History behind grade-II listed building in Stanford

By Nub News Reporter

3rd Mar 2024 | Local History

St Clere's Hall.
St Clere's Hall.

In her latest occasional feature Susan Yates, the chair of Thurrock Local History Society, puts the spotlight on the Adams famil (no, not that one!)


IN my last column I wrote about Rev James Adams of South Ockendon and onetime owner of New Jenkins, Mucking. This time I thought you might like to know a little more about the Adams family and New Jenkins itself.

New Jenkins is known today as St Cleres Hall and is Grade-II* listed but was originally called New Jenkins to distinguish it from Old Jenkins, formerly Butts Lane Farm just a few hundred yards away.

Butts Lane takes its name from the archery butts once situated there near the junction of Butts Lane and Stanford Road.   

Old Jenkins most probably took its name from John Jenkins in 1563. It was William Wilson the farmer who bought the house and in 1934 transferred the name St Clere's Hall from a house in East Tilbury. It was also this farmer who installed the large wooden over mantel in 1932 brought from a mansion in Kent. 

New Jenkins was built in 1735 for James Adams, who was at that time Clerk of the Stables to George II (from 1727 to 1760); as you face the house in Stanford Road the oldest wing is to your left and is late 17th century. 

This two storey wing on the east side is of plasterwork over a timber frame, which is visible in places, and has a red plain tile msndsrd roof. 

The part built for James Adams is the red brick structure. This Early Georgian style house has two storeys plus attic and a crenelated parapet.  It also has a very unusual "portcullis" arrangement (the machinery survives in the attic) enabling the combining/dividing of two rooms.  

James Adams senior bought the estate from his wife Mary's brother, Ralph de Lalo Spicer, in 1730.  On 5th May 1764 James Adams insured the house with the Hand in Hand Company. The building was valued at £1,025. The policy was renewed by James junior in 1771 and 1778 showing the same values.  I wonder if the premiums were the same too.  

Interestingly when James senior died in 1765 he was buried at St Margaret of Antioch, Stanford-le-hope and his tomb is listed Grade-II. It is very impressive and is decorated with the symbols of death and eternity, it was moved westward by several yards and turned when the vestry was added at the west end of the church.  When James Adams died he was buried in linen, not flannel, which was the law at the time and so his estate was fined £2.10s. 0d. The proceeds went towards the relief of the poor. James Adams's elaborate tomb can still be seen in St Margaret's Churchyard but it is currently in need of repair.

Ralph de Lalo Spicer had inherited the property from his grandfather John Spicer in 1702. John Spicer came into possession of New Jenkins through his second wife Mary Gill whom he married 13th January 1679/80. 

Mary was one of the three unmarried daughters of Robert Gill of Jenkins when she inherited the estate. 

Robert Gill was the son of Ralph Gill born circa 1579 and Ann Heneage of Hoxton. Robert inherited the estate aged 8 years in 1609. Ralph inherited the estate from his father Thomas Gill. Thomas acquired the estate by marriage to his third wife Elizabeth Gatton, who was the daughter of Thomas Burgess or Bruges and widow of Eugenius Gatton of Jenkins, whom he married in December 1591. 

When James Adams senior bought the estate the house name was changed to Adamsley, as seen on the Chapman and Andre map of 1777, later renamed the Rookery, which gave its name to Rookery Corner, and ultimately St Cleres Hall. On the death of James Adams junior, in 1797, the estate passed to his daughter Frances, born 26th February 1774, wife of Captain Beauchamp Newton Cooper. 

The estate then passed to their son Rev Charles Beauchamp Cooper in 1824. The last record I could find was William Wilson farmer owning New Jenkins in 1927. 

The building became the clubhouse for St Clere's golf club and since that closed, has been used as a private dwelling.


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