History

Welcome to Milton’s historic Court Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Milton

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Why do we attach so much importance to this medieval building which English Heritage has accorded Grade II* listing?

The Court Hall was the town’s civic centre and served both as a court and administrative centre for the Hundred covering much of the Isle of Sheppey and the mainland between Milstead, Newington and Bapchild. It was central to Milton’s market, being the guildhall and trading standards office in the charge of an annually elected Portreeve. The Portreeve, with his assistant called a Borsholder, exercised some of the functions of a mayor in mercantile and day-to-day affairs of the market, setting the price for goods coming into the port of Milton. There was also a Manorial Steward who held territorial jurisdiction on behalf of the Lord of the Manor through the Court Leet and Court Baron, both of which were held in the Court Hall. The Court Hall also had two small gaol cell. The Court Hall was also used as a school for 9 or 10 boys.

In appearance, the building is very similar to the Town Hall at Fordwich, with timber framing and plaster infill, topped with a tiled roof and whereas at one time most towns would have had such a building, today these are the only two left in Kent.

Our history

1450

Milton Regis Court Hall is built

The Court Hall, said to have been built in about 1450.

2015

New funding for renovation

The next task was to raise the necessary funding, estimated to be in the order of £20,000 to £30,000 to bring the building back to its original condition. A fund raising drive was initiated through grant funding and donations. In July 2015 an application was made to SITA Trust under..Read More

1877

Early mention

The Court Hall mentioned by Canon Scott Robertson as being in official documents dated 1473

1907

Regis

The suffix “Regis” granted to Milton

1926

1st change of ownership into private hands

With the demise of the old manorial system and the introduction of a more efficient system of local government at the beginning of the twentieth century, the Court Hall fell into private hands. Purchased by Sydney Nicholls, the last Portreeve of Milton for £75

1944

Enemy action

The Court Hall substantial damaged due to enemy action

1945

2nd change of ownership

Death of Sydney Nicholls, the Court Hall passes to his son Arthur Nicholls

1947

3rd change of ownership

The Court Hall sold to Thomas Buggs, a local Milton Councillor and leading businessman

1949

4th and final change of ownership

The Court Hall donated by Thomas Buggs to the then Sittingbourne and Milton Urban District Council

1956

Demolition of cottages

Demolition of cottages attached to the Court Hall over many years. During these works Anglo-Saxon remains found.

1957

Restoration

Extensive restoration (1957/8) of the Court Hall following demolition of cottages.

1959

1st opening as a museum

On the 20th May 1959, the Court Hall was opened as a museum by Councillor S F J Forster, chairman of the Council

1972

2nd opening as a museum

Following loss of interest and being closed for some years, the Court Hall reopened as a museum under the care of Swale Archaeolgical Research Group

1980

Sittingbourne Society

In the 1980’s Sittingbourne society assisted with operating the museum.

1987

Milton Regis Society

The revival of the Milton Regis Society led to the formation of a Joint managment Committee by three interested groups.

1998

Milton High Street refurbishment

The refurbishment of Milton High Street including the area around the Court Hall and establishment of a conservation area.

2006

Sittingbourne Archaeological Group

One of the 1987 groups, Sittingbourne Archaeological Group, was wound up and its assets transferred to the Historical Research Group of Sittingbourne (HRGS)

2007

3rd opening as a museum

Following extensive neogations with Swale Brough Council, HRGS operated another Court Hall museum. Sometime later due to financial implications the museum was abandoned.

2013

A new book

John Clancy wrote a book called “A Short History of the Court Hall and its role within the town of Milton Regis”. The book was donated by John. The cost of production was generously donated by the Nicholls family.

2014

Formation of The Friends of Milton Regis Court Hall charity and 4th opening as a museum

After many hours of meetings between the Friends Group and Swale Borough Council and following the establishment of the Friends as a registered charity (March) a 25 year lease was signed (April). The Court Hall opened again as a museum for 5 days.