Fawley Court

Has been described as a Questionable Fortified Manor House

There are masonry footings remains

NameFawley Court
Alternative NamesFowley, Divine Mercy College
Historic CountryBuckinghamshire
Modern AuthorityBuckinghamshire
1974 AuthorityBuckinghamshire
Civil ParishFawley

A country house constructed in 1684, reputed to have been designed by Sir Christopher Wren, although this is unproven. It was altered in the late 18th and 19th centuries and converted into a boarding school after 1953. The school closed in 1986 and the house was used as a retreat and conference centre under the ownership of a Roman Catholic congregation of priests, the Marian Fathers. In 2009 the house was sold into private hands. It is two storeyed and H-shaped in plan, built of brick and stone with a hipped tiled roof. The present house stands on the site of an earlier manor house, possibly dating back to the 12th century and possibly fortified. (PastScape)

Gatehouse Comments

Foundations of fortified house said to lie under later building. There is a C12 doorway reset in a dairy which, even if from an ecclesiastical building as suggested by the VCH, implies this was the manorial centre from that date, despite being some distance from the parish church. 200 acres of deer park and the asserted right to fishing in the adjacent Thames suggest the reason for unusual location. The tenurial history, held for a knights fee by a sub tenant, is not inconsistent with a small fortified manor house but there does not seem to be any real evidence of medieval fortification here. The house was attacked in the Civil War, which might weakly suggest there was something defensive about it then, but has been completely rebuilt and the landscape remodelled so that not even a moat survives.

- Philip Davis

Not scheduled

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law

Historic England Scheduled Monument Number
Historic England Listed Building number(s)
Images Of England
Historic England (PastScape) Defra or Monument number(s)
County Historic Environment Record
OS Map Grid ReferenceSU765842
HyperLink HyperLink HyperLink

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  • Cooper, Nicholas, 1999, Houses of the Gentry, 1480-1680 (Yale University Press) p. 313
  • Pevsner, Nikolaus and Elizabeth Williamson with Geoffrey K Brandwood, 1994, Buildings of England: Buckinghamshire (Harmondsworth) p. 134-5
  • Page, Wm (ed), 1925, VCH Buckinghamshire Vol. 3 p. 38 online transcription
  • RCHME, 1913, An inventory of the historical monuments in Buckinghamshire Vol. 2 (north) p. 27-8 online copy
  • Burn, J.S., 1861, History of Henley on Thames p. 306-8
  • Langley, Thomas, 1797, History and Antiquities of the Hundred of Desborough p. 192-4 (London) online copy


  • Tyack, Geoffrey, 1982, 'The Freemans of Fawley and their Buildings' Records of Buckinghamshire Vol. 24 (post-medieval history) p. 130-43