History of Homme House

The Estate

The origins of the Homme House Estate date back to the 14th century, when it was owned by the Mortimer family. The Mortimers rose to fame through Roger Mortimer's affair with Isabella, wife of Edward II, who was imprisoned in Berkeley Castle and murdered there in 1327. The remains of Mortimers Castle lie on the edge of the Estate, adjacent to St. Bartholomew's Church.

In the mid-15th century the Estate became the property of the crown before later being bought in 1574 by Thomas Kyrle - great-great uncle of John Kyrle, 'Man of Ross' - with ownership traceable thereafter through the same family links to this day.

The House

The origins of the current house date back to the early 1500s, when a large stone house stood on the current site. The tower is the only surviving wing and is the oldest part of the current building, dating from this period. The Kyrles were part of an influential county-wide extended family; Thomas's son and heir Sir John was created a baronet by Charles I in 1627 and was twice High Sheriff of Herefordshire. He rebuilt the house in the early 17th century after a major fire; this is commemorated by the cartouche above the front door, which bears the date of 1623 and the marital coat of arms of his parents, Thomas Kyrle and his wife Frances, daughter of John Knotsford of Malvern, Worcestershire.

The house was substantially altered in the middle of the 19th century including refacing with its current red brick and stone dressings. The large bay window was an addition from that time.

Homme House was used as a hospital during World War II; documents on display from H M The Queen and the Red Cross acknowledge the house's wartime use.

The house is now a Grade II* listed building, surrounded by an extensive garden, 100 acres of historic parkland landscaped in the style of Capability Brown (1715-1783), and 80 acres of woodland. The house was renovated in 2001 by the present owners.

The Summerhouse

A recently restored Grade 1 listed Summerhouse stands at the top of the two acre Walled Garden with breathtaking views of the Malvern Hills and the Cotswolds beyond.

Architectural and archaeological analysis has concluded that the Summerhouse may be one of the most important buildings of its date and type in the region and is also of national significance. It was built very early in the 18th century, if not towards the end of the 17th century, and represents a very early example of a Gothick garden building, pre-dating Miller's work at Radway Grange in the late-1740s or Walpole's work at Strawberry Hill. The date and significance of the lantern at the apex of the roof, however, remain a delightful mystery.

The two-storey building was constructed in a single phase and subsequently remodelled only slightly. The status and comfort of its two rooms and the spacious stair access to them suggests that it was built as a fashionable garden building for the owners of the house. It would offer suitable accommodation for both winter and summer use, a little removed from the main house and yet conveniently still within the walled garden, and may have been used as a space for 'peaceful bucolic contemplation'.