Survey of London: Volume 1, Bromley-By-Bow. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1900.
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IV.—BROMLEY HALL (THE MANOR HOUSE OF THE LOWER MANOR).
Ground Landlord, Leaseholders, &c.
General description and date of structure.
It is an interesting specimen of late Tudor work, dating from perhaps the 15th century, with a few later additions. In plan it is rectangular, and has small octagonal turrets, one at each corner. The walls are built of small red bricks, and considering the size of the house, are of great thickness. The windows on the principal (the west) and the garden side were altered some time in the 17th century, and have flat brick pilasters, heads, and sills in the manner of those in the tower of Boleyn Castle, at Upton Park. There is also, above the ground floor windows on the west front, a fine moulded brick string course of the oldest period, and the original brick plinth to the walls and turrets. The north and south walls have been cemented over, hiding all traces of the original work. The string courses have also been hacked away until they are now flat bands. In the middle of the north side is a projection that suggests a bay-window behind. The roof belongs to a later date than the walls; it is hipped all round, with a flat top, and has at the eaves a large plaster cove; the angle turrets are carried up to this height, and then break off abruptly.
The interior of the house was almost entirely remodelled in the latter half of the 18th century. The principal rooms on the ground floor, the study on the first floor, and the hall are panelled with woodwork of this period. The entrance doorway, which has an arched and pedimented head, is also a good example of this date; and there are in the various rooms some quaint mantelpieces of wood of the period. One fireplace is still left, with the open space for the dog stove, and is tiled round with interesting old figured tiles.
The stairs from the Hall to the first floor were replaced in the last century, but those from the first floor to the attics were fortunately left. They have moulded handrails and spiral turned balusters, and at the top a row of plain flat balusters.
The corner of the road opposite the Hall was formerly occupied by a lodge, and extending across the intervening space was a large iron gate, which cut off the road leading through to Poplar. This road was a private one, and known to comparatively recent times as "Quag-lane;" the public road to Poplar was continued round where Venue-street and St. Leonard's-road now are.
The house has underground passages variously stated to lead to the Boleyn Castle at Upton Park, the Old Palace, situate near the parish church, and the Abbey, at West Ham. A careful examination of the cellar walls, which belong to the earlier or Tudor work, fails to reveal in any place a blocked-up archway or entrance to such passage.
Condition of repair.
Dunstan states that the Manor of Bromley Hall (or the lower manor) belonged to the Priory of Christ Church in London, it having been given to them by Geoffrey and William de Mandeville. At the Dissolution it was granted by Henry VIII. to Richard Morrison, and after passing through the hands of various owners, one of whom was William Cecil, afterwards Lord Burleigh, it passed into the possession of the Hare family, at that time owners of the Upper Manor. They in 1606 conveyed it to Arthur, afterwards Sir Arthur, Ingram, and from him it reverted to the Crown. It then passed to William Ferrers, who died seised of it in 1625, and was buried in Bromley Church (see pages 3–4). In 1799 it was purchased by Joseph Foster, an eminent calico printer, who established extensive calico printing works in its-grounds; since then it has been used by Sir E. Hay Currie. The grounds that formerly belonged to the house are now occupied by an oil company's works, extending down to the river, and oil-tanks take the place of the old fish-ponds, which are very clearly defined in Rocque's Survey of London. In Gascoyne's map of the neighbourhood (1703) Bromley Hall is shown by a rough perspective sketch, in which the roof, &c., are the same shape as at present, showing that the alterations took place before this date.
The lower manor, or the Manor of Bromley Hall, appears to have been formed out of the original Manor of Bromley. The Manor House of Bromley proper was erected by Sir John Jacob, about 1634, upon or near the site of the Priory House. This building stood on the site now occupied by Priory-street, adjoining the churchyard, and was pulled down about 1812.
Bromley Hall was the manor house of the lower manor, and is situated in Burnswick-road, a continuation of St. Leonard's-street, which commences from High-street, near the church, and the old manor house above described, and runs parallel to the river for some distance. Bromley Hall is about half a-mile from the High-street.
No description of this house is contained in any of the historical works relating to the district, but the
manor itself is described in Lysons' Environs of London (Middlesex, vol. i., p. 41), and in Dunstan's
History of Bromley St. Leonard, pp. 152–154. The house is marked on Rocque's Map of London, 1741–5.
Gascoyne's Map of Stepney and Neighbourhood, 1703.
Brewer, Beauties, vol. x., page 290.
In the Committee's MS. collection are—
* (1) Ground plan (measured drawing).
* (2) West elevation, with details of mouldings (measured drawing).
* (3) General view from the north-west (water colour drawing).
(4) View from the west (photo).
(5) Details of upper stairs (measured drawing).
[Those marked with an asterisk are reproduced here.]