The Hermitage at Braxted Park

The Hermitage at Braxted Park, formerly known, inaccurately, as the Ice House, is one of the most mysterious and enigmatic lakeside buildings in any English parkland setting. Architectural and garden historians are perplexed by its origins and rarely can agree on its original function. The best guess is that it was some sort of “folly” probably originally commissioned by the first Peter DuCane when he built Braxted Park with Sir Robert Taylor in the late 18th century.

During the 1980’s deterioration caused by tree roots pulling the foundations this way and that really set in. Movement was unsustainable and the building half collapsed. It has been a Building at Risk on English Heritage’s register for several decades. It was unsafe and closed to the public. Restoration costs were prohibitive and there it lay discarded and neglected by all except a decent bat population who liked to roost in its nooks and crannies.

Duncan Clark's efforts in securing finance for a complete restoration were eventually successful when English Heritage were persuaded to commission some  research on the building’s history  which  justified  funds being extended to help towards the project. Happily, the Country House Foundation supplied the balance of the Funds required, with the Estate making its contribution as well.

In recognition of the excellence of the restoration work, the project was awarded the 2011 Maldon District Council Building Conservation award.