In 1558 John Wadham held the Manor of Catherstone. He was Captain of Sandes Fort, near Weymouth and Recorder of Lyme Regis.He died in 1584 and is buried at Whitchurch Canonicorum.In the same year he was shown as paying 6d rent to Sir William Pole for a Burgage in the borough of Charmouth.His great grandchild sold his Catherstone Estate to Sir John Jeffery of Hampton, who was patron of the church in 1618. In 1645 John Jeffery , a captain in Charles1 army had his farm value £100 sequestered, and in 1647 the Manor of Catherstone was sold to Walter Yonge and Sir John Yonge. He in turn sold it in 1669 to Richard Henville, Esq of Looke, near Abbotsbury in Dorset. By 1783 it was sold again to William Drewe of New Inn, London. In 1824 it was sold by John Rose Drewe and William Tucker to James Ross, and was then sold in 1838 to Richard Charles Hildyard, QC and MP for Whitehaven who passed it on to his son Robert Henry Hildyard, Attaché to the British Embassy at Paris in France. The present Manor House was built in 1887 by Colonel Bullen, but incorporates remains of the older house in the middle of the south side. The late 16th Century stone porch was taken down and re-erected at the east end of the modern front. It is of two storage, Ashley-faced and gabled (see photo).
The Bullens originally owned the the Old Manor House on the Street opposite the Church. It was purchased by Simeon Bullen who died, in 1822. In 1852 John Bullen, his son, was owner and in his will of that date left the western end of his three houses to his great nephew John Bullen Symes, who added Bullen to his name and became known as Colonel Bullen. Colonel Bullen sold it on 22nd January 1889 to Miss M.A. Miller when all the windows were latticed., Unfortunately Miss Miller had these removed. Colonel Bullen left Charmouth and purchased Catherston Manor, where he lived until his death. The eastern portion was owned by Colonel Bullen`s uncle Captain Charles Bullen R.N. who died in 1884.
Catherston is famous for its Stud which was started in 1949 by the late Lt Colonel and Mrs Jack Bullen. With five farms making up the 1000 acre estate, two of which were farmed by Colonel Bullen, it left plenty of grazing near the house, as well as Stonebarrow (now owned by The National Trust) overlooking Lyme Regis Bay, for the stud grazing and, with two dairy herds and sheep, it was ideal for cross grazing. their daughter, Jennie Loriston-Clarke took over the running of Catherston in 1966 and has just recently retired.
The original manor house was sold and divided into units in the 1960s.
Adjoining Charmouth, on the east side of the river is a farm called Newlands, anciently part of this Manor, but sold by Sir William Pole in 1590 to William Wadham of Catherstone. In 1599 it was sold by George Wadham to John Jeffery. He in turn sold it to Anthony Ellesden in 1649 from whose grandson of the same name it passed to the Henvills, and in 1790 it was held by Mr. Coade of Lyme Regis. Stonebarrow Manor, near Newlands Caravan Site, is no doubt the Manor House to Newlands.
The Wadhams of Catherstone were cousins of another branch of the family based at Merrifield in Somerset with another estate in Branscombe, Devon who are famous today as founders of Wadham College in Oxford. There is a link with Charmouth as the Village had Sir William Petre as Lord of the Manor from 1564 until his death in 1572. It was his daughter, Dorothy who bought much of her fathers wealth into her marriage with Nicholas Wadham. His estates were worth three thousand pounds a year in the currency of the period, and out of this income he saved fourteen thousand pounds, which he determined to spend on charitable purposes, having no children, and his inherited property devolving on his nephews, Sir John Strangways and Sir William Wyndham , father of Wadham Wyndham .His plans for a College were at once taken up by his widow, Dorothy . She had enough money (£19,200 from her husband and an additional £7270 of her own) and were used in the building and endowing of the College which was opened in 1613.Dorothy Wadham died at Edge on 16 May 1618, and was buried with her husband in Ilminster church, where she is commemorated by a brass and monumental inscription. Her portrait, painted, like that of her husband, in 1595, hangs in the warden's lodgings at Wadham College. On the front of the College today can be seen statues of both Dorothy and Nicholas Wadham set high above the entrance.