A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about Southend-on-Sea’s hidden treasures. I thought I knew everything that there was to visit in the town, having lived in the vicinity for over 10 years. However, after doing a little research, I found plenty of things that I had never considered visiting before, and some things that I had never even heard of!
One of the destinations that I had never heard of was Southchurch Hall. Now, when you think of Southchurch, locals automatically think of Southchurch Park and the house in the centre, however, this is not the right building at all. Southchurch Hall actually sits in its own little grounds, complete with dry moat, on a road just off of Ambleside Drive.
The hall is only open on certain days of the week and for just four hours a day. I went along on a very wet and windy Saturday morning and found the Hall to be very quiet, with only the staff in residence at 10 o clock in the morning. Southchurch Hall is set in a lovely little park, which once were obviously its grounds, but unfortunately because of the weather I didn’t get to explore much. However, what I did see seemed lovely and would be a great place to spend an afternoon on a sunnier day.
While exploring the hall itself I found out that the medieval house is actually a Grade I listed building, built around the early 1300s, and has been open to the public since its restoration in the 1930s. As well as the original medieval building there has also been a Tudor extension and the original oak beams that were used to build the hall are still visible today – albeit with a few woodworm.
The hall has a historical charm that I love, complete with some original pieces of furniture and a few original artifacts that have been found on the site over the centuries. It may be quite a small building, with only a few rooms open to the public (on the day I went the first-floor bedroom was closed due to damp problems) but what is there is informative and interesting. Lots of the original features of the house have been preserved, which makes Southchurch Hall a brilliant place to learn not only about the history of the area but also about lifestyle and building techniques from the 14th century onwards.
Overall the visit only took around half an hour, but would have taken much longer if the weather had permitted us to look around the gardens too. There is a small shop to visit, with tea facilities and a collection of artifacts from around the site, which was a nice way to end our little tour of the Hall. I bought some postcards and dropped some money in the Hall’s collection pot because remarkably this little bit of Southend’s history is completely free! Southchurch Hall provided me with a lovely trip to start off my Saturday and I will definitely be going back to enjoy the gardens when the weather is warmer.