Chilton Manor Farm has an interesting and fascinating history that stretches back many centuries. The original house that stood at the end of the long yew avenue, was built in the mid 17th century by Sir Richard Worsley, 7th baronet, but the ruin of this house has long disappeared.
The current Chilton Manor was built by Walter Henry Savill, son of Walter Savill, one of four enterprising brothers who co-founded the shipping company Shaw Savill Ltd. Rumour has it that despite Walter Henry’s intention to position this new house at the top of the yew avenue, an unforeseen absence gave his builders permission to interpret his wishes as they liked, and the house’s foundations went down 50m off centre. The avenue remains a prominent local landmark and is at the heart of the farm, which is still run today by Walter’s great granddaughter, Sue Marriott.
One of the most historic features that remains on the farm is the Buried Church of St Nicholas. It was built in the Norman times and all that remains forms the crypt in which some original stone coffins lie. The crypt was buried and forgotten for many years, but it was stumbled upon in 1910 by a local vicar who set about restoring to its current condition. It is open to the public and two services a year are held there in the open air.
The site of the old house and buried church are being slowly explored and researched by archaeologists and metal detectorists and fragments of the estate’s history and heritage are being being pieced together.
The farm is also situated on the Roman town of Stanchester. An archaeological dig on the site is ongoing, overseen by the University College of London and many unusual & interesting artefacts have been uncovered. If you’d like to get involved, do get in touch!