Hardwick Court Farm

Hardwicke Court Farm, with the Tithe Barn in the foreground, 1977

Hardwick Court Farm is situated on Hardwick Lane, Lyne. It is a modest structure, but has a long and illustrious history. The earliest records of this house date back to 1430, but it is likely that a house occupied the site, then part of Windsor forest, for many years before that date.

It was formally a manor under the ownership of Chertsey Abbey, and there is an unproven legend which states that Henry VI was born there in 1421. It is certain that Henry VI, called ‘Henry of Windsor’ was at first buried in Chertsey Abbey, and there are strong links between King Henry and the local area.

The name ‘Hardwick’ comes from the Saxon word ‘herdewyk’, meaning ‘a place for the herds’. The Abbey sub-let the Manor of Hardwick to tenants, and built a large tithe barn there, indicating that it was a centre for the large-scale farming activities of the Abbey. Hardwick Court was also the scene of the Manorial Courts Leet. This court was held “for the benefit of tenants and for the redress of wrongs”, and continued there until 1827. The Court was held on Whit Tuesday, and after the Court had finished, a Fair followed.

After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the estate was seized by the Crown, and sub let once more. Following the Civil War and the Restoration of Charles II, the manor was given to the Queen Dowager, Henrietta Maria who held courts there during the summer months. Queen Catherine of Braganza, wife of Charles II later held the property.

Hardwick Court has continued as a working farm and a centre of community activity. It has had close links with the annual Chertsey Agricultural show, which started with in a ploughing match held at the back of the farm in 1827. Until recently, the ancient tithe barn also played host to large barn dances to celebrate mid-Summer.

References:
Articles in the local press and John Woodwiss, ‘Famous Surrey Homes, Hardwick Court Farm, Chertsey’, Surrey County Journal 13th August 1954.