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Hall Place, Berkshire College of Agriculture, Berkshire, England

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THE HALL or HALL PLACE. Berkshire College of Agriculture, Berkshire, England

THE HALL or HALL PLACE appears to have been an estate of a family called Hurley. John de Hurley was a landholder in Hurley in the first half of the 13th century. Disputes with the prior about the payment of Peter's pence, about attendance at the prior's view of frankpledge, and about his right to take estovers in the prior's wood were settled by arbitration in 1234. John appears to have been succeeded by Robert de Hurley, to whom the prior quitclaimed a certain meadow (wyca) in Hurley about 1254.

In 1274 Robert executed a bond to refer to certain arbitrators, of whom one was the Abbot of Medmenham, any fresh disputes which might arise over wood, warren or other matters after the settlement which had then been made by Robert and his son Ralph and the latter's brothers to the prior's satisfaction.  Robert de Hurley was living in 1295, when he granted to the convent 3 acres of land super Staundone and 1 subtus Staundon in exchange for the croft called Clemencehulle and land under Mareysdoune.Ralph had succeeded before 1301, when the prior sued him for exceeding the right to 'reasonable estovers' for housbote and heybote in the wood of Hurley granted to John de Hurley. In 1320 Geoffrey, brother and heir of Ralph, quitclaimed the estovers to the prior,  who granted a corrody to him and his wife Isabel and his daughter Amice, and also recognized his claim to a view of frankpledge to be held by the prior's stewards outside the priory gate on the day that the prior's view was held.Geoffrey made a marriage settlement of his lands on his son William and the latter's wife Christine in 1318.  He also had several daughters on whom he settled lands. William was dead by 1325, and Geoffrey himself died in 1326 or 1327. The lands held by the two widows Isabel and Christine and the greater part of the lands settled on the daughters were acquired by the Prior of Hurley in 1340–3. 

The heir of Geoffrey de Hurley was Ellen wife of John de Amersham, a minor, presumably the daughter of his son William. In 1331 Thomas de Amersham, her guardian, leased 'the Stonehouse,' which she had inherited from Geoffrey, to Walter le Cook, and in 1337 Ellen with her husband granted the house to him in perpetuity. In 1344 Walter le Cook quitclaimed it to the prior.John de Amersham was probably dead by 1361, when Thomas his son acquired a messuage in Hurley from Margery Howton, daughter of Geoffrey de Hurley. Ralph son of John de Amersham apparently succeeded before 1372, when Richard atte Boure, citizen of London, assigned the 'manor of Hall' to the priory, evidently on behalf of Ralph de Amersham, who quitclaimed to the prior in 1375.

Hall Place was among the possessions of Hurley Priory at its dissolution, and in 1536 was farmed by Katherine Burges and William her son. It is described as a capital messuage in 1573 at the death of Andrew Newberry, who had settled it in 1557 on his son William. In 1591 information of intrusion was laid against William Newberry for entering upon the queen's property of Hall Place and in 1609 it was granted, as late of Hurley Priory and afterwards of St. Peter's, Westminster, to Edward Charde and Robert Fawcett in trust for Sir Richard Mompesson, then the occupant. It appears to have been acquired by Henry Alford, son of John Alford of Fawley, for in 1623 he is returned as of Hall Place. He then had a son William, aged sixteen. Nothing further is known of its history until 1725, when it was purchased from Sir Jacob Banks by Richard Pennel, who sold it three years later to William East of the Manor House, Kennington. The latter pulled down the old house and built the new one (see above). He died in 1737, and was succeeded by his son William East, created a baronet in 1766. His son Gilbert, who succeeded him in 1819, died without issue in 1828, when Hall Place devolved on his nephew Sir East George Clayton, second son of his sister (of the half blood) Mary wife of Sir William Clayton, bart., who in 1829 assumed the surname of East and in 1838 was created a baronet. He died in 1851 and was buried at Hurley. Hall Place descended to his son Sir Gilbert East, second baronet, who died in 1866 and whose son Sir Gilbert Augustus Clayton East, bart., is the present owner.

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Berkshire College of Agriculture is a further education agricultural college based at Hall Place in Burchetts Green at Hurley, near Maidenhead, in Berkshire. It was formed in 1949 as the Berkshire Institute of Agriculture.