Sherrington Manor 

DSCF3018A building on the site of the present Sherrington Manor is mentioned in Domesday,  and the manor, or land, was given to William de Cahaignes after the Norman Conquest. Prior to this, the owner was a Saxon nobleman named Haiming, who also held lands at Exceat and Firle. The De Cahaignes family held Sherrington  Manor for the next 100 years, but by 1217 the spelling of the  name had changed to Keynes, William Keynes being the Lord of the Manor at that time. By 1276, Joan Keynes had married Roger de Lewknor, and so the Keynes family was absorbed into this other ancient family. The son of Roger and Joan de Lewknor inherited the Lordship in 1302 on the death of both his parents. During the fourteenth century the manor passed through the hands of several families: in 1336 it became the property of Alice and Andrew Peverell, from Derbyshire, and in 1378 it passed into the ownership of John Brocas (whose father Oliver, had been captured by the French at the Battle of Rottingdean in 1377). By 1386 it belonged to Edmund Fitzherbert and Johanna his wife, and in 1392 the owners were Thomas West and his wife Alice. They were followed by the Sherrington family (the most prominent member being Simon Sherrington, whose daughter and heiress married John Selwyn),who owned the manor until around the time of Henry VII (1485-1509). In 1526 the manor was held by Sir Edward Walsyngham, and it is believed that Thomas Wolsey stayed here in 1531. Two documents dating from 1533 and 1542 show that Sherrington Manor was then the property of Sir Edward Bray. He was married twice, and the remains of his first wife were buried in the north wall of Selmeston church, where an inscription reads:

1532

Here lyeth Dam Beatrice Bray,

svm tyme the wyffe of Syre

Edward Bray the daughter of

Raffe Sherely of Wyston

and Wyffe of Edward Elderton

A document of 1533 refers to the sale of the manor by Sir Edward Bray to John Thetcher of Selmeston; in 1602 the Lordship was held by John Wood. In 1625 the Caldicott family took possession of Sherrington Manor, and it would remain with them for the next 200 years. The head of the family was then Mathias Caldicott, who died in 1678. His son, also named Mathias, married Catherine Nutt in 1679 and they were to have eight children. The property went to their youngest son Samuel (born 1692). In 1960 a gold mourning ring was found, with the inscription ‘M Caldicott OB 5 Mar 1723 AE 43’. This may refer to Mathias Caldicott, the eldest son of Mathias Caldicott and Catherine Nutt. His remains were probably buried in the Caldicott tomb on the east side of Selmeston church, adjoining the porch. The last of the Caldicotts to live at Sherrington Manor was another  Mathias (born 1755, died 1808). An inscribed ledger to the Caldicott family can be seen in Selmeston Church.

The property was subsequently bought by Dr James Skinner, who made a large number of alterations to the Tudor building. The original oak beams and white plaster were resurfaced with red brick, and the east side was cut back to enlarge the lawn . On his death in 1875, an auction of his furniture and effects was held at the Manor House.  In his will Dr Skinner left a sum of money to enlarge the village school, and this was completed the following year. The property remained vacant for a year until the Chandless family bought the house, the farm, the outbuildings and stables in 1876, along with the three resident ghosts in the upstairs corridors! (See Village Tales and War Memorial sections for further information on the Chandless family.) The family continued making various alterations to the property. There were originally seven staircases in the house, some of which led to the same room, and many of these were removed and replaced by landings and connecting doors. There was a large open entrance hall that displayed the rafters of the roof, and when another two bedrooms were needed to house the large family, a ceiling was built halfway between the roof and the floor of the hall. A massive arch surround was built in the entrance hall, incorporating the Chandless coat of arms. In front of the house there had been a large pond (possibly the remains of a Tudor moat), and this was drained and made into a courtyard. A new entrance drive was built over the old Roman road (linking Slubby Lane). In 1952 the house became a Grade II listed building. It remained with the Chandless family until the early 1990s, when the Rees family purchased it, and they continue to live there and to manage its working farm. Sherrington Manor has developed extensive gardens over the years, with large borders of mixed shrubs and a beautiful orchard, and these are generously opened to the public once a year in aid of St Wilfred’s Hospice. (With grateful thanks to the Chandless and Rees families for all this information.)

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