© 2010 RC deWinter ~ All Rights Reserved
The oldest continuously-inhabited wood frame dwelling in England, Fyfield Hall is located in Essex near the village of Chipping Ongar.
The manor boasts an original timber post that has been carbon-dated to between AD 880 and 985. This predates the arrival William the Conqueror and his Normans. Remodeled several times over the centuries, Fyfield Hall retains features added in the late 12th century. A major redesign was completed between 1391 and 1416. Instead of updating the architectural style, this remodeling was done in the style of the 1100s, probably to preserve the aura of antiquity.
The Lords Scrope of the Manor inhabited Fyfield for generations. Pieces of the headless corpse of the third Lord Scrope, Henry, 3rd Baron Scrope of Masham, are buried nearby. Henry V, who had favored Scrope and named him Lord Treasurer of the kingdom, had the baron beheaded in 1415 at Southampton for his alleged conspiracy in an assassination plot. Scrope’s head was sent to York, where it was stuck on a spike over Micklebar Gate and left to rot as a warning to other would-be traitors. In Shakespeare’s Henry V, Lord Scrope appears as Lord Scroop.
Although no one has ever claimed to have seen any ghostly manifestations in Fyfield Hall itself, it has been noted that on All Souls Night (November 2nd) a heavy, wet mist descends over the estate, blanketing several acres until next midday. Can it be that the third Lord Scrope is paying a visit to his ancestral hall?
Digital oil painting derived from a photograph shared with me by wonderful artist Constance Widen.