History of Manor Barn
A long and glorious past
The origins ol the Manor Barn can be traced back almost 900 years to the time when a house, originally called Bishop’s Palace but later renamed the Manor House, was built on the site and presented to the Canons of Chichester by Robert de Creol.
Over the lollowing three centuries, the Manor House was enlarged, restored or rebuilt many times as it passed through the hands ol successive Bishops of Chichester before being confiscated for the Crown, along with other church lands, by Henry VIII in 1535.
In 1570, Queen Elizabeth I gave the Manor of Bexhill to Thomas Sackville. 1st Earl of Dorset who also owned Knole House in Kent. It stayed within the family for the next couple of hundred years. being substantially rebuilt in the 17th century and used as a shooting lodge by the Earls of Dorset in the 18th century.
A number of diilerent families occupied the Manor House in the 19th century and it was again restored and enlarged by Viscount Cantelupe. the 8th Earl De La Warr. in 1892. Further additions were made in 1910 when the Manor Barn was converted into a ballroom.
Eight years later the estate was bought by Sir Robert Leicester Harmsworth, MP for Caithnesshire, who added a further wing to the house. It was to be its last hurrah.
In 1963. the Manor House and its estate were purchased by Bexhill Town Council. Five years later, the house was demolished and much of the gardens tumed into a public car park.
The Old Town Preservation Society was formed at that time to oppose plans to build a block of flats on the site. Since then, the Society has been largely instrumental in preserving and protecting the historic character of the area and today it runs the Manor Barn on a lease from the council. All profits from the hire of Manor Barn go towards the charitable work of Bexhill Old Town Preservation Society.