People & Place
The house was originally home to the Abbess of Wimborne, and dates from the C8th, before becoming the Deanery in the C11th. At the Dissolution of the Chantries in 1548 the Manor was granted to John Hanham, MP for Poole, whose descendants have lived here ever since.
The house has two red brick, early Georgian facades on the north and east sides enclosing the Saxon hall, with Victorian alterations to the south and west.
The garden of 13 acres, set within the estate in the Stour valley, comprises some large and unusual mature specimen trees and a Saxon fishpond which fed the inhabitants of Wimborne’s monastery between C8th and C11th. The Mexican Swamp Cypress (110ft tall) and the Tulip tree were planted by explorer Thomas Hanham on his return from a voyage to the New World in 1607.
Our kitchen garden is surrounded by a ‘serpentine’ wall. It was the first organic garden in the country to be accredited by the Soil Association, under the supervision of William’s mother, Lady Jane Hanham. The garden provides chemical-free produce for our veg basket scheme, our café, and cut flowers for our weddings.
Over the last few years, under William and Ali’s guidance, the team at Deans Court has been gradually growing. We are now nearing 20 members of staff, and positions include a bee-keeper, an in-house stylist, an events manager and teams working across the house, gardens, home store and café. Our mix of skills is one of our greatest assets and enhanced hugely by a number of volunteers from overseas. We’ve had some amazing people helping us from all over the world, staying anywhere from a month to 5 years our volunteer scheme exchanges help across the estate with food, accommodation and the chance to learn English and explore of the Dorset’s amazing countryside and Jurassic coast.
If you’re interested in volunteering, or have a particular skill to offer then please do get in touch.