The Manor of Hallow was one of the most valuable possessions of the Priory. In 1312 the Prior obtained from the Crown license to ‘impark’ 100 acres, of which 40 acres were already woodland, as a Priory deer-park. A manor house was recorded in1240 but this fell into decay.
After the Reformation it was retained by the Bishopric of Worcester but ‘the Estate and Demesne’ was leased to wealthy tenants for centuries. The first was William Hett, followed by John Habington, Vice-Treasurer or ’Cofferer’ in the royal household. There is no record of a manor house at this time, but on her Royal Progress in the West Midlands in 1574, Queen Elizabeth 1 dined at his mansion in Hindlip during her visit to Worcester and hunted in his estate in Hallow Park, killing two deer there. During her week in Worcester with her vast retinue ‘Her Majesty’s horses and geldings, to the number of 1500, were depastured on Pitchcroft’.
The Habington family fell out of favour when sons Thomas and Edward were implicated in a plot to murder Elizabeth and put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne (for which Edward was executed) and in 1605 in the Gunpowder Plot. Thomas went on, having been sentenced to be confined to Worcestershire, to record information for a history of Worcestershire for the remaining 40 years of his life. It is probable that John Habington rebuilt the manor house that is recorded by his historian son as ‘on a small hill, a short distance from the Severn, so that it was noways annoyed with the contagious vapousinge from the water’.
In the latter part of the 16th Century, the lease passed to the Fleet (or Walgrove) family, a leading Worcester family in the cloth industry. John Fleet endowed a parochial charity in 1617 for the poor and the remuneration of a minister to preach sermons. In 1646 Parliamentary leader Colonel Edward Whalley, with 140 soldiers, were unwelcome guests in this Royalist household before removing his headquarters to Rainbow Hill in Worcester. By 1651 the Park was home to William Coombe. By 1680 the estate was the home of Edward Bull from Warwickshire. His second wife Anne (nee Lygon of the prominent Madresfield family) left £100 to buy land as an endowment for teaching poor children of Hallow, Grimley and Madresfield. This legacy formed the nucleus for the endowment of a village school in Hallow in 1712.
Through much of the 18th century the lease for the Park was held by the Lygon family from Madresfield, who paid an annual rent of £11- 16s-8d to the Bishop of Worcester. Tenure was assured for the lifespan of three named people on the lease, one name was always of a teenage boy for greater security of tenure. The house was largely rebuilt in the 18th Century. On Reginald Lygon’s death Hallow Park became the home of Joseph Berwick, a draper from Stroud, who founded Worcester Old Bank, which was one of England’s top 5 great Stock Banks and was eventually absorbed into Lloyds. His only daughter’s son-in-law, Colonel Samuel Wall, took over the estate in the early 19th century.
In 1842 the tenant was Mrs. Holland. A notable visitor to the estate at this time was the Scottish surgeon and scientist Sir Charles Bell. He is remembered for his pioneering discoveries on the nervous system. He was suffering from angina and died during a visit to Hallow Park and is buried in the old Churchyard in Hallow. In the latter part of the 19th Century Hallow Park was home to Revd. Robert Burr Borne, described as a ‘clergyman of fortune’ then Captain J. P. Lord, whose widow collected funds for the building of the church tower in 1879. He was followed by Francis Wood.
The estate was bought by the clothing millionaire Joseph Banks, the benefactor who gave Hallow both the playing field and £500 towards the Parish Hall built in 1930. The present house in Hallow Park was built in 1914. As an old man in 1941 Mr. Banks donated £5000 in the war effort for a Spitfire named ‘Hallow’ in honour of the younger men of the village serving in the forces. The neighbouring property Parkfield was built and owned in Victorian times by Mr. Charles Wheeley Lea (head of Lea and Perrins Worcester Sauce). After his death his widow became a generous benefactor to Hallow and Worcester. She bought Hallow Park in 1912 but it was resold after her death.
Parkfield (aka Bohun House) was gifted to the Bishop but the beautiful chateau style mansion was never used as she willed and was demolished in 1932, its magnificent scale fittings sold off at auction. After World War II there was also a decline in the fortunes of Hallow Park. Dr. Barnardo’s opened a Home in the manor house in March 1947, which closed in 1959. In 1958 it was home to 62 children under the charge of Mrs. Marion Neal. Three accommodation ‘cottages’ were built in the grounds and it reopened in 1961 as a mixed Home. The children swelled the ranks of the village Primary School. In line with the charity’s changing role, Dr. Barnardo’s closed in January 1980.
The estate was next rented by Fishmore Hall School’s Group as a sister school to Nash School. Hallow Park was an independent Special School for girls, from 1981- 1988. Since 1991 the site has been owned by various property firms. The three residential ‘cottages’ built by Barnardo’s have been demolished and sold for private housing. The manor house, stables and outbuildings have been developed as a Business Park. The once elegant house and grounds however have not been restored to their former glory.