The History of Fishley Hall
There has been a substantial dwelling at Fishley since the days of King John, who in 1201 gave its tenancy to his Falconer Roger de Veile. Indeed the de Veile family were still living at Fishley in 1277. In 2011 the stone coffin of Roger’s son Sir John de Veile was discovered at Fishley church by churchwarden Ivan A Barnard.
Fishley hall is often referred to, as of the Georgian period. This however does not mean that the whole house was built in that period. We know that William Luson a wealthy merchant after purchasing it in 1714 from Roger Pepys bricked up the windows at the front of the house and added a Georgian facade in 1717.
Its reasonable to assume that the front section of the Hall to which William Luson added the Georgian façade is possibly up to a hundred years older. Indeed the lower flint sections of the external north wall to the dining room are considered to be older still. Adjacent to this was the north wing that was pulled down sometime during the nineteen century. This may have coincided with the moving of the Pistor chamber organ into the church in 1883. This unique 1781 Pilstor organ one of only three organs of this manufacture known to exist is still in use today.
There is a story of a tunnel from the cellars leading to under the north wing and then to the boat dyke that then directly connected you to the river and to the sea beyond. By 1812 the boat dyke and no doubt the tunnel also had long since been disused, but one wonders who and for what purpose or indeed what cargo may have come ashore and secretly been transported to the hall.
The history of Fishley Hall as outlined above is neither exhaustive or complete, its very much a work in progress.
Part two of this story will deal with the illustrious pedigree of rich and famous names that have owned or inherited it.
Ivan A Barnard