LYMING, Robert
(ca. 1558-1628)

Exterior view

Hatfield House, Hertfordshire

Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire. The present Jacobean house, was built in 1607-12 by Robert Cecil (1563-1612), 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I. It is a leading example of the prodigy house, a term for large and showy English country houses built by courtiers and other wealthy families in the periods of Tudor, Elizabethan, and Jacobean architecture.

The U-shaped house is a distinguished example of a Jacobean nobleman's house, with a central hall and two symmetrical wings. The large two-storey hall with its minstrels' gallery and plastered ceiling is a development of the English medieval hall. The state apartments are on the first floor, in the Italian style. The oak staircase that leads to these apartments is one of the finest in England.

The U-shaped ground plan is an innovation after Longleat House (organized around courtyards), Audley End House (with two courtyards) and the compact designs of Wollaton Hall and Hardwick Hall. Robert Cecil, who had an affinity to architecture, certainly played a role in the design.

The photo shows the north side with the main entrance.

View the ground floor plan of Hatfield House.