Bromley Hall | One of the Oldest Houses in London

Along a particularly dreary stretch of the Blackwall Tunnel Approach is the remarkable Bromley Hall. A 15th century survivor.

Arriving out of Bromley-by-Bow Tube Station, you’re met with a pretty uninspiring vista, Pevsner describes it aptly as a “bleak introductory panorama”.

But walking beneath the underpass towards Gillender Street and you’ll find – opposite the roaring A12 – Bromley Hall.

Bromley Hall - Look Up London

HOW OLD IS BROMLEY HALL?

From the outside it looks Georgian, a townhouse dating from the early 1700s.

Bromley Hall - Look Up London

However, renovations in 2003-4 by Leaside Regeneration Limited discovered it was far older. In fact, it’s one of the oldest houses in London!

Inside they found carved doorways and the timbers were dated to around 1485. To put that into perspective that is the same year as the Battle of Bosworth, when King Richard III is defeated by King Henry VII, starting the Tudor dynasty.

This was formerly a Manor House, part of South Bromley and shown on John Rocque’s Map.

Bromley Hall Shown on John Rocque map 1746

Image from layersoflondon.org © OpenStreetMap contributors

Above where I’ve ringed Bromley Hall, you can also see Three Mills, another historic survivor.

Related Post Three Mills History, Bromley By Bow

Ok, yes, it was largely remodelled c.1700. But the Grade II* listing notes that the octagonal corner turrets and brick string courses (the horizontal line of brick that juts out above the ground floor) are part of the 16th century building.

Bromley Hall - Look Up London
Bromley Hall - Look Up London

HISTORY OF BROMLEY HALL

The building we see today was first constructed on top of the walls of Holy Trinity Priory. The Museum of London Archeology team confirmed that remains found below the ground floor dates from c.1255.

In 1509 the monastery granted a 30-year lease to John Blount, a bodyguard of King Henry VIII. John’s daughter, Elizabeth, caught Henry’s ever-wandering eye and the pair had an son; Henry Fitzroy.

Bromley Hall - Look Up London

To be home to the son of the King, despite being illegitimate, gives you an idea of how lavish this house might have appeared and there’s a great reconstruction of what the house might’ve looked like  from Paul Latham here.

After the reformation, the crown seized the land in 1531-2 and held it until 1606. It was bought as a country lodge by Sir Arthur Ingram, MP for York and buried in Westminster Abbey.

Sir Arthur Ingram, Bromley Hall

Image from Wikimedia – Public Domain – George Geldrop – c.1641

Ingram partly rebuilt the house in 1625 and during the 17th and 18th century it was bought, sold and lived in by various City merchants.

Throughout its long history it’s been a residence, a printing works, a missionary HQ, a hospital and a warehouse.

You can also read the original article from Institute of Historic Building Conservation here. It includes pictures of the wooden Tudor doorways from page 17.

Bromley Hall Railings - Look Up London

Oldest House in London?

So, it begs the question, what is the oldest house in London?

Well, by most accounts the oldest inhabited house in London is 41-42 Cloth Fair – which we see on my Guts & Glory Walking Tour.

Cloth Fair - Oldest House in London - Look Up London

It was built in 1614 and is still lived in today. It’s also the subject of Fiona Rule’s book; The Oldest House in London.

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11 Comments

  • Valerie Coulson

    Reply

    Brilliant always wondrered about this house and its history, forgot about it since moving from london thank you brilliant article to read …

    November 11, 2020 at 7:33 am
  • Sarah Latimer-Sayer

    Reply

    What a incredibly thorough and well researched item on a fascinating London building. Thank you Katie,

    November 11, 2020 at 7:41 am
  • Neil Kramer

    Reply

    That’s really great, I drive past Bromley Hall at least 3 days a week and have always looked at it. Such a shame it has the A12 roaring by it.

    November 11, 2020 at 9:22 am
  • Peter Coombe

    Reply

    Have you ever visited Walthamstow Village? It has a house dating back to the 15th Century, which is appropriately known as “The Ancient House” and looks it too.

    November 11, 2020 at 11:16 am
  • Mark Mellor

    Reply

    Really, interesting Katie, especially as I’m always keen to discover more of London’s oldest houses (as you know!). I was aware of 41-42 Cloth Fair, but not this house. Interesting too, how it was felt it had to be “modernised” in Georgian times by changing its outward appearance. And amazing how it’s survived in that location.

    November 11, 2020 at 4:27 pm
  • Sutton House in Hackney, home to Thomas Cromwell’s protege, Ralph Sadler, was built in 1535. Have you been?

    November 12, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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