The History of Portmore House (54-56 Church St)


Catherine Sedley

The home of Meadows Ryan Solicitors, Portmore House, 56 Church Street, Weybridge, has a colourful history dating back to 1654. In 1654 James II bought the property as a home for his mistress Catherine Sedley. Portmore House stood in the triangle of what are now Balfour, Devonshire and Portmore Park Roads, with large grounds and a brick wall dividing it from the High Street.

The garden of Portmore Cottage was cut off and made into part of Jarvis Yard but originally the two gardens were bounded by the brick wall of the Portmore Estate with a door in the wall at the Portmore House end.

When James II abdicated and fled the country, Catherine Sedley, by now created Countess of Dorchester, fell upon evil days and reluctantly let her mansion to the Earl of Aylesbury, retiring to Portmore Cottage. However, much to the annoyance of the Earl, she frequently trespassed the grounds, entering by using a key she had retained to the door in the wall.

In or shortly after August 1696, she married Sir David Colyear, who later became the 1st Earl of Portmore, leaving the little house and returning to the mansion which, with its grounds, became known as ‘Portmore Park’.


King James II

In 1733 the house was altered, adding the staircase, altering the windows and raising the parapet. A Date Brick of 1733 was added to mark these alterations and the separation of the building into two Georgian houses.

By 1770 it had become a flourishing village inn called ‘The Portmore Arms’; the Vestry was used as a meeting place as there was no room in the parish church opposite. The Inn became the stopping place of the London to Chertsey coach and it was stated in “Records of a Girlhood” that Fanny Kemble was met there in 1824 by her mother when she and Charles Kemble, her father, arrived in Weybridge. After the railway opening in 1838 the coaches stopped running and the building ceased to be an Inn.

Portmore House then became the home of Mr Thomas Liberty, a well-known resident and builder of Weybridge, and two of his children were born here. There is a ghost story attached to Portmore House and many of the older residents of Weybridge have attested to the fact that they personally have seen what is claimed to be the ghost of old Mrs Liberty.