Gainford Hall as it stands today was built in 1603 as a manor house for John Cradock who was appointed Vicar of Gainford in 1594. A shield over the north doorway is inscribed ‘John Cradock 1600’. The building was restored during the late C19th.
The house with its characteristic steeply pitched roof and stone mullioned windows is based on a highly sophisticated plan possibly drawn up by architect Robert Smythson. It incorporates many Tudor features within its Hall and Great Chamber including the arched doorways, fireplace and internal oak panelling.
A year after it was built Cradock was appointed Archdeacon of Northumberland and in 1619, became Chancellor to the Bishop of Durham. When he died in 1627 it was rumoured that he had been poisoned by his wife who was subsequently tried and acquitted.
Earthworks near Gainford Hall may have been the remains of a castle or manor house believed to have been repaired by Bishop Antony Beck (1283-1310).
Gainford Hall is located on Low Road on the western edge of the village of Gainford in County Durham (OS Grid Ref NZ 168168)