Wanstead House

Has been described as a Possible Palace (Royal)

There are no visible remains

NameWanstead House
Alternative NamesWanstead Hall
Historic CountryEssex
Modern AuthorityLondon Borough of Redbridge
1974 AuthorityGreater London
Civil ParishWanstead

A Manor House is referred to from the C13 by the beginning of the C16 it was large enough to serve as a Royal hunting lodge; the deer park was empaled and stocked at that time and the building was altered and then rebuilt in the middle C16 (HKW). In the late C17 it was a quadrangular 2 storey house with many gables and furnished with 40 hearths; described by Pepys and visited by Royalty. A great new house was begun for Lord Rich in 1549 on a virgin site. The house was subsequently extended by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. This house was demolished in 1715 to make way for a new house designed by Colin Campbell for Sir Richard Child. No field remains relating to this house survive. The potential for sub surface deposits is poor as the house of 1715 was also demolished and robbed down to its cellar floors. (PastScape)

Little is known of the medieval pattern of settlement (of Wanstead) and no buildings survive from that period. The original parish church of St. Mary was a few yards from the present building, which replaced it in 1790. In the Middle Ages Wanstead House, the manor-house, probably stood near the church, as it certainly did in later centuries. Before the 16th century it was of no great size. From the 16th century Wanstead House, under a succession of royal and titled owners, was greatly enlarged. In the 18th century it was rebuilt as a Palladian mansion dominating the parish. (VCH)

Originally called Wanstead Hall, the house was probably quite a small building up until the 14th century, but by 1499 it was large enough to serve as a royal hunting-lodge. Henry VII and Henry VIII both hunted in the manor; it was during the latter's reign that Wanstead Park was inclosed, shortly before 1512, and it is probable that this involved the clearing of some of the wooded area. At about this time Aldersbrook became a separate, neighbouring, manor

Wanstead remained a Royal manor for a number of years, passing into the temporary possession of one royal favourite after another as keepers. Sir John Heron was keeper of the estate until his death in 1521; he also held lands in Aldersbrook and is reputed that he brought herons to the area. A heronry is shown on Lincoln Island on an OS map of 1919. Lord Richard Rich, High Chancellor of England, was keeper of the manor in 1543, and In 1549 Edward VI granted him the lordship of the manor of Wanstead and the Park. In 1577 Rich's son Robert sold it to Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, who bought the manor of Stonhall in Ilford at the same time. (Wanstead House and the Parklands - a history)

Not scheduled

Not Listed

Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceTQ410875
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  • Cornish, A., 1982, Wanstead Park - A Chronicle (Friends of Wanstead Parklands)
  • Colvin, H.M., Ransome, D.R. and Summerson, John, 1982, The history of the King's Works, Vol. 4: 1485-1660 (part 2) (London) p. 282-3
  • Powell, W.R., 1973, VCH Essex Vol. 6 p. 317-22 online transcription


  • 1954, Essex Review Vol. 58 p. 67-82
  • Tasker, G.E., 1898, 'Wanstead: its manor and palace' Essex Review Vol. 7 p. 213-30