Garsington Manor, in the village of Garsington, near Oxford, England, is a Tudor building, known as the former home of Lady Ottoline Morrell, the Bloomsbury Group socialite. The house is currently owned by the family of Leonard Ingrams and from 1989 to 2010 was the setting for an annual summer opera season, the Garsington Opera, which relocated to Wormsley Park, the home of Mark Getty near Stokenchurch in Buckinghamshire, in 2011.
The manor house was built on land once owned by the son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, and at one time had the name "Chaucers". Lady Ottoline and her husband, Philip Morrell, bought the manor house in 1914, at which time it was in a state of disrepair, having been in use as a farmhouse.
They completely restored the house in the 1920s, working with the architect Philip Tilden, and creating landscaped Italian-style gardens. The parterre has 24 square beds with Irish yews at the corners; the Italian garden has a large ornamental pool enclosed by yew hedges and set about with statues; beyond, is a wild garden, with lime-tree avenues, shrubs, a stream and pond.
Garsington became a haven for the Morrells’ friends, including D. H. Lawrence, Siegfried Sassoon, Edward Sackville-West, William Smith, Lord David Cecil, John Cournos, Lytton Strachey, Aldous Huxley, Mark Gertler, Bertrand Russell and Virginia Woolf. In 1916, they invited conscientious objectors, including Clive Bell and other members of the Bloomsbury Group, to come and work on the home farm for the duration of World War I, as civilian Work of National Importance recognised as an alternative to military service . Aldous Huxley spent some time here before he wrote Crome Yellow, a book which contains a ridiculous character obviously intended as a caricature of Lady Ottoline Morrell; she never forgave him. In Confidence a short story by Katherine Mansfield portrays the "wits of Garsington" some four years in advance of "Crome Yellow", and wittier than Huxley according to Mansfield's biographer Antony Alpers. Published in The New Age of 24 May 1917, it was not reprinted until 1984 in Alper's collection of her short stories. Five young gentlemen are having a drawing-room argument, observed by Isobel and Marigold: Aren't men extraordinary says Marigold.
The Morrells moved out in 1928. The house was then owned by Sir John Wheeler-Bennett until it was sold in 1981 to Leonard and Rosalind Ingrams and their family.
- Information from the University of York
- The Pool at Garsington Mark Gertler's 1918 painting of Garsington Manor and its ornamental pool. Government Art Collection, UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport.
- Description of Garsington Manor and its gardens at Garsington Opera.