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Hanham Court, Hanham Abbots (also known as Hanham Court Gardens)

Pgds 20090209 211628 Hanham Compilation


Hanham Court is a medieval ensemble of court, church and tithe barn. The manor was given to Keynsham Abbey in around 1330. Features include surviving walled orchards, fish ponds, mature lime avenues, 20th-century tree planting and herbaceous borders. There is historic woodland and field archaeology to the south of the house. A tithe barn (listed grade II) probably dates from the 15th century. The wrought iron gates and ashlar piers (listed grade II) are thought to date from the 18th century. The stables (listed grade II) date from the mid-19th century.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

The garden is situated half way between Bath and Bristol. It is an unexpectedly rural mediaeval monastic enclave at the end of a tiny lane near the River Avon. Over the past 15 years Isabel and Julian Bannerman have created a romantic scented garden.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

The ‘Dell' is home to a stumpery such as the one that the Bannermans created at Highgrove for The Prince of Wales. There are ferns, tree ferns, massed snowdrops, hellebores, dog tooth violets, violets and primroses, magnolias, wild rambling roses rampaging through trees, pools and stream.

The formal garden is a fortified bastion with fountains, luscious borders of old roses and tree peonies, scented perennials and bulbs, lilies and daturas in pots, punctuated by buildings and doorways which lead out into the miniature parkland, orchard, wildflower meadows, and simple cutting and vegetable gardens.

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

Gardens open for private tours. For opening times please email:

Appointments can be made any time for groups of over 20 people.


Julian and Isabel Bannerman


Archaeological evidence of a Roman Villa was uncovered in the dell in 1900, while building a new septic tank. The house stands above the river Avon at a strategic point and ancient Ferry Crossing. It is situated right on the Via Julia (Julian Road) from Bath to the Roman Port at Avonmouth.

11th Century

The tithe barn was built in the 11th century.

14th Century

The church which is connected to the house probably dates from the 14th century. The house was part of Keynsham Abbey which was in the Avon valley, and soon after the dissolution of the monasteries became the country estate of the Creswicke family, Mayors of Bristol, for nearly four hundred years.

There is something from almost every century thereafter at the Court. Developments included the Tudor gables and windows and the Jacobean screen and fireplaces. Georgian improvements, such as panelling and windows on the east wing, were possibly suggested by John Wood, who lived in the same parish at the time.

19th Century

In the 19th century came the ‘re-gothification' when the Creswickes left and Mr White from London spent his money adding reclaimed medieval gargoyles and the pointed roof to the tower. The garden was almost certainly heavily influenced by Canon Ellacombe of Bitton, in which parish the house and chapel of ease then fell. The trademark Psuedoacacias and thousands of cyclamen and snowdrops surviving in the garden suggest his hand. About 1900 a very classy Arts and Crafts kitchen wing was added by the Stephens -suppliers of printing and other inks to the nation. In 1993 Julian and Isabel Bannerman moved in with their three sons and began the huge job of restoring the house and making a garden.


Medieval (1066 to 1540)

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • Conservation Area

  • Reference: Hanham Abbots
  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Reference: Hanham Court
  • Grade: II*


  • Garden Wall
  • Orchard
  • Description: Walled orchards.
  • Fishpond
  • Plantation
  • Manor House (featured building)
  • Description: The house is said to be medieval in origin. There are 16th to 18th-century alterations and a late-19th-century wing.
  • Stream
  • Fountain
  • Rose Border
  • Potager
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: Walnut tree, whose branches spread across a diameter of 94 feet.
  • Avenue
  • Description: Mature lime avenues.
  • Herbaceous Border
  • Garden Building
  • Description: A tithe barn probably dates from the 15th century.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Gate
  • Description: Wrought iron gates.
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  • Gate Piers
  • Description: Ashlar piers.
  • Earliest Date:
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  • Stable Block
  • Earliest Date:
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Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Medieval (1066 to 1540)





Open to the public


Civil Parish

Hanham Abbots



  • Isabel and Julian Bannerman

  • Avon Gardens Trust