The Manor House,

 Little Gaddesden


The Manor House,
Little Gaddesden

A postcard from the early 20th century (circa 1905) published by William F. Piggott, Leighton Buzzard, Beds and printed in Bavaria

It is believed that it was the Manor House for the Manor of Lucies

This ancient building stands back from Gaddesden Green at the Hudnall Lane End. It is turretted above its Totternhoe stone walls. At each end of the main frontage is a square projecting turret which reaches above the main roof. At the apex of the north -west gable there is a stone clock dial, divided up and with figures. The divisions are repeated on the inside of the wall. There is an oak staircase in the turret. The stepped gables, Dutch-style, were common in Hertfordshire in the early 16th century. They were to be seen in buildings flanking the former Ashridge House before the 19th-century rebuilding.


There is a projecting bay window between the two turrets, extending to the second storey. The windows have stone mullions and transoms. The stone tablet over the bay window, dated 1576, probably refers to Robert Dormer and his wife Elizabeth (Browne). It could be that E.E. (not E.B.) means Elizabeth of England [see below]. On the front wall is a leaden drain pipe with the date and lettering-

16E 84 I.M.

The M. may stand for Maberly, a family which lived here for several generations.

Part of the earlier wing of the house is half-timbered. It could appear that between 1862 and 1900 a fire had destroyed one wing and more. The chimneys are interesting, especially the one known as Jarman's Coffin, because of its unusual shape and position. The roofs are of old tiles. At one time the house was believed to have been called 'The Priory'.

The dining-room in the Manor House has an Elizabethan fireplace of 1576 set below the royal coat of arms of Elizabeth 1. This was in accordance with a special privilege granted to the Dormer family allowing them to use the royal arms. A contemporary painting of Princess Elizabeth formerly on part of a door was discovered in the cellar of the Manor House in the 1890s when workmen were installing a boiler for Mrs Wheatley. It had probably been taken down there during or after the Crimean War when the dining-room was used as an armoury for the local militia. It was identified and later erected on the dining-room wall, framed and with a small light.

Part of a long description in Little Gaddesden & Ashridge, by Howard Senar

The Dining Room - with picture of Queen Elizabeth I being arrested at Ashridge
Undated postcard - possibly circa 1960s when the house was open to the public

Picture from  Little Gaddesden & Ashridge

Images of England
Grade II* listed building

There is a detailed account of the history of the house in the 20th century, written by Roger Bolton, who was living in the old part, in  A century remembered (Little Gaddesden). Like many old properties the Manor House and its associated buildings has now been subdivided.


While the date is unreadable, this postcard of the Manor House was posted during the First World War when the Inns of Court OTC were based at Berkhamsted.  It carried the message:

Have been to Berkhampsted to day to see the King inspect the troops. Had a good view of him.

October 2012   Page restructured