The present mansion was built from 1752-58 by the architect John Sanderson for the owner John Conyers. The mansion was altered in 1775 and again in 1895 when it was also extended for the then owner, E.J. Wythes. The mansion was burnt in 1917 and asset stripped from 1950. The M25 was built through a corner of the Grade II* listed landscaped park in 1980.
The mansion is superbly sited on high ground at the end of a ridge. Like many similar houses, it was built on an ancient site of human habitation. Recorded history starts in the 13th century when there was a mansion on the site. The Abbots of Waltham held the property from 1350 until 1537 when Henry VIII took it from them. Elizabeth I gave the estate to Sir Thomas Heneage who built a substantial mansion incorporating parts of the earlier building. Almost all of this structure was pulled down in 1748. The present house was built on a site a few hundred yards to the southeast.
After a nine-year campaign against aggressive development proposals, the heavily vandalised and overgrown site was saved by the specially formed Copped Hall Trust when it purchased the freehold of the mansion, stables, ancillary buildings and gardens in 1995. Apart from permanently protecting the site, the purpose of the Trust is, firstly, to carefully restore the buildings and gardens after detailed research and, secondly, to establish relevant educational, cultural and community uses.
The parkland surrounding Copped Hall had been saved by the Conservators of Epping Forest – The City of London when they purchased this in 1992. The Conservators are committed to the restoration of the parkland, the reintroduction of animals and to the preservation of this important wildlife habitat.
In 1999 the Trust acquired the completely derelict Walled Kitchen Garden, one of the largest in Essex. After 13 years, all the undergrowth has been cleared from the garden and the glasshouses. This work has been largely carried out by volunteers. The garden is now mainly planted with produce sold locally and to visitors. One glasshouse has been restored with two others under way.
The Copped Hall Trust has made substantial progress in the last 17 years. The Racquets Court and the stables have been largely restored, together with other service buildings. Much work has been carried out clearing the gardens of non-original vegetation. Replacement trees have been planted and lawns re-seeded. Internally, the mansion is to be restored to its 1750s’ form, and since 2001 some of the roof and floor structures have been reinstated and essential structural repairs carried out. Since 1998 the Trust has been supported in its work by a Friends organisation which now has more than 1,000 members. From these members a very committed band of volunteers assists with all aspects of the project.