Barton Court at Longport, Canterbury, Kent, England, is now a Grammar School. It was owned by the Hougham family from 1657 until 1902. But it's origins go back to 605 CE.
Hasted's History of Canterbury published in 1799 has this description of the area:
"The road to Sandwich and Deal passes from Burgate along St Paul's, where is the church of that name along with the Borough of Longport, where the way or street is remarkably wide and spacious, being the highest ground and esteemed the most pleasant and healthy of any part within the city, or without. On the north side of it is the wall which bounds the precinct of St Augustine's Abbey, on which the Kent and Canterbury Hospital is built, and on the opposite side the mansion of Barton."
The area began as the home-farm of the Abbey of St Augustine, established about 598-605 AD. It remained with the monks until 1538.
There was also a court belonging to the abbey to hear and determine, before a bailiff, pleas, actions for debts and other matters subject to its authority in respect of the abbey's vassals. These court records provide us with much information from that time.
The manor is described in detail in the Domesday survey of 1084-6.
By the 1100's we know that there were 97 burgesses who paid rents worth £8/0/6. The manor was worth £17.
In 1313 the Abbot was summoned by Henry de Stanton, the itinerant justice, to show by what warrant he claimed to exercise various rights in the manor at Longport ("Longport" and "Barton Manor" are sometimes interchangeable). He answered that those rights had been granted in the charter of earlier kings and had satisfied the Justices in 1295; that it was confirmed by charters by Edward I and Edward II. He won his case, but just in case, he secured a writ from the King to the Sheriff of Kent on 17th May 1313 confirming the abbey's rights.
In the 1300's the manor had acquired property in other parts of Kent.
In 1137 Hugh, Abbot of St Augustine's, established the hospital of St Lawrence and granted it "the whole tythe of wheat and peas of all the land which adjoined to Langeport of their demesne, on the left side of the highway which led from Canterbury to Dover, which land is within the parish of St Paul belonging to the manor of Barton."
In 1399 twenty marks of rent from Barton Manor were granted to two chantry chaplains for the soul of the late John Buckingham, Bishop of Lincoln.
By 1535 the lease of the manor was worth £31.
In 1538 it was closed under the dissolution of the monasteries under Henry VIII.
In 1657 Sir Solomon Hougham b1623 purchased Barton Court in the area known as Longport. He had inherited and accumulated considerable wealth.
Solomon never married and at his death in 1696 left Barton Court to his nephew, Solomon b1656, on condition that it passed to the eldest son for ten generations. It is suprising that Solomon b1623, who was himself unmarried and childless, did not anticipate the problems he would cause. Great confusion and many lawsuits resulted when the property passed from male to female heirs. The will conditions lasted but five of the intended ten generations.
Nephew Solomon is reported to be a goldsmith, which seems to have been a strong family tradition. The most famous is his grand nephew Solomon born ninety years after him in 1746 - who had as apprentice nephew Henry. This Solomon was in partnership with his brother Charles 1790-1793, then entered the more well-known partnership with Solomon Royes and John East Dix.
Solomon died without sons, and the manor passed to his brother Charles b1660 as per the original will of Sir Solomon.
Charles inherited the estate in 1714, along with a manor at Woodnesborough and estates at Eastry. A relative, Francis, apparently challenged his inheritance in favour of her son (1717). Charles' eldest son Henry automatically inherited Barton Court as per the original will.
Henry died 1726 and Barton Court passed to his son William b1721, who rebuilt it to its present form and who seems to have owned it for the longest period - perhaps 60 years. He gave Barton Court to his son William b1752 before 1799 - maybe as a wedding present 1780?? William was second cousin to Solomon Royes and the last male Hougham to own Barton Court. He died in 1828 and his widow Sarah died there in 1839. They do not appear to have had any children and the conditions under which Sir Solomon had tied up Barton Court to the Hougham male heirs was now in disarray!
In William's will Little Barton, Great Bossingham and Barton Court goes "to Wife Sarah for the remainder of her life and after  to Catherine Chesshyre", his niece and wife of Admiral John Chesshyre. On her death it passed to her son, the Rev William John Chesshyre. He was vicar of St Paul's (long associated with Barton Manor and Court, as it still is today), rector of the historic St Martin's, and a Cathedral Canon. He died in 1859 and Barton Court appears to have stayed in the family's hands until his widow's death in 1902, when it was sold to Major General John Cecil Russell, CVO, JP.
In 1941 the house was sold to Canterbury City Corporation and sub-let to the Education authority for the Canterbury Technical High School for Girls. In 1945 it was bought for the Barton Court Grammar School. Some of the information on this page comes from a book produced by students of Barton Court Grammar in 1969.
The Robinsons and the Barons Rokeby
Sarah (Robinson), wife of William Hougham b1752, died at Barton Court in 1839. Of interest is her connection to the 2nd Baron Rokeby, Matthew Robinson-Morris, who is mentioned in her will. He is her cousin and a nephew of Richard Robinson, Archbishop of Armagh, Primate of Ireland (Church of Ireland) and first Baron Rokeby of Armagh. The picture of Richard was painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds.
The baronetcy of Rokeby is unfortunately best known for its eccentric 2nd Baron, Matthew Robinson-Morris. Check the web connection against his name for the full story.
3rd Baron Rokeby is his nephew (and Sarah's cousin once removed) Morris, the 4th is Morris's brother, Matthew, who assumed the name Montagu sometimes listed (as in this database) as Robinson-Montagu. The title passed to his sons Edward then Henry.
The 6th Baron Rokeby Henry was a General who commanded the 1st Division during the Crimean War.
[Barons are referred to as "Lord" so if you are searching the web you need to search for both Baron Rokeby and Lord Rokeby.]
Barton Court owners
in the Family Tree
||Purchased by Solomon Hougham b1623
||to nephew Solomon Hougham b1656
||to brother Charles Hougham b1660
||to son Henry Hougham b1690
||to son William Hougham b1721
||to son William Hougham b1752
||to wife Sarah (Robinson) Hougham until her death
||to William's niece Catherine (Sandys) Chesshyre as per William's will
||to Catherine's son, the Rev William John Chesshyre
||His widow Mary Elizabeth had ownership or occupancy until her death in 1902
||Sold to Major General John Cecil Russell
Memorial for William Hougham and his wife Sarah (Robinson) in St Martin's Church Canterbury
[Photo: Robin Young]
Chesshyre family memorial at St Martin's
[Photo: Robin Young]
St Augustine's Abbey