The earliest part of the house formed part of the important Saxon monastery of Wimborne, founded in 705 AD. For the next three centuries it was probably the home of the Abbesses. Although the monastery was sacked by the Danes in 1015, the house survived and in 1043 became the Deanery to the College of the Minster which flourished until the Reformation. In 1548 John Hanham, MP for Poole and a Commissioner for Dorset, was appointed to seize the Church lands in and around Wimborne, and duly acquired the house with some 4,000 acres. His descendants have lived here ever since. The fine red brick facades were added in 1725, and the Saxon hall was remodelled in 1868 with the addition of stained glass windows incorporating reclaimed panels of Elizabethan armorial glass.