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Lost for over 500 years - only to be mislaid for a further 16 years

‘The Jewell House’ sketch found hidden behind the panelling at Hamme House

          The discovery of a 16th century sketch behind the 1592 panelling in the medieval part of Hamme House, Grade II, in Kings Mill Lane, has given a strong clue as to who would have been the steward of Nutfield in the early part of the 16th century.

         The sketch, which was in a very poor state, was of a Norman building and had the description: ‘The Jewell House’.  The original was mislaid but a copy was discovered recently filed away in Nutfield History Group’s History of Surrey Vol II by Edward Brayley.

          Up till now, there did not seem to be any reference to Nutfield’s steward’s name in 1505 in the Manorial Documents that were available until the analysis of the sketch from Hamme House.


According to the late Dick Deacon, local historian.

           He was of the opinion that this sketch would have been the original principal building that was replaced by years of successive buildings, including Manor Court, painted by John Hassell in 1821, then a Victorian building known as Nutfield Court which was probably rebuilt by Gurney, and now converted into six modern dwellings.

          The discovery made behind 1592 panelling and Dick Deacon’s endorsement, establishes the provenance of the sketch that it was of the early house that would have been on the Lords of the Manor’s demesne.

         ‘The Jewell House’ (as we know it today from its c.1500 name on the sketch) could have been built by the Countess Ida of Lorrain, wife of Count Eustace of Boulogne in about 1086.  

         The sketch depicts a Norman Conquest building in a new manner which was a function of residence, a castellum, orginally a centre for the governing of the village of Nutfield and beyond, that was built on defence style, with a lack of windows on the ground floor. For the ruling class at that time warfare was a way of life.

         The Lord’s dwelling would have required a hall for audience adminstration and entertaining (centre of sketch), a chapel for worship (single storey building in the centre joined to the building on the right), a chamber for retiring and living (left of sketch), a kitchen, stables, a place for cattle, forges and workshop (shown on the right of sketch).

          Looking at the sketch, it is possible to see that the artist appears to have recorded the roof section on the left of the building as under construction. A second drawing was made because of an ink spill on the first drawing by the artist.

          By tradition the name of the house in the 16th century would have been the name of the person who would have resided there.  In this case it would have been Richard Jewell.  He would have conjecturally been the steward at the time, living in the house on the Lords’ Demesne. His family name appears on 3 lay subsidy rolls in the 16th century, spelt as Geels, Jeele, Jele and Jeals.

            In his favour, Richard, a respectable yeoman, gained great acknowledgement from Nutfield villagers with his advice on how to reduce their dues to the government of the day, which went a long way to make him a good confidante of the Lords of Nutfield.

           Dame Anne Tropenell and Elizabeth Twynyho and her husband, who were Lords of the Manor of Nutfield in 1505, probably considered there was a need for a more personal approach for a new building for administration other than the Jewell House with its agressive appearance.

The Jewell House may have been considered to be a religious building, having a chapel and destroyed under the dissolution of the monasteries.

          This could have been put into action by the ‘Valor Ecclesiasticus’ ruling of 1535 by Cromwell and Henry VIII.

Painting of The Jewell House by Mike Garwood 2012

Hamme House

             It has been said that the original panelling came from the Norman building known in c.1500 as ‘The Jewell House’ although this has not been proven.

        Apart from the original Hamme House in 1723 the use of square framing has not been established in any building in Nutfield.

        The Turner monogram can be seen in oak panelling today.  Hamme House has some very decorative hand painted medieval floral wall designs on the second floor and behind the window shutters on the main beams, which have been decorated in a similar style.


        The Turners were Lords of the Manor for most of the 17th century.

The Jewell House Sketch