Hektor abandoned a successful career in banking to take over the family estate somewhat on a whim! The Park has now become his passion. Henham Park is a typical medieval deer park - with one difference; theres no Manor House. Today the park is run as farmland, used for weddings and as the site for several notable music and festival events taking place throughout the year, including the successful Latitude festival.
Extensive records exist for the estate and the Rous family, including an extraordinary family tree on a huge vellum parchment. These records suggest that the earliest manor house at Henham was built by a previous family, the De la Poles, with the Rous family then replacing it with a 15th century grand Tudor complex on gaining ownership of the land. In 1773, whilst John Rous, then Earl of Stradbroke, was away on the Grand Tour a butler dropped a candle in the cellar and the house burnt to the ground. The cost represented 8 years income for the estate. It would be 20 years before a replacement was built, designed by James Wyatt, in a grand Georgian style. This built also involved landscaping of the grounds by the renowned Humphrey Repton. Hektor still has the Repton 'red book' and has been working to complete several features in the park that were never finished.
The Georgian manor house was pulled down in 1953 as a result of inheritance tax and death duties and was never replaced. Hektor has plans to build a modern manor house close the site of the former builds and asked Time Team to help him find out about his family history and to reveal how the park and its manor houses changed over time.
Our key aim was to uncover the remains of the Tudor complex - the first Rous-built manor house at Henham. This Tudor site had never been ploughed or built on. Could we uncover the remains of a house burnt down by the butler? We had three days to reveal three hundred years of Rous family history.