only
4x2 lights with subsidiary wooden glazing bars, each pair of
lights 2x7 panes. To E, 2x2 light window similar glazing,
lower lights sashes, to W, doorway with C19 4-panel, flush
reeded door. First floor, large rectangular bay 7x3-light
window, second floor canted central window 6x2 lights, side
cants 1x2. First and second floor windows between projecting
bays, to W, 3 lights wide, to E 4 lights wide. Ground floor
between bays, to W, early window of 4x2 lights, apparently not
restored, with original twin intermediate iron mullions to
each light, doorway now cut through lower lights, to E,
3x2-light window with wooden sashes in lower lights and upper
glazing bars, pairs of lights, 2x7 panes, adjacent, plain sash
window. Projecting bays, ground floor, W window of 3x2 lights,
E window 3x1 lights. Enclosed service courtyard abuts N side
of house, single storey brick, slate roofs. Early C19 segment
headed doorways, some doors early C19 with reeded flush
panels, window also segment headed mainly casements with
glazing bars. Also, second group of larger buildings in arc
facing W, some 2-storeyed, all linked and contiguous with
service court, hipped slated roofs, some provided with paired
display Roman cement chimney stacks, whole irregular group now
INTERIOR: principal features include the Jacobean hall and
screen and contemporary N and S timber-framed newel
staircases, also the saloon, once the Jacobean Great chamber
with its ornamental plaster ceiling. Later work includes one
room of a set of state apartments, an C18 stone staircase by
Vanburgh leading off the hall high end and the refurbishment
of rooms in the S range by Robert Adam. Contemporary with
Adam, but designed by Hobcroft is the `Gothick' chapel in the
NW angle. Fuller description on interiors in RCHM.
HISTORICAL NOTE: the house is the second to have been built
precisely round the cloister of Walden Abbey, granted by Henry
VIII in 1538 to Sir Thomas Audley. Audley's house was
constructed within the church, N range and claustral buildings
to the S. The present house, built by Thomas Howard, Lord
Treasurer to James I overlies the earlier building but had a
second, larger outer court to the W. This was entirely
demolished by the later C18 except for the 2 surviving porches
on the W front that appear to belong to the outer court and
were built in a second phase of construction in a more profuse
style of decoration, probably to designs by John Thorpe.
Research suggests that the 2 porches were for the king and
queen respectively and that they originally led to 2 similar
sets of royal apartments. Later work includes the total
removal, in the C18 of the E range of the inner court that
contained the long gallery, council chamber and original
chapel. Also a loggia on the S side was infilled (as now). The
house was owned for a short while by King Charles II and has
had owners who have retained the Jacobean style in much of the
later refurbishment. In 1948 it was sold to the Ministry of
(The Buildings of England: Pevsner N & Ratcliffe E: Essex:
London: 1965-: 61; Architectural History: Drury PJ: No Other
Palace in the Kingdom Will Compare With It: London: 1980-:
1-39; Drury PJ & Gow IR: Audley End, Essex: HMSO, London:

Listing NGR: TL5246738150

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

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