Highnam Court – A brief history

In the Middle Ages the manor of Highnam belonged to the abbot of Gloucester. It was granted by the Crown in 1542 to John Arnold (d 1545), who had leased the site since 1516. On his death it was inherited by his son Nicholas, who by 1552 had been knighted, was later sheriff and MP, and attempted to improve the breed of English horses. His heir was his granddaughter Dorothy (d 1580), who was married to Thomas Lucy (kt 1593, d 1605). Their daughter Joyce was married to Sir William Cooke MP (d 1618), and father then followed son, the following being lord: Robert, MP (kt 1621, d 1643); William, MP (d c 1700), for whom the present house was built; Edward (d c 1724); and Dennis (d 1747). The last was succeeded by his sisters, one of whose son, John Guise, reunited the manor in 1769 having lived at the house since 1757 or before. John, who inherited a baronetcy in 1783, held Highnam until his death in 1794, during which time he much improved the interior of the house and landscaped its surrounds. It next passed to his son Sir Berkeley William Guise (d 1834), whose brother and heir, Sir John Wright Guise, sold the manor in 1838 to Thomas Gambier Parry. Parry, who became well known as a painter of frescoes and a collector of works of art, had James Pulham lay out extensive new gardens in the 1840s. After Parry’s death in 1888 his widow Ethelinda held Highnam until her death in 1896. It then passed to Parry’s son by his first wife, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, composer (cr bt 1902, d 1918), who was succeeded by his half-brother Ernest Gambier Parry (d 1936). His son, Thomas Mark Gambier Parry lived on at Highnam until his death in 1966. The house, gardens, and a small part of the park passed into separate ownership in 1977. Highnam Court was purchased by the current owner, Roger Head in 1993, who has carried out a considerable amount of work on both the house and the estate which is enjoyed by many visitors today.

A full account can be found at www.historicengland.org.uk