Manor Farm is Hillingdon's flagship heritage and culture site. It has a rich historical past stretching over a period of a thousand years. The site covers 22 acres and includes the Manor Farm House, Great Barn, Little Barn, Cart Sheds, Duck Pond, Motte and Bailey, Cow Byre and Pram Shed. It is situated at the North end of Ruislip High Road. There is pedestrian access and a car park in St Martin’s Approach.
Conservation began on the site in 2007. It was funded by the National Heritage Lottery Fund and Hillingdon Council. Work finished in 2008.
Manor Farm House
Manor Farm House is Grade 2 listed and was built between 1505 and 1507 over a number of building seasons, from Easter to Michaelmas, although the preparation of building materials occurred outside this period. Henry Cogge, a skilled workman, and his mate might typically have been paid a daily rate of 8d and 4d respectively. The house was built in the latest style of the period with a decorative frontage designed to showcase the wealth of the owner. When the house was built it had oriel windows on the facade and inside moulded ceiling beams reinforce that this is a high status property.
The house was called "Ruislip Court" until late Victorian times - it consists of a hall and cross-wing to the north of the entrance with a service wing on the south side of a screens passage. The hall was used as a courtroom when the manor courts were held, usually twice a year. The cross-wing provided lodgings of high status for the Provost, Steward or any other visitors from King's College. A farmer who farmed the land lived in the low end of the house.
As a manorial court the house was used to administer the estate, and two types of court were held in the courtroom:
Court Leet – cases involving land disputes, assaults and minor offences;
Court Baron – administrative matters, deeds, wills etc. Court cases were held twice a year.
From 1529 to 1932 Kings College Cambridge leased the Manor House and surrounding lands to a succession of people who were either local men, fellows of the College or members of the nobility. In1932 Kings College gave the Manor Farm site as a gift to the people of Ruislip.
During the conservation works wallpaper from circa1700 was revealed. It is believed to be the oldest surviving in situ wallpaper anywhere in the country. The refurbished Manor House contains an interactive display illustrating the history of the site. It features a range of artefacts and finds uncovered during the site refurbishment.
Admission is free.
November to February
Market Sundays only, 11am - 4pm
March to October
Wednesday to Friday 12noon - 3pm
Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays 12noon - 4pm
Market Sundays 10am - 4pm
The Great Barn
The Great Barn, Grade 2* listed, was built between 1280 and 1300 from trees felled in Ruislip Woods. It is thought to be the oldest timber framed building of its type in Greater London and is the largest building on the site at 36.5m long and over 9m wide. The barn would have been used to store and process crops and other produce of the Manor of Ruislip. The size of the barn meant that a lot of the produce could be stored. Between the 2 large double doors there is believed to have been a threshing floor. Grain would have been stored in a granary and straw inside the barn or outside in haystacks located behind the little barn on what is now the bowling green.
The Great Barn can be booked for functions and is open to the public on Market Sundays.
The Little Barn
This barn dates from the 16thCentury. It was used as a barn until the 1930s. In 1937 it was converted to a library. Many of the original timbers can still be seen including the fine queen post roof. The windows have heraldic shields – one of which is of Kings College Cambridge. A copy of the Doomsday Book is on view in the library.
The Cart Sheds
These would have been used for storage of the horse drawn carts on the site. These have been renovated and are now craft workshops.
This was originally a horse pond. The horses from the farm would be washed down here.
Motte and Bailey
This is a site of national importance and a scheduled ancient monument.
This dates back to the 19th century and forms part of the farm courtyard rebuilt in 1980 following a fire. Today it houses a tea room and art gallery.
Open Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 5pm, Market Sundays 10am to 3pm and other Sundays 11.30am to 4.30pm.
The Pram Shed
The Pram Shed is a small building near the Manor House where there are approximately 200 Victorian farm implements. These can be viewed on request from the volunteer in the Manor Farm House.
Manor Farm, Ruislip, London Borough of Hillingdon Historic Buildings Report by Geraint Franklin & Linda Hall. Published by English Heritage. ISSN 1749-8775
Manor Farm. A unique site of historical and cultural heritage in Hillingdon. Published by London Borough of Hillingdon
Photographs of the farm implements are the copyright of Donald Edwards & Ruislip Residents Association. Other photographs of the site are the copyright of David George.