Brandon Old Hall (not to be confused with Brandon Hall) dates from the 15th century and was rebuilt in 1637. Prior to this the site is believed to have been a nunnery. It’s said that Hereward the Wake sheltered here in the 11th century, as did a knight escaping from the Battle of Stoke Field in 1487.
The first occupant of the Old Hall we can confirm is 1850 when William Robinson (born Brandon 1815) had the tenancy of the house and the 600 acre farm. However, his father (William, born 1772), grandfather (Francis, born 1732) and great-grandfather (William) had lived in the village, so they too may have been here.
William Robinson lived here until his death in 1886, with the amount of land farmed varying between 750 acres in 1871 and 350 acres in 1881. He was followed by his son, also William (born 1846) until at least 1896 when, after his sister’s death, he moved away.
The next tenant we know (between 1905 and 1919) was Alfred Christopher Bratley. He was followed (1922-1950s) by James Algernon Rudkin.
Note: These are the tenants who leased the Old Hall and associated farmland from the actual owners.
In 1607, James I planted a mulberry tree in the garden of the Old Hall as part of a long line of similar trees up and down the country, to encourage the English silk trade. But instead of planting a white mulberry, upon which silk worms thrive, he planted a black one. In 2009 Prince Charles planted a white mulberry near the original tree (which is still there).