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Relhan Collection : 283a Sawston Hall N Front

Relhan, Richard, 1782-1844

Relhan Collection

<p style='text-align: justify;'><p>Labelled ‘Sawston Hall’. The eastern part of the front drawn on a strip from top to bottom that curiously does not match the whole length and still does not reach the end of the building. Sawston Hall, burned by a Protestant mob or the Duke of Northumberland (or both), was rebuilt by Sir John Huddleston (284) and his son Edmund between 1557 and 1584, perhaps incorporating parts of the N range of the earlier house. It was the only Elizabethan mansion in Cambs to be built of stone (limestone, ironstone and clunch rubble) and the only one built around a courtyard. There were alterations in C18, and in mid C19 Ferdinand Huddleston added an extra range along the N side of the courtyard, with large windows and tall chimneys. Other windows were renewed with mullions and transoms to match C16 ones, preserving the appearance Relhan drew. There is a chapel, which with its Jesuit priests had always been secretly maintained by the Catholic Huddlestons but in 1791 could be openly and fashionably decorated and equipped. There is also a late C16 priests’ hole and two other later hiding-places. Richard (d. 1760) and Ferdinand Huddleston (d. 1808) were good friends with Cole, who often stayed at Sawston Hall, where he made full use of their archives and library (and meals). Catholic worship could still be a criminal offence but the high churchman Cole never worried about this. In 1757 Cole describes the house as ‘<i>a great rambling awkward one, much too big for the present possessor, who yet can’t tell well how to lessen with safety; there is a very good Hall and an excellent long gallery; the private chapel is a gloomy garret and no ways ornamented; it is quite out of the way by accident, and in case of confusion, the tabernacle and altar may easily be removed</i>’. The priest, Mr Champion, lived in a room next to the chamber for 30 years. In C18 the Hall again became a family home and many repairs were made for Henry Huddleston (<b>285</b>) and a large family, and this family life continued under Ferdinand. During WW2 Sawston Hall was the headquarters of the <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>66th Fighter Wing</a>, part of the USAAF <a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href=''>Eighth Air Force</a>. When its owner, Captain Reginald Eyre-Huddleston RN, returned from the war it was not possible for him to restore the house and in 1982 it was became a language school, when it lost the remaining furniture and many fittings. It was sold again 2010 and is now (2020) a private house.</p><p>Palmer 1932; Teversham 1943; Saunders P pers comm; Wikipedia</p></p>

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