Our History

Hanham Court c.1042 - Present

Over the coming months we will be developing the 'Our History' page in order to make the estate's history and archives accessible to everybody, in the mean time here is a brief history of the house and estate, along with a gallery of some of the photos from our archive. 



Hanham & Hanham Court


Oxford Dictionary of Place Names : in referring to Hanham, states that this means either Hana, a Cock, or Hana, a personal name or Han, a stone.  The existence of such places as Cockroad and Cockshot Hill makes it likely that Hanham means the home of the woodcock, a wildfowl which once abounded in the forest.  ‘Ham’ a Saxon word meaning ‘home’.


Hanham Court stands on the Via Julia or Julian Road above the River Avon at an ancient

ferry crossing.  The road runs from Bath to the Roman port at Avonmouth, when the

Romans conquered the country in A.D. 43 they made a road, the Via Julia, from the city of

Bath, passing through the forest to Sea Mills, then to the Severn where a ferry carried the

legions across to Caerwent in Wales.  Historically and architecturally there is evidence at the

site from almost every century since the Norman Conquest. [The Normans : 1066-1154]


What was essentially a solid Norman House has been embellished over many generations

with Early English, Tudor and 18th and 19th century alteration and additions.  Nevertheless

some historians think that there was a manor house here, possibly wooden, which would

take us back to Saxon times. 


It is difficult to determine the exact date of the first manor house but it seems certain that a house did exist, in some manner, before the Norman Conquest.  Hanham itself formed part of the large manor of Bitton when the ancient forest of Kingswood, now obliterated, covered almost the whole neighbourhood, in fact the forest began near Pucklechurch and lay over, and extended beyond St George and the surrounding district of East Bristol, and also extended a considerable distance along the other side of the Avon into Somerset, a part of which was called Filwood.                             



1042 - 1066     Ernulf de Hesding


The village of Hanham was only a small one at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066.  The Manor was held by a Saxon named Edric, who owned a good many other manors.  This was confiscated by William the Conqueror and given to one of his powerful barons who fought at the Battle of Hastings, Ernulf de Hesding.  The Domesday Book compiled in 1086 translated reads as follows :


“Lands of Ernulf de Hesding.  In Swineshead Hundred.  The same Ernulf holds Hanham, and Humbald holds it from him.  Edric held it.  There is half a hide there.  In the demesne are two ploughs with eight borders and four slaves - it was and is worth, [per annum] forty shillings.”

























A Brief History


Ernulf de Hesding (1042 - 1066)


(Seventy Years of Missing History)


Richard de Hanham & Family(1151 - 1263)


Maurice Saltmarsh (1263 -1272)


John Saltmarsh (1272 - 1329)


William de la Greene & John Bagworth (1329 - 1330)

When Bagworth died a year after purchasing the Manor, de la Greene gave the Manor to Keynsham Abbey


Keynsham Abbey (1330 - 1539)

During this time the monks built the original Tudor church (still seen within the church) and the gated entrance arch that adjoins the two. Moving their place of worship from the small chapel inside the house to the new church and demolishing the small vestry attached to the house.

The floors above  the new entrance arch were used as a convalescent hospital with a small window looking into the new church allowing patients to still hear mass. 


Elizabeth Skelton (1517 - 1553)

Leased from Keynsham Abbey, then by The Crown after the Dissolution of the Monastries


Rowland Hayward (1553 - 1555)

Purchased from Queen Mary


John Reed (1555 - 1556)

The sale noted that the esate included at this time 1,470 acres of land


John Lacey & Family (1556 - 1633)

London Textile Merchant and regarded as a friend of Queen Elizabeth I. Story has it when Elizabeth I made her historic visit to Bristol where she proclaimed St Mary Redcliffe 'to be the most impressive spire in Britain' she stayed with Lacey at Hanham Court


Thomas Colston (1633 - 1638)


The Creswicke Family (1638 - 1842)

Francis Creswicke *I(1638 - 1646)

Mayor of Bristol 1645


Sir Henry Creswicke *I (1646 - 1668)

Mayor of Bristol


Francis Creswicke *II (1668 - 1732)

During the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685 the infamous Judge Jefferies used Hanham as a regional court and sentenced Francis Creswicke to prison for high treason against the King. After many years of petitioning the King from prison pleading his innocence,  King James II pardoned Creswicke and bestowed a royal visit upon Hanham Court  accompanied by George, Prince of Denmark and many lords and servants. Later in his early seventies Creswicke went to prison again for stabbing a man and served nine years.


Henry Creswicke *II (1732 - 1806)


Humphrey Creswicke (1806 - 1819)


Henry Creswicke *III (1819 - 1825)


J Knowles and William Hill (1825 - 1834)

Leased from Henry Creswicke


Henry Creswicke *III(1834 - 1842)


Colonel David Macliver (1843 - 1849)

Founder of The Western Daily Press newspaper

Thomas White (1849 - 1869)

During White's time at Hanham he add gothis elements such as the pointed roof to the tower, which up to this point had been a flat roof.

In 1896 White sold Hanham Court by auction  for £15,050


 G W Hancock of Bath (1869 -1875)


Mr G Gerrard (1875 - 1890)


Major Philip W. P. Carlyon-Britton FSA DL JP (1890 - 1900)


Pierre and Henrietta de Carteret   (1900 - 1919)

The de Carterets added the Art and Crafts Kitchen and Loggia to the back of the house.

The estate was once again sold by auction in 1920 but now only sitting in 48 acres. 


Mr Frank H Stevens (1920 - 1964)


Mr Cox (1964 - c.1980)


Mr A. Victor Osmond (1980 - 1993)


Julian and Isabel Bannerman (1993 - 2012)

One of the Bannermans many additions to Hanham Court, but most significant was the total design and construction of the gardens as they are today. When the Bannermans moved to Hanham in 1993 all that existed in the gardens was grass from end to end and leylandii over the next twenty years Isabel and Julian skillfully  designed a sympathetic and deeply romantic garden with a reputation that takes it far beyond Hanham.


Thomas Dane (2012 - 2015)


Richard & Julia Boissevain (2015 - )




A more detailed history of Hanham Court is available to download here:








The Tithe Barn at Hanham Court is the oldest exisitng part of the estate dating back to c.1042

EngHeritage 1942
Tower post turret