(June 1979) The Manor House, Sibford Ferris

There are many interesting and curious buildings in our two villages, and we hope to publish occasional articles about some of them, houses perhaps that we pass every day but scarcely notice. We begin in Sibford Ferris.

The Manor House is a “listed building”, ie one of special architectural or historical interest. It is, in fact, an old building enclosing another, older, building. Only at one corner at the back is the oldest part visible from outside; a small section of wall and a stone mullioned window, part of the original 16th century Manor House, built probably in the reign of Elizabeth I, on the site of still earlier timber Manor Houses, themselves dating from around 1100. So, for some six centuries, this area of Sibford Ferris was the focal point for the administration of justice and for the reception of eminent visitors.

It was in the first half of the 18th century that the building was transformed by the new owners, the Walfords. The ancient front and sides were cladded with finely cut masonry, large sash windows were added and, inside and out, the house was given the Queen Anne fashion that we see today.

In 1842 it was purchased from the Walford family by a Quaker Trust and the Friends School was founded. Many additions and alterations have since been made to keep pace with the growth and changing circumstances of the School, but the facade remains, and must continue to remain, unaltered since the reign of Queen Anne.

Margaret Le Mare