Manor House has medieval origins and is a Grade II listed building. Originally a peasant house in the 14th century, it became the Bailiff’s house in the 15th and 16th centuries. After that it was a yeoman farmer’s house however it has never been a Manorial House.
Adam Brown, a merchant of considerable standing, lived in the house which later became known as Manor House although it is shown in Merton College archives as ‘Brown’s Place’ no doubt because Adam Brown and his family lived there during the 14th and 15th centuries.
Dendrochronological investigation when the Story of England TV series was being filmed showed that the oldest part of the house dates from somewhere between 1320 and 1350.
Manor House was occupied in 1558 by a courtier of Queen Mary, Sir Thomas Ray and it remained in his family until 1706 when the Foxton family lived there. The next occupant was the Reverend Thomas Thomas, incumbent of Isham and Curate of East Farndon followed by his nephew, John Philips who carried out rebuilding works in the mid 19th Century. It was sold by Merton College, owners of the surrounding land, in 1972 to Mr P Thurnham.
The Manor House was originally a timber-framed building on an ironstone base. Its main front faces east and its south wall abuts on the village street. The house may be medieval in origin but, apart from its internal timbers, it shows little sign of antiquity. The exterior has been faced with brick and much altered, both at the end of the 17th century and in 1860. The exposed ceiling joists in the front ground-floor room of the south wing are tenoned into a diagonal 'dragon' beam. This indicates that this side wing originally had a timber-framed upper story, jettied on two sides.
An unusual feature is the letter box in the wall of the house on Main Street, and the Sun Insurance Company’s insurance plaque higher up. The garden wall, built by John Philips is decorated in a distinctive pattern of bricks known as diapering, while to the left of the garden entrance gateway are three terracotta plaques with the dates thereon of 1475, which indicates the first stone building on the site; 1695 when the building was faced in brick and 1860 when further additions were built, together with the present garden wall.
Michael Wood ‘The Story of England’
British History on line