Creeksea Place, on Ferry Road, is a wonderful 16th century house set among woods and complete with ornamental lakes.
It is NOT open to the public, but you can sometimes arrange to take a closer look – see the link at the bottom of the page.
It also has its own caravan park.
Creeksea is within the North Ward of Burnham on Crouch.
Creeksea Place History
It was built in 1569 by Maldon MP Sir Arthur Harris (or Herrys), though some reports refer to the 1556 will of William Harris, also MP for Maldon and a landowner in Rochford, Mundon, Southminster and Foulness Island, which,apparently, refers to ‘a new house at Crixeth’.
It is thought the house originally consisted of three, possibly, four buildings surrounding a courtyard, with a long wing running from north to south. One of the original lead rain-water heads, complete with the date ‘1569’ moulded on its face side, still exists today.
Around 1740, the southern part of the house, together with the enclosing walls of the garden, were dismantled and the materials sold, leaving standing only the outer courtyard enclosure, the north range and the west wing.
A number of original features still exist such as a moulded oak door frame, original windows with brick mullions, transoms and square-moulded labels and superb chimney stacks with octagonal shafts.
Creeksea Place was reputed to have been the home of Anne Boleyn; the story goes that her spirit was said to have been seen walking from the old cottage near the Ceeksea ferry. There are other ghost stories associated with the house and grounds.
The secret tunnel
Anne Boleyn’s daughter, Queen Elizabeth I, is thought to have met her soldiers near the Creeksea Ferry – the story went that they came to meet her from Rochford (on the other side of the river) through a tunnel that, some claim, ran under the Crouch. Large Tudor drains full of oyster shells have been uncovered but not the tunnel itself.
The Boleyns were an Essex family.
Former Burnham cafe owner, Howard Watling, added this information, in November 2019: ‘Glyn Westhorp told me that when he was a teenager he was in Creeksea Place when it was semi derelict & they found the tunnel entrance in the kitchen. They were about to enter to explore, when someone suggested that they should put their dog down first instead, in case of rats, or ” bad air”(methane). The dog never came out, so they ran away. Could have been a medieval drain or …?’
Lord Mildmay was the Keeper of the Crown Jewels for King Charles I.
Mildmay had married into the Harris family and, by the laws of the day, eventually became the owner of Creeksea Place.
He is reputed to have been one of the twelve state elders who subsequently signed the death warrant for King Charles I.
After the accession to the throne of King Charles II, Lord Mildmay was said to have been arrested at Creeksea and accused of regicide.
He was later pardoned.
See also Ghost Stories...
The Sword of Creeksea Place
The Great Sword of Creeksea Place rested for nearly three hundred years on a platform at the head of the oak spiral staircase which led up to the attics of the old house.
It is a court sword of the early 17th century, with a hilt and pommel covered with chased silver in various designs, the Tudor rose being the most prominent.
It is said that one man alone, with the sword in his right hand, could have held the spiral staircase against attack. Unless, presumably, one of his assailants had a crossbow…
The sword is now kept at All Saints Church, a short distance from Creeksea Place.
Creeksea Place – WW2 to today
Creeksea Place was used by British military units during World War II but, since that time, the main building has been uninhabited. It is only in recent times that a concerted effort has begun to restore the house to its former elegance by creating a variety of useful purposes for the buildings. The funds deriving from these activities will, it is hoped, allow a gradual, but complete, restoration of Creeksea Place and its magnificent surroundings for the public to appreciate.
It is owned now by the Bertorelli family, and is regularly used as a filming location. It is also a wedding venue.