kingston manor house

kingston manor house

Higher Kingston


The Manor of Kingston, together with the advowson of Kingston Pitney Chapel, was purchased from Lord Stourton in 1710 by John Prowse. His grandson, George Bragge Prowse, may have been the builder of Kingston Manor House, originally known as the Mansion House (not to be confused with today's Mansion House in Princes Street) and also sometime known as Kingston House (not to be confused with Kingston House in Kingston).

Kingston Manor House was an early Georgian house of two storeys and six bays with a Tuscan porch. In 1797 the property was conveyed by Wyndham Harbin of Yeovil, Esq., to Mark Fooks of Yeovil, gent. The property was mortgaged in 1803 to the trustees of Elizabeth Clark, of Exeter, a deceased widow, and in 1818 to John Stone of Hillfield, Dorset, gent., and then it was mortgaged to John Batten the Younger of Yeovil, gent., in 1840.

A lease exists, dated 1801, in which George Bragge Prowse of Yeovil, Esq. leased to John Daniell of Yeovil, Esq. the “Capital Mansion House in Yeovil for 6 years with coach house, stables, offices, courtyard, gardens, orchard and paddock containing 6 acres with household goods, furniture and implements of household in and about the Mansion House as listed in a certain inventory also Home Close and Quarry Close 10 acres, lying opposite the Mansion House on the north side of the highway from Yeovil to Sherborne in occupation of John Daniell. Rent - £74 per annum”. This was John Daniell the younger who had already inherited Hendford House (today's Manor Hotel) on the death of his father, John Daniell the elder, in 1776.

The 1846 Tithe Apportionment noted that Kingston Manor House, Garden, etc (Parcel 260) measuring 1a 0r 0p, together with adjacent Home Field (Parcel 271 - measuring 1a 2r 16p and occupying the whole corner between Court Ash and Reckleford) and a large orchard (Parcel 272 - measuring 1a 2r 27p and occupying the space from Red Lion Lane in the west to Court Ash in the east) were all owned by William Jones Prowse and the tenant was Ann Batten.

In 1850 the property passed from Captain William Jones Prowse of Enham House, Hants, Esq., to solicitor and financier Thomas Lyon of Yeovil, gent. In 1850 Lyon mortgaged the house, together with a strip of land adjacent to Red Lion Lane to Rev. William Alford of Sherborne, Dorset, clerk, and William Hector Lyon of Bishops Caundle, Dorset, Esq.

Kingston Manor House, in Back Kingston (today's Higher Kingston), later became the home of Thomas Dampier a prominent glove manufacturer and then in 1870 the house and adjoining lands were conveyed to his son, Thomas William Dampier-Bide, known as Willie. It was mortgaged in 1871 to Henry Genge Andrews of Rimpton, gent, and others.

On his death in 1916 Thomas William Dampier-Bide bequeathed a large part of the grounds of Kingston Manor, lying between Court Ash, Court Ash Terrace and Red Lion Lane to the town, known as Bide’s Gardens.  

The house itself was sold and became a nursing home attached to the new hospital in 1916 after the death of Dampier-Bide. Although the house and grounds had been purchased in 1916, the First World War delayed the hospital building programme until 1921. This included a huge new wing and was opened by HRH the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII, on 19 July 1923.

Kingston Manor House was demolished for the building of Yeovil District Hospital in the 1970s.




This map, based on the 1886 Ordnance Survey, shows Kingston running diagonally across the bottom left with Court Ash and Court Ash Terrace running off across the lower right. Higher Kingston runs diagonally across the top of the map with Kingston Manor House located at top centre with its extensive grounds, given to the town as Bide's Gardens, occupying most of the central part of the map.




This photograph features in my book 'Yeovil From Old Photographs'

Thomas William 'Willie' Dampier-Bide and Elizabeth Bide 'Bessie' Dampier photographed in 1907 outside their home, Kingston Manor House. 

Nurses outside Kingston Manor around 1960. At this time the old manor house was being used as a nursing home.


This colourised photograph features in my book "Lost Yeovil"

Kingston Manor House photographed in the early 1960s, shortly before its demolition.