The house, currently a museum, was built for a local wool merchant, traditionally supposed to be Richard Ailwyn (or Aldwyn) in the fifteenth century. A dendrological study of the roof timbers reveal that the house was built in one phase, with a completion date of the majority of the present building in 1451. Richard Ailwyn’s son, Sir Nicholas Ailwyn, a member of the Mercers’ Company, became Lord Mayor of London in 1499. The house is substantially unchanged from that period, and would be recognisable to a visitor from the fifteenth century.
The Hall was reputed to have belonged to the Ayscough (Askew, Ainscough) family in the early part of the 16th century – Fee referring to the Knight’s Fee or living from the property. Early records name the house as Ayscough Fee Hall. A grant of land at Spalding was made to Sir William Ayscough (1490–1541) by Henry VIII.
In the seventeenth century, the Hall passed into the Johnson family. The most notable Johnson was the second Maurice Johnson, known as “the Antiquary” (1688–1755), who founded the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society (the second oldest antiquarian society still in existence) in 1710. Maurice Johnson was a good friend of the more famous local antiquarian William Stukeley.
When the last occupant left in 1896, the Hall & Gardens were bought on behalf of the people of Spalding as a memorial of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and was handed over to the town “free of debt” on 9 August 1902 in celebration of the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. Now a museum and civic amenity, the house was also used as a primary school for a number of years during the 20th century