Mount Bures Community Web Site



The Old House (Court House or GuildHall)

old house
The Old House is located just north of the village green with the junction to Craigs Lane.

When renovation work was carried out on the timbers, it was discovered it had been constructed originally for domestic use. It was intended as a Public Court or Guild Hall.

When plaster was removed from the inner front walls, two original arched doorways were revealed. Later a third door with a rectangular headed frame was found between the previously located arched doors (see photo)

The public Court room would have been on the first floor.

The two ground floor rooms would have been used for storage and a possible ante chamber for private interrogation in which wives could be seen separately concerning matrimonial legal disputes.


There are no signs of it being re-erected from some other location, the approximate date of construction being 1500 - 1550, indicating the project was undertaken in the reign of Henry VIII.
Conditions in Mount Bures by 1558 were dire, there was extreme hardship and terrible cold. The upkeep of the court house would have been very difficult for the villagers due to their poverty. Even the church lacked tiling and glass in the windows!

It was sold with the manor in 1578 by Sir Thomas Sackville to John Dister. The Sackville family had held Mount Bures for over 400 years.
Thomas Sackville was to acquire the magnificent `Knole` estate in Kent. One could speculate that he sold the property at Mount Bures for finance to upkeep Knole, as it was an expensive property to maintain. Knole remained with the Sackvilles until 1947 when it was handed over to the National Trust.

The Old House finally became the property of the Garrad family until the last surviving member of the family died in 1978.
It was finally bought at auction in 1989 by a local resident. This was the time, when major restoration work commenced.

PLEASE NOTE - This is private property and has no public access.

Historical information for this page has been obtained from the publication
"Mount Bures, its Lands and People" by Ida McMaster & Kathleen Evans.