Thame Local History
Place House - Thame's Manor House
A 1705 Inventory
Hugh Dorrell came from an established Thame family and when he died in 1705 he was
living at Place House.
In his will of 1704 he bequeathed £60 to each of his two daughters and a grandson 'to be paid out of the House commonly called or known by the name of the Place House in Old Thame with the grounds thereto belonging'.
The 'rest and residue' of Place House was left to his son Hugh, but it seems that a three year lease on the house to Thomas Heybourne had been agreed, and the profits of this lease were to go to his son Robert. (Hugh Dorrell the younger was resident in London)
After he had died Edward Phillips and Thomas Heybourne took an inventory of the house, as was the practice.
In the kitchen, there was a 'table and frame with som flagen chaires', and a form, or bench, with a stool, a dresser of drawers and one 'Jacke 2 spitts'.
There was a malthouse containing two brass pots.
In the butteries (barrel stores) there was 'one cubard for barrells with other Lumber'.
In the 'parlor' there was a table which had twelve chairs and stools, as well as a fire shovel and tongs.
In the 'hall' there were two smaller tables and a cupboard.
In the 'brom house for tubbs and the stand with a forme'.
In 'two little Clossetts' there were 'an old trunke a box & 2 Little tables and two stooles'.
On the upper floor, in a 'little Chamber' there was a flock bed and bolster with bedstead.
In the 'parlor chamber' there was a feather bed with a bolster, curtains and valance, as well as seven chairs and stools, two small tables, a chest of drawers and an 'old stoole', as well as linen.
In the 'Middle Chamber' there was also a feather bed, with a bolster and two flock pillows, as well as curtains and a valance. There were also four chairs and a little table.
In the 'porch chamber' there was feather bed with a bolster and flock pillows, as well as curtains and a valance. Also in this room were six chairs and one stool, a chest, a little table and a looking glass.
We can get some idea of what Place House was like from this inventory, bearing in mind that by 1705 it was an ancient residence and parts of it may have fallen into disuse.
The 'parlour' with a table seating twelve people and a grand fireplace must have been an impressive room, and one can imagine that the walls were at one time lined with wood panelling.
The 'hall' mentioned was not an entrance hall as we would term it today, but a large room, possibly open to the rafters. This may have been where manorial business in former times was carried out, and may have been the oldest part of the building.
On the upper floor there was one small bedroom and three large bedrooms, with curtained beds and more furniture than the average living room.
Parts of the original house's gardens and yards had already been separated off. From property deeds in the Oxford Record Office we learn that in 1699 Hugh Dorrell had sold the 'backside' of Place House to Roger Betteridge, a local barber, for £30.
These deeds refer to broad gates, a barn, a stone wall and a piece of land known as the 'milking plot'.
It would seem that by 1705 Place House had become a well appointed residence, but as such it no longer needed the use of its extensive grounds.