Byfleet Manor's precursor was a royal hunting lodge given by Edward II to Piers Gaveston, his reputed lover. Anne of Denmark, wife of King James I, the house's last royal owner commissioned a fresh house here in 1619. However, she died before it was finished. The front walls and gate piers, which can still be seen today, date from that time. A detailed ownership and account of royal rights is set out in sources covering this period of history, such as the Feet of Fines and the Assize Rolls kept in the Royal collections and today's National Archives but which is well summarised in for example the Victoria County History.
A rebuilding followed in 1685 as the early Jacobean architecture house was reported to be ruinous. This change led to a much smaller building. In 1672 the lands were granted to Lord Holles and others to hold in trust for Queen Catherine of Braganza for her life, and afterwards for Charles II of England and his heirs. In 1694 Sir John Buckworth was accused, as lord of the manor of Byfleet, of neglect in repairing a bridge over the Wey within the manor. It was found, however, that he was not responsible for such repair, as he was only a "termer for years" in the manor under a "lease made by the late queen mother's trustees." There is very little trace of the manor for about a century after this.
An Enclosure Award, privatising fields, was made in 1811 for 780 acres (3.2 km2) in the parish, including common fields of Byfleet Manor, i.e. formerly whose profits were shared between its owner, tenants and subtenants.
The home remained virtually unaltered until 1905, when it was restored and enlarged with the addition of asymmetrical wings. The scant modern vestiges of the ancient manorial rights were parted with to a firm of solicitors in that decade. In February 2013, a hidden room was found within the home. The house is open to the public for tea parties.
It has served as the dower house in ITV's Downton Abbey, as well as in the television adaptation of Agatha Christie's Poirot: After the Funeral and in the BBC television series Cranford. In the Disney production Into the Woods in 2014, its exterior was used as Cinderella's home.
- Historic England. "MANOR HOUSE AND MANORSIDE WEST (1236613)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "Surrey mansion's starring role as Dame Maggie Smith's home in Downton Abbey - Out & about". Surrey Life. 2012-09-21. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- H.E. Malden (editor) (1911). "Parishes: Byfleet". A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3. Institute of Historical Research. Retrieved 14 February 2014.
- "BBC News - 'Downton' house could unlock secrets of Surrey history". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-02-23. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Tea Vintage at Byfleet Manor". YouTube. 2013-06-03. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
- "Internet Movie Database". 2013-10-19. Retrieved 2014-02-14.
- Jennifer Morris (12 September 2012). "Downton Abbey home from home for Dame Maggie". getsurrey. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
- "Into the Woods: the journey from stage to screen". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
Media related to Byfleet Manor at Wikimedia Commons