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A charming and peaceful Georgian house and simple garden
Rainham Hall is a remarkably intact merchant’s house dating from the early 18th century. Built in 1729 for Captain John Harle, a local merchant, it held a pivotal place in Rainham Village for two centuries, connecting village life with river commerce, right up until the 1920s. The Hall and its cluster of associated buildings (comprising the Coach House and the Lodge) are situated in the centre of Rainham Village in Essex, next to the Norman church of St Helen and St Giles. Together, Rainham Hall and the church form a visually attractive ‘heart’ of the village.
All the individual buildings are Grade II* listed and together they form a coherent historic environment, representative of the domestic life and commercial activities of Captain Harle. Such close grouping of an owner’s domestic and commercial premises was normal – the site is significant because it seems to be a rare survival of a practice which was once widespread.
The Hall and Coach House were a focal point for Captain Harle’s trading activities, which were an important factor in the development of Rainham Village in the 18th century. It is a rare witness of the river trade which forms such an important aspect of local and regional history.
Garden and grounds
The 18th-century wrought-iron railings at the front of the house are a significant feature of the site as they represent some of the finest work of London smiths of the time. Also of note are the Victorian dog-kennels, which we have recently restored.
Comprising two acres, the garden is a favourite feature of the site and exactly the sort of ‘open-air sitting room’ Octavia Hill, one of our founders, envisioned for city-dwellers. A 30-tree orchard has recently been replanted, making it one of the largest in London.