Bibury Court is a Grade I listed Jacobean mansion, built on the site of a former Benedictine monastery.
It dates from the late 16th Century, and was then extended in 1633 by Sir Thomas Sackville, the illegitimate son of the 1st Earl of Dorset who was ‘Knight and gentleman-usher in dailie waiting on the King’ (James I). Due to his exorbitant acquisitions and probably also the fact that he was Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was amusingly known as "Fill Sack".
Charles II is reputed to have visited the Court when he attended Bibury Races, as did the Prince Regent during the reign of George III.
The house remained in the Sackville family for several generations and through the female line passed to the Cresswells.
The interior was remodelled for Estcourt Cresswell in 1759. And this was after he had been discovered to be a double bigamist. Shrugging that of, he promptly became an MP.
It was this family, through the Rev. Sackville Cresswell (note how he had to keep the original family name), who, owing to a disputed will and years of litigation, sold the house between 1826 and 1829 to the Rt. Hon. Lord Sherborne. Bibury Court (then Bibury Manor) became his favourite living place.
Charles Dickens is said to have written ‘Bleak House’ with this court case in mind. Slightly unfair on the house.
James Henry Legge Dutton (3rd Baron Sherborne) was was an avid race horse breeder and an active member of the Bibury Club, the world's oldest racing club, which was formed in 1681 and held meetings on Macaroni Downs above Bibury until the early part of the twentieth century.
From about 1864, it seems that Lord Sherborne was then in the habit of leasing out the "mansion" and grounds to a variety of tenants; a Captain in the Life Guards, a miller (very apt) and a farmer to name a few.
Naturally by the turn of the century the building had started to fall into disrepair. In 1926 a refurbishment programme began for the latest owners, the Clarke family, who had bought the estate the year before. Two years of hard work ensued (by the architects Messrs. Kennedy & Nightingale, yet by 1931 the house was being rented out again whilst the owners lived abroad.
Sir Orme Bigland Clarke (b. 1880) was married to Elfrida Roosevelt, and although the former died in 1949, the house remained in the family's ownership until 1968 when it was sold after the death of Lady Clarke.
It was then bought by the Wynne-Jones family and promptly turned into a hotel.
A couple of owners later and the rest is, as they say, history......
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