The manor house
The early medieval village of Wickham was probably just where you are standing, with houses and workshops clustered round the church and manor house (later called Place House). This house was located in the triangle of land between Southwick Road and School Road, roughly where the much later Victorian school was built on the Glebe, or church field. Excavations in the 1970s and the 1990s revealed footings, floors and postholes, and by comparing these with buildings still standing elsewhere, the probable appearance of the manor house at various times can be reconstructed.
The early manor house
Before the Norman Conquest, Wickham was two manors held by four brothers. In 1086,
however, the Domesday Book records that Hugh de Port held the manor, though there are few remains of any buildings from that time.
In the 12th century, the de Port family erected a manor house, whose flint footings and postholes show that it was a timber-framed building centred on a large aisled hall. The central hearth was made of close-packed tiles set on edge in the ground.
In the late 13th century, the de Scures family – perhaps newly wealthy after a charter from Henry III granted them a weekly market and annual fair in Wickham – refurbished and extended Place House, replacing the timber frame with mainly flint walls. A moat was dug and a stream feeding the River Meon dammed
to form fishponds.
In 1381, the Uvedale family acquired the manor through marriage. Over the next 300 years, they made a series of repairs and alterations, including adding chimneys and a garderobe (toilet) — draining directly into the moat! – though the style of the house changed little.
Times of change
Finally, fashion changed, and the Uvedales replaced the stone manor house with a rectangular, gable-
ended, brick house in the mid-17th century. The Uvedale family died out in the late 1600s, and after passing through several hands, Place House was bought by Jonathan Rashleigh in 1724. He and his son
Philip gradually enlarged the house to form three sides of a cobbled courtyard. In 1765, Philip sold the manor and Place House to George Garnier, who lived at Rookesbury and in London. The Garniers built a
new manor house, Rookesbury Park, in the early 1820s, and at some time Place House was demolished.
Rookesbury Park lies beyond the church and is not open to the public.