Built between 1730 and 1750 as the home of the Jackson family; a then prominent member of the community. John Jackson was appointed Receiver General for Huntingdonshire in the 176O’s. The house was more important then than now, for she was supported by 600 acres, most of this park and farmland lying opposite the house where the school now stands. The gardens behind the house were of course overlooked by the fine old wooden mill and extended onto the pretty island connected to the gardens by Godmanchesters first Chinese Bridge built in 1748.

The Jacksons did not stay for long in their new-built capital messuage, for in 1802 with debtors pressing John Jacksons son was forced to auction the property in order to pay off his gambling debts and the house with its acreage and 24 cottages was sold for 2000 guineas . The purchaser was a Swiss emigrée named Jacob Julian Baumgartner who came to England in 1760 and achieved British citizenship in 1766. He was succeeded by his eldest son John, who was a qualified doctor and would treat the people of Godmanchester for free in the tack room of the mews cottage.

John’s son, General Robert Baumgartner, KCB. returned from India to take on the estate in 1877 and other, than infrequent visits in between campaigns took little interest in the Hall. He was succeeded upon his death by his second daughter Violet who by her first marriage to Major William Beart* bore three children. Mrs. Beart was the first to make changes to the house since the 18th Century by adding a wing on the west side of the main hall and two rooms on top of the kitchen wing, added to which this lady had the first bathroom in Godmanchester installed by Messrs. Thomas Crapper and Sons of Chelsea. -

One hundred and forty years of ownership by the Baumgartners was brought to an abrupt end when in 1942 the house was requisitioned by the RAF. It was never to return, for after the war the council purchased what remained of the e s t a t e and converted the house into flats. The fire of 1977 made the house uninhabitable and it was sold to the Heritage family who have worked hard since 1979 to restore the Hall to a semblance of her former self.

From April 6th to September 12th the Hall will be open every afternoon except Mondays and Fridays from 2pm to 5pm. 


*Correction that was spotted in 2017. Violet Baumgartner was married to Major Frederick Robert Beart. not William Beart. Thanks to Jacqui Beart for contacting the museum with this information.