Weddings and Events
Located at the top of a gentle hill and tucked away behind a 9½ft wall stands the impressive Tudor manor house. A Grade I listed building, Wickham Court has through the years been home to several generations of Tudor, Jacobean, Elizabethan and Victorian gentry, a hotel, a catholic training school and during World War II was commandeered by the military for use as offices and accommodation. The House was purchased by the Schiller International University in 1978 and in 2002 became home to Wickham Court School.
The earliest records for the Estate indicate that the land where the house currently stands held a timber tall house and a small wooden church was located nearby. We know that in 1066 prior to the Doomsday book, the land was held by a Saxon called Godric. After the Conquest, William the Conqueror granted the Estate to his half-brother, Odo, Bishop of Bayeux who was subsequently imprisoned by William in 1082 and all his lands confiscated.
In the ensuing years, Wickham Court and its estate passed through several owners until c.1468 when it was purchased from Ambrose Cressacre by Henry Heydon.
Sir Henry Heydon (Knighted in 1485) was the steward to Cecily Neville, (mother of Edward IV and Richard III) Duchess and widow of the 3rd Duke of York, Richard Plantagenet. Sir Henry married Anne Boleyn who was the daughter of Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, Lord Mayor of London. Sir Geoffrey was great grandfather to Queen Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII and mother to Queen Elizabeth I.
A Royalist, Sir Henry built a new fortified manor house on the site during the War of the Roses and this is the oldest part of the building that can be seen today. The remains of an earlier building can be seen in the cellars.
In 1485 the house was remodelled and Sir Henry rebuilt the parish church, St John the Baptist. Legend has it that there is a secret passageway under the building that leads not only from the house to the Church but also from the house to Addington.
The house remained in the Heydon family for almost 112 years when in 1580 it was sold to Sir John Lennard (who held the position of Custos Brevium in the reign of Elizabeth I) and given to his son Samuel. It was probably around this time that the Lennard wing was added.
By the early 1600s the building was remodelled and the courtyard covered over. The central Jacobean staircase was added after the end of the civil war, turning the building from a castle to a house. The current Tudor staircase was added much later and came from another building.
For nearly 350 years the Lennards held on to Wickham Court until it was sold in 1929 and became a luxury hotel run under the same management as Selsdon Park and Selsdon Court Hotels.
The secluded gardens at Wickham Court have been and continue to be well maintained throughout the years. The garden is surrounded by many majestic trees and shrubbery and you can still see the yew trees that formed an avenue known as Anne’s Walk. Could this have been the place where Henry courted Anne?
We hope that you have enjoyed these brief facts on the history of Wickham Court and know that if you were to hold your event here you will be joining a prestigious line of visitors indeed!
… why not make your own history and contact us.