The following represents a brief, current understanding of the history of Brockhampton Estate. By the end of the Summer of Archaeology we hope to have greatly improved upon this.
We know very little about the early history of Lower Brockhampton, except for the fact that the name Brockhampton means ‘ton of the dwellers by the brook’ in Anglo-Saxon English, suggesting that a settlement (ton) had been established well before the Norman conquest of 1066.
However, the first time Brockhampton is mentioned by name is in 1166 when a Charter records a knight, Bernardus de Brochantone (Brockhampton), who, along with nine other knights provided service for the Manor of Bromyard. Does this mean there was no settlement at Brockhampton until this date?
Today, the only visible remains of this early settlement is that of the ruined chapel, thought to have been built around 1180 by a member of the Brockhampton Family. There is also the site of a possible fish pond located next to the car park that visitors pass whilst approaching the moated house.
It was not until the early fifteenth century that Lower Brockhampton house as recognised today was built by the then owner John Domulton. To date we do not know if the surrounding moat already existed at this time, although it certainly appears to have been constructed after the chapel, which subsequently was also upgraded with additional windows and a font being included.
Nothing is known of the settlement itself, but like that of neighbouring Studmarsh (a village site located approximately one mile to the northeast), the population may have declined and occupation ceased following the turmoil caused by the Black Death in the fourteenth century.
Once constructed, the moated house and chapel remained the seat of Brockhampton Estate until the construction of Brockhampton House and replacement chapel at the entrance to the modern estate in 1756.