Harvington’s imposing moat and artificial island can be traced back to the 13th-century, making them even older than the bulk of the 14th-century building work that still, amazingly, survives behind a layer of brick.
In 1529 Harvington was sold to a wealthy lawyer, Sir John Pakington. We have documentation to say that he was provided with a special grant by Henry VIII, permitting him to wear his hat in the King’s presence!
It wasn’t until Sir John’s great-nephew, Humphrey Pakington, inherited the estate in 1578 that the Elizabethan Manor we know and love today came into being.
Despite its impressive scale, Harvington is currently only half its original size as two additional wings were demolished c1700.
Being Catholic, Humphrey was subject to the harsh penal laws of the Elizabethan age. Humphrey was a recusant, meaning he refused to attend the Church of England service on From 1585 it was illegal for a Catholic priest to step foot in England, making it necessary for Humphrey to equip Harvington with impressive priest holes.
After Humphrey died in 1631, Harvington was the dower house of his wife Abigail. In 1657 she died, leaving the Hall to her daughter Lady Mary Yate. We know that Mary moved back into her family home and died at Harvington in 1696 at the age of 85.