A manor house in Dagenham dating back at least 800 years has been granted more than £800,000 in government funding. 

Valence House, the only surviving manor house in Barking and Dagenham, is to benefit from £811,250 from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s ‘Estate Development Funds’.

The money will go towards work improving its museum and infrastructure, with some of the funding also to be used to restore a moat surrounding the site. 

The building has been traced back to medieval times, with the first reference to it as early as 1269. 

Throughout the centuries, it has been used as an important location for various events such as for air raid drills during the Second World War and was once visited by Mahatma Gandhi. 

In 1926, Valence House was one of five manors at risk of being bulldozed to make way for the Becontree Estate.

However, it was saved after Dagenham Urban District Council bought the site and began using it as an office. 

It now stands as the only surviving manor house in Dagenham and its museum has been praised as one of the 50 best free things to do in London, according to The Guardian. 

Valence House also has a tearoom on site for nearby residents and visitors as well as the Barking and Dagenham archives and local studies centre, which includes historic minute books and departmental records involving the borough. 

The manor house is one of two museums in London to receive government funding – worth a total of £86.6million – with Twickenham’s Strawberry Hill House receiving £125,000. 

On securing the investment, Barking and Dagenham Council tweeted: “We’ll invest in green space around the museum and restoring the historic moat, as we work towards a new masterplan for the museum!” 

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In this second round of funding, £21.4m was awarded to 36 museums across England, while £32.4m has gone to eight cultural development fund projects and £4.9m towards 27 projects as part of the libraries improvement fund. 

Duncan Wilson, chief executive of Historic England, said: “Culture, heritage and the arts all contribute to people’s sense of belonging and place. 

“These grants will help to reinforce this and we welcome them.”