Thame Local History
Place House - Thame's Manor House
What happened to it?
In 1547 the manors of Thame became the property of
Sir John Williams,
the changes brought about through the Reformation of King Edward VI.
Sir John Williams lived at Rycote Palace and so Place House lost its place as the seat of manorial power at Thame. The Dormer family were no longer in such a position of status and authority.
In 1592 John Dormer leased Place House to a John Symeon of Pyrton, at which time it was occupied by a yeoman farmer. It had begun to fall into decline.
In the late seventeenth century Place House belonged to Hugh Dorrell, and when he died his heirs sold Place House to Edward Butterfield of London, for £300 in 1705.
Hugh Dorrell had agreed a three year lease on Place House to Thomas Heybourne before he died, and when this expired in 1707, Thomas Butterfield leased Place House to the Crews family, tallow chandlers of Thame. In 1793 the Crews family disposed of it and at auction it was bought by Job Payne of Lashlake for £705.
It is possible that Job and Edward Payne of Lashlake dismantled the 'lately ruinated' mansion they had bought, and made use of the stonework elsewhere. There is a local tradition that part of the stone fabric of Place House was used to build a wall in Rook's Lane.
In 1801 Job Payne sold Place House and the three acre grounds within which it stood to the Curacy of Lee in Bucks, who were able to buy it with money provided through the Bounty of Queen Anne.
The curates of Lee it seems used the land for agricultural purposes, and the grounds of Place House became known as 'Lee's Close'.
In the early twentieth century the land was used as a well ordered market garden.
Aerial photographs show that the site was no longer a tidy market garden after the Second World War, and around 1952 it was covered in concrete slabs, so that Thame's livestock market could be moved from the town's High Street to Lee's Close.
The land now belongs to South Oxford District Council, and is leased to the operators of the cattle market.
The farm on the corner of Wellington Street, once Manor Farm, has now been demolished to make way for a housing development called Lee's Court.
Place House itself has gone. We have no pictures of it. We don't even know exactly where it stood within the cattle market site.