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Old drawings and paintings of Shelford Old Hall

The first Shelford Hall, or the Old House, was built in 1660 by Thomas Wale It was altered in 1764 by another Thomas Wale and then largely demolished in 1852.

Shelford Hall was the family seat of the Wale family who were the principal landowners in Little Shelford for 300 years.

The oldest portion of the House, the South Front, with its small, recessed windows and large chimney, was 200 years older and from the fifteenth Century. The hall also boasted a 10 acre park along the river.

Old Shelford Hall was modernised in the Georgian style by another Thomas Wale on his return from Riga, Russia in the 1760s.

Thomas Wale, retiring from his Ship Building at Riga, preferred Shelford to Harston Hall as a residence, and so made an arrangement to rent the House for the yearly sum of £30 and took up residence in 1765.

This description of the house from Fanny Wale's A Record of Shelford Parva.

 

"The chief rooms in the older portions of the mansion were panelled with oak throughout, of those of later date had deep wainscotting. The ceilings were crossed by large projecting beams. The huge fireplace in the South Room was filled in with an Elizabethan chimney piece (now in the library of the modern house). There were six staircases, and the lobby at the top of the principal one was hung round with portraits of the family, beginning with Gregory Wale, painted (circa 1672) represented as a child feeding a Goldfinch, and eight others ending with one of Thomas Sherard Wale, who died in Surinam in his 27th year, 1821.

"In the Dining Room were portraits of King George III and Queen Charlotte (presented to Lieutenant General Wale when appointed Governor of Martinique, 1912). The house was full of spacious cupboards and closets in all of the recesses of the walls; One in the pantry having an iron door, was found to be the receptacle of the Family Archives, discovered in 1852 in a mouldering condition, and scarcely legible. From those records, the Rev Henry John Wale composed the book called "Grandfather's Pocket Book", a few copies only were printed and are in  the possession of the Misses Wale.

The large Kitchen was furnished with a "Boot Jack" and appliances for roasting huge joints. There was a deep window seat in the thickness of the wall. The meat larder filled "like a butcher's shop", testified to good living and hospitality, as did the brew house at the end of tyhe North wing whence came the famous ale our ancestors delighted in. The entrance to the Cellarage was by a door ubnder the chief staircase.

With its six staircases, beamed and oak-panelled rooms and enormous Elizabethan fireplaces, it seems to have been a commodious and comfortable house, lived in and loved by generations of the Wale family. It was however not grand, and was in a poor state of repair when it was partially demolished in the 1850s.

 

In the early 1800’s, the Rev. Mr Preston ran a school in Shelford Hall. One of its pupils was Thomas Babington Macaulay, later Baron Macaulay, a historian and Whig politician, who served in Government as the Secretary at War between 1839 and 1841, and as the Paymaster General between 1846 and 1848.

The Lodge, as it is now known, was also used as an officer’s mess and offices in WW2.

 

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A pencil drawing of Little Shelford Old Hall from the southern aspect, probably by Fanny Wale. The first Shelford Hall, or the Old House, was built in 1640. It was altered in 1764 by Thomas Wale  and then largely demolished in 1852.

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A pencil drawing of Little Shelford Old Hall, probably by Fanny Wale. The hall is seen from what is now Camping Close and the Whittlesford Road.
The first Shelford Hall, or the Old House, was built in 1640. It was altered in 1764 by Thomas Wale and then largely demolished in 1852.

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A pencil drawing of Little Shelford Old Hall, from the northern aspect, by Louisa Wale. The first Shelford Hall, or the Old House, was built in 1640. It was altered in 1764 by Thomas Wale and then largely demolished around 1852.

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A painting of Little Shelford Old Hall by Fanny Wale from A Record of Shelford Parva. While the painting shows the date 1860, Fanny would have only been nine year old at the time, suggesting she simply copied the date from the original painting. It was probably copied from the painting below which was owned by the Wale family.
The first Shelford Hall, or the Old House, was built in 1640. It was altered in 1764 by Thomas Wale  and then largely demolished around 1852.

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A pencil drawing of Little Shelford Old Hall from the eastern aspect, probably by Fanny Wale. The first Shelford Hall, or the Old House, was built in 1640. It was altered in 1764 by Thomas Wale  and then largely demolished in 1852.

 "Study chimney piece of the Old House." (From the back of the drawing - "Study of the Old House. Overmantle (oak) was put into the dining room of the (new) hall. It is now in Ivy Cottage and the summer house." 

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These are photos of a model of Shelford Old Hall in Little Shelford  which is now the property of the Museum of Cambridge. The hall itself was built in 1640 and was largely demolished in 1852. 

 

Part of the north wing of the historic hall remains. It is now known as the Lodge. It can be found at the junction of Whittlesford Road and Bridge Lane in Little Shelford. It is now a family home.

 

Old Shelford Hall was a Tudor development of a medieval hall house, and was modernised in the Georgian style by Thomas Wale on his return from Riga, Russia in the 1760s.

 

The model Colonel Wale made in the late 1840s shows U-shaped ranges enclosing an open courtyard.

 

A sketch re-produced in Fanny Wale's book gives an idea of the rambling and unpretentious charm of the buildings. 

 

With its six staircases, beamed and oak-panelled rooms and enormous Elizabethan fireplaces it seems to have been a commodious and comfortable house, lived in and loved by generations of the Wale family. It was however not grand, and was in a poor state of repair when it was partially demolished in the 1850s.

 

By 1850 the new Hall was arising in the Park and a few years later most of the old house was demolished, with only a rump surviving on Bridge Lane to serve as an entrance Lodge.

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The Lodge in Little Shelford - the remains of Shelford Old Hall

The Lodge in Little Shelford - the remains of Shelford Old Hall

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A copy of a Victorian pencil drawing of the Lodge, made by Rosemary Nicholls in 1977.

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A pencil drawing of the lodge, what remained of Little Shelford Old Hall, probably by Fanny Wale after 1909. The hall is seen from what is now Camping Close and the Whittlesford Road. The first Shelford Hall, or the Old House, was built in 1640. It was altered in 1764 by Thomas Wale  and then largely demolished in 1852.

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The Lodge around 1881. This photo is significant as it shows the Lodge before it was extended to accommodate some of the Wale family following the 1929 fire.

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