REFORMATION AND RENAISSANCE
Few mansions were built during the Commonwealth period, but a particularly fine example is Thorpe Hall, in Peterborough, built in the 1650s for Cromwell’s Lord Chief Justice. Features include a symmetrical façade, rectangular windows with curved or triangular pediments above them, and chimneys now grouped in fours in a square layout. The mansard-style roof features elegant dormer windows.
Readily seen from passing trains on the East Coast Main Line is Hinchingbrooke House, at Huntingdon. It was initially an Elizabethan house built by the Cromwell family on the site of a nunnery, which had been dissolved by Henry VIII. Hinchingbrooke was remodelled and enlarged by Edward Montagu (the Earl of Sandwich) in the 17th century with input from his second cousin Samuel Pepys, who thought it was a fine house but bemoaned the money spent, a common remorse among those who renovate property! The result is a mixture of styles, with a gatehouse moved from Ramsey Abbey and with much to see, including the skeletons of two nuns in stone coffins under the stairs. It now accommodates the sixth form of Hinchingbrooke School.