about a special event at Bunce Court in July 2007 to unveil
a plaque for Anna Essinger and the Herrlingen School,
more about Anna Essinger and the Herrlingen School,
known as "Pollards", Bunce Court is just under a mile
to the south of Otterden Place.
17th century, it was owned by the Bunce family and so acquired
the title of Bunce Court.
the earliest records is of James Bunce, who inherited the property
from his father Simon Bunce. A London merchant and also a Member
of Parliament, James died in 1631, having been a great benefactor
to Otterden parish.
succeeded by his son, also James Bunce. As a Sheriff of London
under Charles I and a staunch loyalist, he was subjected to
persecution and imprisonment in the Tower and confiscation of
his estates (by Cromwell). With the accession of Charles II,
James' position and estates were restored and, as compensation,
he was knighted.
his wife, Sarah, had two sons - Sir James Bunce (who succeeded
to his father's estates at Kemsing, Kent) and John, who inherited
Bunce Court. After a while, he sold it to a Mr Roger Paine of
1710, Mr Paine disposed of the house to a Mr Richard Knocke,
who, in 1756, sold it to a Mr Edward Chapman. He is said to
have greatly improved the property and lived there until he
sold it to a Mr Stringer Belcher. The latter died unmarried
and it passed to his brother, a Mr William Belcher of Ulcombe,
before the First World War, the building was bought by Brigadier
General Sir William Manning. He carried out substantial improvements
and it was then let to a Mr and Mrs F. Hawley. They are said
to have lived in fine style with a domestic staff of 14, three
gardeners, an odd job man and three people tending their five
the house was taken over by a Miss Anna Essinger, a pioneering
educationalist who had left her school at Ulm, Germany, fearful
of Hitler's rise to power. She established her "New Herrlingen
School" at Bunce Court, offering a place of refuge for
the many Jewish pupils sent to the school by their rightfully
anxious German parents.
perhaps encouraged by very limited finances, expected her pupils
to undertake much of the domestic work and gardening. Nonetheless,
her small school offered a wide-ranging curriculum with a strong
emphasis on music, dance and drama. The school closed in 1948.
The late humorist and composer Gerard Hoffnung was one of its
former pupils, as was the distinguished artist Frank Auerbach.
the 1960s, Bunce Court served as an old people's home. In the
early 1980s, the main house was sold and converted into four
separate properties, each residence being allocated part of
In the mid-1990s, most of the remaining
grounds were sold to a developer and five new houses were built,
the new development being known as "Pollards". Later,
"Bunce Court Barn", a listed building lying between
the main house and "Pollards", was modernised and
converted as a residence.