Please note: This house does not offer free entry to Historic House members.
For alternative options please see other opening options.
Recently conserved from impending dereliction, furnished with old oak and an in-depth history.
Financed out of the income from the great tithes of Claxton, alias Clawson, Sir Edward Hastings, of Leicester Abbey, fourth son of the second Earl of Huntingdon, started this house about 1580, and his son Sir Henry of the Newark finished it around 1600. The house seems to have lain empty until 1627 when Henry’s wife died, and he took up residence here as a recluse. Henry probably intended it for his second son Richard, who showed his constant interest in the place by carving his name with pride on the windowsills and the wall plaster.
Richard’s elder brother, also Henry, married Jane Sacheverell at St Remigius’ Church on July 22nd 1641 by special licence, hiring the house for the occasion and leaving graffiti to mark it, as by then his father had handed the keys to the bankers and moved to Humberston. Come the middle of the century and the end of the Civil War the house was old fashioned and dilapidated. Its three south gables were taken off, and it was divided into two farmhouses. Around 1850, it was put back together, but remained a farmhouse. Although there are many surviving houses that look similar from the outside, this is very rare having kept so much of its early insides.
Go on a special guided tour of the Old Manor House by selecting from one of the available dates here.
£15.00 per person.
We can get a wheelchair in, but only to part of the ground floor.
Old Manorhouse's history and features
The Old Manor House, opposite the Parish Church, is a 400 year old mullioned stone house, built by Sir Edward Hastings and his son Sir Henry as Improprietor of the Great Tithes of Claxton. A description in The King's England as "homely and stately among the trees," masked years of genteel neglect that had allowed the house, which is listed Grade II* by English Heritage, both to retain a huge amount of history but also to slip onto the "at risk" register. During conservation over the last 20 years many interesting features have been uncovered: wig cupboards, Elizabethan fireplaces, a long gallery, 17th and 18th century signatures, even a love poem scratched into the plaster work. The house also retains some of the dairy fixtures from Victorian times when prize-winning Stilton cheese was made here, and it remains a working farmhouse.
Research and restoration went hand in hand, and met with general approval and the odd award. We lead tours of the house on periodic open days and have hosted the Fellows of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and several local history groups. Now, for the second time in history, the house is the home of the resident priest or parson for the village.