|HCC Site ID:||1326||Parish:||East Meon|
|Designations:||SDNP, CA, House LB I||Area:||c 1 ha|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and site
Court House is situated in the village of East Meon, at the foot of Parkhill. Coming from West Meon, it lies just past the church of East Meon and is within the South Downs National Park.
Of origin the site was a medieval ecclesiastical court house at the centre of a huge estate of 19,000 acres belonging to the Bishop of Winchester, which was rebuilt in 1395-7, for William of Wykeham. Designed by William Winford, the court house was added onto the earlier building consisting of the Bishop’s chamber and a chapel. A few years later, Cardinal Beaufort glazed the windows and rebuilt the wing at the west end (the solar wing or chapel wing). The latter was demolished around 1600 and a farmhouse wing built on the east side. It was described in 1647 in a Parliamentary Survey as: ‘…..strongly built…having a large hall, a large parlour, a dining room, a kitchen, a buttery, a larder, a day-house, a kiln, three lodging-chambers, a corn chamber, a cheese chamber, with some other little rooms.’ In short, quite a large ‘farm’. The document also mention a gatehouse, dovecote, two gardens and a vineyard on the site; also barns, a tithe barn and a granary. The gatehouse existed until at least 1950. 1647, the Court House was sold, although apart from a very short spell, the rest of the Manor remained with the Ecclesiastical Commissioners until the mid-19th century. At some time in the 17th century a timber-framed brick and flint barn was built to the west of the Court House, with a thatched roof and weather vane.
About 1770 a thatched cottage was added on the site. From the 17th century to the 1920’s the Court House was used as an ordinary farm, surrounded by farm buildings, the large medieval fishpond and a midden.
The 1st ed OS map, 25 “, names the building Court Farm with ‘remains of a Monastery’. It shows several acres of possible gardens to the East of the house, a large fishpond to the SW and an orchard beyond. A well lies in the NW corner. On the 2nd ed, 1896-7 the property is named Court House.
In 1880 the property was for sale with 778 acres, a flower garden and kitchen garden. In the late early 20th century the west end of the 14th century court house was divided into three ‘flats’ for farm workers.
In 1926 the property, now in a sorry state, was bought by Morley Horder, an Arts and Crafts architect, who not only restored the court house but incorporated the 16th century farmhouse to the east to create a house around it, using Arts and Crafts techniques and designs. This necessitated the removal of most of the farm buildings and yard allowing him to lay out impressive gardens on three sides of the enlarged house. A stone terrace was built up on the west and south sides of the house with stone steps down into the gardens. To the west of the house was a formal garden with yew hedges, herbaceous borders and lawns, orchards to the south-west and east and a kitchen garden to the north-east.
The Court House is a Grade I listed building and Court House Cottage Grade II. Most of the old farm buildings except the thatched barn now used as a garage, have disappeared. The separate thatched cottage remains. The main structure of Morley Horder’s garden is still there, with three distinct areas. Nearest to the house, there is ‘room’ with grass and herbaceous borders, separated by a long mature yew hedge from a second larger expanse of grass, again bounded by yew hedges. Turning left and across a path which runs alongside the west end of the historic court house, there is an attractive pond area which had been a swimming pool during the time of the previous owners. Turning left again, onto the path leading to the entrance to the house there are more beds and further to the east is the third of the ‘rooms’ with more lawn and flowerbeds. The garden is beautifully kept, maintaining the spirit of Morley Horder and the whole including the Court House thatched cottage, is surrounded by old flint walls of various heights.
A medieval court house once within a huge estate belonging to the Bishop of Winchester. Used as an ordinary farmhouse until bought in 1926, by the architect Morley Horder who created an Arts and Crafts house around the old court house with formal gardens rooms on three sides.
The site’s significance lies in its long history from monastic times until the 20th century, and incorporation of an Arts and Crafts residence and re-design of the gardens in the Arts and Crafts style, by Morley Horder
HGT Research: April 2007 and updated 2013
Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
Sales Particulars, 1880, 3M 64,
Sales Particulars, 1950 215M85/34
Sales Particulars, 1951, 159M88/365
Tithe map of East Meon 1853 (HRO)
1st ed OS map 25″, 1869, Hampshire County Council
2nd ed OS map 25″, 1896-7, Hampshire County Council
Standfield, F G A History of East Meon, 1984, (HRO)
Page W, Victoria County History, vol 3, pp65-67
AHBR record, Hampshire County Council