Saturday, 25 October 2008

Medieval Manor + Video

There is a beautiful moated Medieval manor house not far from us and Mike decided to pop down with his camera yesterday and took some photographs. I will give you a brief history.

The lord of the manor and the person who built this delightful property was Sir Richard de Southchurch who lived from 1225 until 1293. He was Sheriff of Essex and Hertfordshire. It was he who arranged for the construction of the property in, approximately, the year 1240.

In 1279 he became the King’s Steward. His son, Sir Peter de Southchurch was also appointed to high office. Sir Richard and Sir Peter were fighting men and it is believed that Sir Peter died on active service in Scotland in 1302.

Sir Peter’s wife died only five months later leaving two young daughters as heirs to the property. Sir Robert de Rochford obtained the sole guardianship and trusteeship of the heiresses and their fortune but their disinherited brother, Henry, made a determined attempt to obtain at least part of his father's estate. When he died in 1343, the male line of the de Southchurch family came to an end and the son of Alice de Southchurch granted the manor to one William Dersham, who was an officer in the Earl of Northampton’s household.

It was then leased for a while to John of Prittlewell who was a London spice merchant. He used it as surety for his friends, Messrs. Swanland, Chiriton and Company who were financiers to the King, but in 1349 the Black Death hit the southern seaports and London. The company crashed. The King foreclosed on the sureties. William was ruined and the revenues of the Manor were forfeited.

From then on the property was leased to a succession of tenants. The Manor was re-granted in 1545 to Sir Richard, Lord Riche. He leased the manor to a succession of wealthy tenant farmers and so it continued until 1650 when the manor was divided into two, becoming the Hall estate and Wick Farm. By the mid eighteenth century the Wick was the largest farm in the area. In the middle of the nineteenth century the hall was bought up and converted back into one single large farmhouse.

By 1900 the Hall had become known as Wiffen’s Farm. By the late nineteen-twenties it had fallen into a poor structural condition. In that year, a local Alderman presented the Hall to the County Borough and over the next two years it was restored and became a library. The surrounding medieval earthworks were turned into public gardens.

In 1974 the hall was finally opened as a museum and has been preserved for posterity. Centuries of history. It is like stepping back into another world.

Sometimes I wish it was possible to travel back in time. How I would have loved to have viewed it in the days when knights were bold, to be able to see them feasting, listen to the music they heard, see their wonderful costumes and the beautiful grounds as they originally were. In those days it would all have been surrounded by forest and farmland. No modern buildings, no roads only tracks, no cars. It must have been something to see when it was at its peak. However, its charm remains to this very day.

I have made Mike’s photos into a short video. The drawings you see hanging in some of the rooms are done by schoolchildren. The winning ones are chosen to hang in the hall for a limited period of time. As for the red plastic child’s chair, well there is no answer to that one

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the video. Wishing you all a happy weekend my dear friends and readers.



  1. ty for the history! always love learning about new things.
    the video was beautiful.
    have a wonderful wkend.

  2. I enjoyed this entry very much.

    Hugs, Rose

  3. So glad they have managed to save this lovely building it would have been such a shame to leave it to become a ruin as happens so often these day. Lovely pictures. LOve Joan.

  4. Hi Jeannette, It is really true that you learn something new every day...especially if we read your blog. That was lovely and very interesting! Have a nice Sat evening and Sunday...Ciao. Antonella

  5. What a beautiful place :)......alice

  6. I wonder what happened Jeannette, I definitly left a comment earlier. Never mind, I`ll start again.

    The manor house is really beautiful and the accompanying music was just right for it.

    Love Sandra xxxx

  7. Lovely photographs and interesting to be reminded of it's history. Yes, it would have been nice to be able to see it when it was first built and not surrounded on all sides by housing as it is now. Love B x

  8. Jeannette, thanks for this entry.
    What a beautiful house and grounds and history.
    Mike did a great job on the photos and you on the slide show with music to fit.
    Have good noght sleep and a nice Sunday, Bill

  9. Iloved reading the history of that Manor house bur the video wasnt available saddly so Idint get to see it ,I will however try later Jan xx

  10. I would love to see this in person - it looks beautiful and the history is so rich. I agree with you about how neat if would be if it were possible to go back in time and see the Manor as it was when it was filled with knights & residents.

    Thank you for sharing this, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  11. I have always loved reading your journal.It is sometimes full of great stories.

    Hugs Sunny

  12. Just gorgeous! So happy they have kept it as a museum for all of us to see!

    be well...

  13. Yes It worked this time ,how lovely ,the colours are amazing and I liked the one of the fire place with the vegetables and herbs Jan xx

  14. Love the video. I am so glad it's been saved.

  15. great entries jeannette. loved the pics take care mort xx

  16. I love history and old places so the tour your Mike gave us was very interesting for me. It is a beautiful place and thankfully was preserved for others to see. Thank you for putting the pictures together to share with all of us.
    'On Ya' - ma

  17. great video! it was nice to revisit Europe again momentarily. thanks!~kbear

  18. Your blog is lovely. I discovered it thru another blog, but don't remember which one. Come by The Serenity Gate when you get a chance. Blessings.

  19. Your blog is beautiful. Interesting postings and beautiful pictures. I happened upon it as I'm a regular visitor to Barbara's Serenity Gate.

  20. Thanks Jeannette I loved this entry!! I love visiting old places - I love history. Laine xxx

  21. Hi Jeannette - it is great to see you still posting. Enjoyed reading your recent entries very much,


  22. How wonderful to have live there when it was first built and how grand too. I enjoyed the photos of the grounds, they were magnificent. Eileen x

  23. I too would have loved to live in these times Jeannette.There are a few of these historical halls around where I live.Charlotte Bronte connections etc.Loved the video.Well done to Mike for the lovely pictures and well done you for making them into a video you are so clever.Thankyou for sharing.Sorry my comment is late I have been away for the week.Catching up tonight on commenting,phew it's late I must call it a day now.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  24. dear Jeanette
    what a lovely entry! thank you!
    the pictures are wonderful!


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