Although locally it has always been associated with Burbage, Wolfhall actually only became part of the parish in 1988. Prior to that it belonged to Grafton, and prior to that to Great Bedwyn (which contained both Grafton and Burbage in Saxon times). In the Doomsday book of 1086 it is referred to as Ulfela. The following photographs are copies of postcards issued about 1907.
Wolfhall from the south (rear view)
The same view today
The original building (of which very little remains) was the
ancestral home of the Wardens of Savernake Forest. Originally the Esturmys
then, via the female line, the Seymours lived here until abandoning it during
the latter part of the 16th century. By 1575 the family was living at its
replacement, Tottenham Lodge (an old hunting lodge in Tottenham Park), about 1
mile away. The house was then used for servants but gradually became more
dilapidated until the majority of it was demolished about 1665 to help restore
the fire-damaged house at Tottenham Park.
During Edward VI's reign his uncle (later made the duke of Somerset) was Lord Protector until being beheaded for treason. It was during this period that the family's fortunes and the house fell into decline although the former were to be revived during Elizabeth's reign.
largely Victorian building was being lived in by Lord Frederick Bruce when the
photos were taken. During lord Bruce's tenancy he noticed a small stained glass
window commemorating Henry and Jane. It is believed to be contemporary of the
period and was moved to the chancel of Great Bedwyn's church where it can still
John Aubrey visited the area in 1672 and said of Wulfhall :-
"..the ancient seate of the Sturmeys, which house has been much bigger, and great part pulled downe within these 10 years to build the house of Tottenham Parke. I remember a long gallery. It was never but a timber house, v Camden (although he does not actually mention the material). Here is a very long barne of ..... bays, and 3 porches of timber and thatcht : in this barne, then 1536, hung with tapestry was a wedding kept for Queen Jane."
J.E. Jackson added in 1862 :-
"The name is
derived from a probable Saxon owner Ulph. Under the name Ulfela it was held at
the Conquest by Ralph de Halville an officer of the King's. In the time of
Henry III it was, together with the greater part of the district around, part
of the fee of the Earl's Marshal under whom there were three landowners :
Robert Beauchamp; Hugh Poer ; Richard Berenger. Under Beauchamp, Henry Esturmi
held Wulfhall in 3 Ed I. By 6 Ed III, Sir Roger de Stock had it. The Earl
Marshall as owner was afterwards represented here, as at Bedwyn, by the Lords
Stafford, under whom the Esturmy family continued until their heiress brought
it to the Seymours."
©Colin Younger 1997-2000