Rochford Hall
Rochford Hall is a manor house situated not far from Rochford church. The exact date of when the original Rochford Hall was built is unclear, but what seems to be beyond doubt is that a manor house of grand scale has existed in the site since the time of the 1086 Doomsday Book. It was once one of the largest houses in the county and is believed to have been demolished in 1455, by the then owner James Boteler (Butler), 5th Earl of Ormonde and 1st Earl of Wiltshire, and reconstruction completed around 1480. In 1485 the estate passed to Thomas Boteler, the 7th Earl of Ormonde and a Member of Parliament in 1495, under the title of Thomas Ormonde de Rochford. Thomas died in 1515 and his daughter Margaret, who married Sir William Bullen (Boleyn) of Bickling Hall in Norfolk, became the heiress to Rochford Hall. Although the family home was Hever Castle in Kent they were frequent visitors to Rochford Hall. Their eldest son Thomas Boleyn (father of Anne) inherited the title Viscount Rochford and in due course the estates that went with it. When Thomas (Lord Rochford and Earl of Wiltshire) died in 1539 ownership of Rochford Hall passed to his eldest daughter Mary, who was married to Sir William Carey and with whom she a son Henry. Mary died at Rochford Hall in 1543 and the Hall, plus many properties in the Rochford Hundred, passed to her son Henry. Henry Carey had also inherited land in Hampshire, Wiltshire and Buckinghamshire, and it seemed he was more interested in his estates to the west of London, than those in Essex, as in around 1552 he sold the Manor and Rochford estates to Richard Rich. Sir Richard Rich, or Lord Rich of Leez as he became known, had acquired considerable assets in the county. He married Elizabeth Jenks in 1518 and fathered a family of 15 children (plus an illegitimate one)! He died at Rochford Hall in 1567 leaving the two principle Manors of Rochford and Leighs (Leez) to his son Robert. It appears that Robert Rich spent considerable time in Essex and was probably responsible for much of the addition to Rochford Hall during the late 16th century which turned the Hall into a grand residence. For six generations between 1551 and 1671 Rochford Hall was owned by direct descendants of Richard Rich. In 1712 Rochford Hall was sold (for only the second time in its history) to Sir Richard Child of Wanstead. He became Earl Tylney in 1731 and in 1734 his two sons took the name Tylney by Act of Parliament. Earl Tylney died in 1750 and the estates passed to his surviving son John, about who little is known. In around 1760, (during the second Earl’s ownership), there was a great fire at Rochford Hall which destroyed a large part of the building. There are no remaining records of the damage inflicted but the mansion was reduced to less than half its size. This resulted in much of the building to the south being pulled down. The north western corner was roofed over as barns and other parts left derelict, only to be pulled down decades later when they either became dangerous or builders needed the stones. When John died the estate passed to his sister’s son Sir James Long who then took the name Tylney- Long, followed by his daughter Catherine Tylney-Long and, via the Long-Wellesley family to Henry Wellesley1st Earl Cowley. Henry’s ownership was short lived and he quickly transferred it to his son Viscount Dangan who didn’t have time to manage the Rochford estates so, in 1867, he put them up for auction. A local gentleman farmer, James Tabor, successfully bid for ownership of Rochford Hall Farm, complete with “ancient Elizabethan residence”, as well as a number of other agricultural lots in the area. James became the 42nd Lord of the Manor since the Doomsday Book in 1086. During his tenure James Tabor offered the land adjoining the Hall for the creation of a golf course together with part use of the building as a clubhouse. Although James died in 1888 his grandsons and great grandsons continued to accommodate the golf club until 1980 when Robert Tabor sold the golf course and the north east part of the Hall, which they occupied, to Rochford Hundred Golf Club.

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