The Brickmakers of St Albans
A Talk given to the St Albans & Hertfordshire Architectural & Archaeological Society at St Albans on 7th January 2003

Gorhambury, St Michaels, St Albans

By the second half of the 16th century brick was being extensively used in the construction of large country houses, such as at Gorhambury. Only the ruins of the brick built Great Hall, including an ornate porch, remain but is seems likely that local workmen and materials were used whenever possible, as the following account shows:

In the construction of [Sir Nicholas Bacon’s] new country seat, he used the services of local workmen, allowing them to follow their own traditions and only introducing outside specialists at key points. He made use of materials from the de Gorham house, and also from the old Abbey buildings at St Albans, then in process of demolition. Building work started in 1563, but records of it are meagre: only a single sheet of accounts for the period 1563-8 survives amongst the papers at Lambeth Palace Library. … It ends with a note that ‘there is not accounted for in this brief any timber felled within any [of] your Lordship’s woods nor otherwise of any person, neither is there valued any free stone brought from the Abbey of St Albans, lime, sand, nor the profits that might have accrued of burning and making of brick within the time above mentioned’. The total cost, excluding these stated exceptions, comes to £3,177 11s 9¼d. It shows that in addition to the reuse of materials in the form of stone and flint, Sir Nicholas also made use of a large quantity of brick made on the estate, where the clay soil is ideal for brick-making.

The Grimstons of Gorhambury by Norah King

< Previous Foil 08 Next >

Supplementary Information

Picture from A Guide to St Albans and Verulamium by R. L. P. Jowlett

See also Place: Gorhambury

If you can add to the information given above tell me.