The Fenwick Family & Higham Place

Nestling in the green water meadows of the stour valley and overhung by an enormous Suffolk sky sits the tiny hamlet of Higham. It is a few miles from the rush and urgency of the A12 and yet there is a timelessness and atmosphere of peace and tranquility about it.

Barhams Manor

Barhams Manor sits majestically on the green at Higham. Behind its nineteenth century facade is a fine Elizabethan timber-framed house. Upstairs there is a Tudor wall painting which Pevsner describes as 'of interlaced octagons with fruit motifs, similar to Wolsey's ceiling at Hampton Court'.

In 1750, Barhams Manor was originally called Barhams House.
In 1784 an Ellen Stubbins left Barhams House to Josiah Stubbins. Some of the Stubbins family continued to live in Higham in different houses until the middle of the nineteenth century. The tithe map of 1833 states that the vicar of Higham at the time was Reverend N.J. Stubbins who lived at the Parsonage (The Old Vicarage) until he died in 1835.

The 1833 census stated that Barhams House and farmland was owned by the Hoy family, although the house was occupied by Mr and Mrs Wilson (farmers) and the outbuildings were cottages for the farm labourers.

John Hoy died in 1837. On April 2nd 1838 Barhams House was sold by auction at the Red Lion Inn, Colchester, in 8 lots. There seems to be sufficient evidence to suggest that Mrs Elizabeth Dawson bought 4 of the 8 lots.. The Dawson Family continued to own Barhams Manor throughout the rest of the nineteenth century. However, Barhams Manor and the land it has now was sold to the Furniss family in the early part of the twentieth century. Different tenant farmers lived there for over a hundred years. it was sold to the Fenwick family during the Second World War. The Fenwick family still own it today.

Like many country houses in the late nineteenth century, Higham fell into a gentle decline, until the parents of the present owner, Major Charles Fenwick, bought the house in the Thirties.

They then hired Edwin Lutyens – who has worked on their previous house, Temple Dinsley (Now Princess Saint Helena College) – to carry out renovations, which included the addition of a fine staircase in the inner hall. 

Today, Charles, who founded the London plant nursery and garden design company, The Chelsea Gardener, and his wife Sara, who owns the Holland Park antiques shop Myriad Antiques, are very much in residence at Higham, and they have commissioned more work to bring the house gently into the twenty-first century.