Porters, in Southchurch is a fine old Tudor mansion, which gives its name to one of the most populous districts of Southend, viz., Porters Town. For many years it was the residence of Sir Charles Nicholson, but in 1932 it was purchased by Southend Corporation and opened as a Civic Reception House in 1935, by then Mayor (then Councillor, and later Alderman A. T. Edwards). The furnishings is in keeping with the character of the building. The name of Laurence le Porter occurs among the free tenants of the Manor of Milton 1309; a field belonging to him and known as “Richemannes by the Thames” was the place wherein the Gallows were set up in Medieval times. The date of erection of the house is somewhere in the Sixteenth Century, the late Mr. F. Chancellor, a well known antiquarian and architect, coming to the conclusion that it was built about 1500, but Sir Charles Nicholson was inclined to the opinion that if the commencement were made about that date, the building was not completed until much later in the Sixteenth Century. The owners at that time were the Browne family, two of whom were Lord Mayors of London. Mr. Benjamin Disraeli stayed at Porters in 1833-34 and wrote his “Revolutionary Epick” there. The general plan of the building is of Tudor character, with hall, screen, kitchen, buttery and parlour on the ground floor. The hall has some fine oak panelling; within the chimney on the right hand side, a few feet from the base, is a secret room, capable of concealing two or three persons. There are four stone mantelpieces with carvings of the Tudor rose, pomegranate, sunflower, etc., and one of the bedrooms has a door pierced for observation and defence, and a trap door inside. The walls of the hall are lined with early Sixteenth Century linenfold panelling, with some modern work, and incorporating five early Sixteenth Century panels of foreign workmanship (probably French) each carved in bold relief. Some authorities hold that they are part of a series intended to represent the Nine Worthies.

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