The History of Lillibrooke Manor
Lillibrooke Manor has been known as Lollebrok, Lollebrookes, Lolbrooks, Lowbroke, Lowbrook, Lowbrooks, Lullibrooke, Lyllebrok, or Lyllebrokes. The name Lillibrooke appears to have been the original title of the manor and the present house is therefore known as Lillibrooke Manor. It means “Babbling Brook”.
The house is first mentioned in public records in 1376 when Thomas de Lollebrok appeared in court to prove ownership of it. The Lollebrok family owned land locally from at least 1292. They prospered in the area for over a hundred years until King Richard II’s reign; when Lollebrok supported the ill-fated monarch and lost his lands as punishment for his loyalty. Around 1412, the manor passed into the hands of the well-known Martyn family of Athelhampton House in Dorset. The current manor house was constructed in about 1490 and it is possible that the family used the house when visiting the Royal Court in Windsor. By 1541, however, the family’s young heir, Robert Martyn sold up to the trustees of Englefield House (near Reading). The estate was purchased for a knight’s widow, Lady Elizabeth, and she lived at Lillebrooke while her son was installed at Englefield. It continued as one of the family’s major second residences after her death and was central to the 1594 marriage settlement agreed between Francis Englefield and the sister of Viscount Montagu.
During Cromwell’s Commonwealth, the estate was confiscated from the fifth son, William, as penalty for his Catholic beliefs. There are rumours of the existence of a priest hole in the property. In 1656, it was purchased by the new tenant, Henry Partridge, a citizen and cooper of London. It remained in the family until the middle of the 19th Century when the estate was bought by Charles Pascoe Grenfell along with several other manors in the area.
Until 1988 Lillibrooke Manor and the barns were part of a working farm. In 1988 massive grain drying bins were removed to reveal the magnificent space that is Lillibrooke Great Barn. Having recently come under new ownership in 2015 Lillibrooke Manor is now entering a new phase in its long life. The new owners are committed to preserving and enhancing this magical historical house so that it can be used and enjoyed by as many people as possible over the coming years.