Since the early 13th century, continuous sequences of quite prestigious timber- framed single residences have existed on this hotel in Brentwood, Essex. The first owner, Sir William de Bruyn, a neighbouring manorial Lord, created the small Manor of Brook Street of some 150 acres centred on the hamlet, which lay alongside a lively brook and Roman Road. This estate was managed from the house, which was surrounded by a large rectangular moat. Succeeding generations of the de Bruyn family and the families of Tyrrell and Harleston maintained an interest in Brook Street until the mid 16th century.
In the late 15th century, a family named Roper farmed the Manor of Brook Street and Henry Roper greatly enhanced the moated house, which he called The Place. He became an important officer in the royal household of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of King Henry VIII and it seems likely that both she and her husband were visitors to The Place. After the death of Henry Roper, The Place remained in his family until the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII when the chantry and it’s land came under the jurisdiction of the Duchy of Lancaster. Soon afterwards, John Wright of nearby Kelvedon Hall, held The Place and 80 acres of the Chantry lands and one of his sons, Robert, actually lived there.
Robert gave the name Brook Hall to the moated house and in 1535 named the estate the Manor of Mary Green after his new bride. This branch of the wealthy Wright family lived in the house for nearly 200 years during which time it was renamed the Moat House and was considerably improved and modified in accordance with changing designs and fashions. The House as it stood around the year 1580 during the time of Robert and Mary Wright, is the essential core of the old house we see today. The famous diarist Samuel Pepys was a friend of the Wrights and probably knew the Moat House from his many visits to the area in the 1660’s. Some members of the Wright family emigrated to the New World between 1630 and 1640 and it seems that two of their descendents, Wilbur and Orvill Wright, were the famous pioneers of air flight.
After the Wrights, from 1723 until well into the 19th century, the story of the Manor of Mary Green is mainly one of absentee landlords and yeoman farmers. Various owners made improvements to the house during that time and in 1840 the railway track was driven through part of the land. Over the next century, the house was the elegant home of businessmen and others, retired or otherwise. During World War II, the house was requisitioned for use by the Army and in the 1950’s was given a facelift by the removal of the external plaster to reveal the original timbers as they were at the time of Robert and Mary Wright.
The house first became a hotel in 1968 and with the construction of the additional buildings in keeping with it’s Tudor tradition, was called The Moat House. In later years the hotel changed ownership and reverted back to the original name of Marygreen Manor. For over 16 years now the hotel has been owned and operated by Pantheon Hotels and Leisure Ltd.
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