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Hooke Court

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Hoke; St Francis School

In the civil parish of Hooke.
In the historic county of Dorset.
Modern Authority of Dorset.
1974 county of Dorset.
Medieval County of Dorset.

OS Map Grid Reference: ST53110039
Latitude 50.80117° Longitude -2.66673°

Hooke Court has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are earthwork remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.

Description

Robert Sifrewast was granted a licence to crenellate in 1344 for Hoke. This was presumably on the site now occupied by St Francis School were a supposedly C14-C15 moat exists. Mentioned by Leland as 'an ancient manor house'. Probably originally a Saxon thanely residence. Excavated by TimeTeam in 2006. One and half arms of the moat survive along with a C15 residential tower, incorporated into a later building. Substantial foundations of a confused multi-period shown on geophysical survey. Most finds C16 and C17. The building was burnt in the Civil War. The relative lack of C14 finds suggest not much work occurred from the licence to crenellate (possibly the Black Death stopped work) but certainly a house existed on the site at this time and it may well be the first cutting of the moat took place in the 1340s.

Hooke Court: The house is of three storeys with cellars. According to Coker, Humphrey Stafford built the house c.1407. and this date may apply to the E. wing. In the 16thc. the house belonged to the Staffords, passing to the Paulets in 1609 about which time Wm. Paulet probably built the S. part of the S. wing. Damaged by fire in the Civil War and middle part of S wing probably reconstructed about this date. N. part of wing seems 18thc. Extensively altered and modernised in 18thc. and later. Moat: The W. and part of N sides have been filled in. The N. arm closely skirted the 15thc. wing (2) (2) Objects found in the moat of Hooke Court, and given by Sir Thos. and Lady Salt:- Dagger of the type called "Misericord" - its date is about 1400 AD. Acc. No. 1944. 23.1. Key of Md. pattern. Acc. No. 1944. 23.2. (RCHME; Hutchins; Accessions Book Dorset Co Museum).
The building is known as St Francis School, Hooke Court. A well preserved substantial stone building with comparatively modern extensions in the East wing and North wing. The Western part of the East wing shows traces of blocked in windows and doors. The south wing has several mullioned windows. The Moat has been partially filled in recently in the North and a modern swimming bath of concrete has been built into the southern arm. The moat has, in general, been defaced by gardening. The building is used as a school for boys (F1 JR 18-MAY-55).
"Hooke Court" retains a number of 17th century features. The moat has been further infilled. OS 1:2500 survey revised (F2 NVQ 14-NOV-71).
Hooke Court Rough ashlar and slated. 3s. W, front has three-light windows; those of N. half have lights with four-centred heads, those of S. half have elliptical heads. N. wall has buttresses and other traces of mediaeval work. Stone fireplace with Paulet arms. N.W. wing C.15. S.W. wing C.17. Modern additions. Much modernised interior (Listed Building Report).
The former south and east sides of the moat are occupied by a derelictswimming pool in the former and an ornamental pool in the latter. Theenclosed area (the position of the modern buildings) is raised - forming an island c. 2m above the presumed water level. Photographs contained within the school, and taken at the turn of the century; indicate the existence of an internal 'step' - sandwiched between the
moat and the raised internal platform. This was used as a garden walk. Immediately south of the southern arm of the moat, there are formal garden earthworks. This again takes the form of a 'walkway'; in this case at a lower level than the island and running at an east - west orientation. A leat-like feature (possibly of some antiquity) employs the line of the path. At its south end a rectangular pool has been constructed. Within this pool, an island is evident. Early photographs show that access to the island was gained by a causeway on the east side of the pool. This feature is an ideal location for an earlier fishpond. The house, Hooke Court, remains as described but is now known as and named St Francis School. (F3 DSM 28-APR-1987). (PastScape)

A Royal licence to crenellate was granted in 1344 Nov 12 (Click on the date for details of this licence.).

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Sources of information, references and further reading
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This record last updated 23/02/2016 10:03:52

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