Marks Hall had been occupied as a private estate over many centuries, predominantly in the hands of just two families, the Merkshalls who held the Estate until 1562 and the Honywoods.

The Saxon name, Mercheshalle was listed in the Domesday book and the Merkshall family, who were in possession of Marks Hall after the Norman Conquest took their name from the Estate.

Archaeological digs have unearthed evidence of a medieval hall, a timber frame construction with wattle and daub infill. Pottery found on site from this period was Hedingham ware, indicating that the occupants of the hall were wealthy.

In 1605, Robert Honywood purchased Marks Hall beginning a long association between the Estate and the Honywood family. During the Tudor period, Robert Honywood undertook renovation work. The medieval hall was replaced with a more substantial brick building.  Foundation remains found indicate it occupied a similar footprint, but with the addition of a further wing. 

By the Jacobean period, the mansion had a three storied front elevation.  It was later Georgian additions including the crenellations that gave the house a distinctive appearance. In 1631 Thomas Honywood inherited the mansion. He became a prominent Parliamentarian in the Civil War and was knighted by King Charles I. Sir Thomas Honywood commanded a body of Essex militia in the Civil War and played a part in the siege of Colchester. Local rumour suggests that the Roundhead troops dug the lakes on the Estate at this point.

The Estate remained in possession of the Honywood family until, following a dispute over the inheritance, Marks Hall was sold at auction in 1897 and Thomas Phillips Price, an MP from Wales, purchased the property.