Hilfield Castle

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Hilfield Castle
Aldenham Reservoir - geograph.org.uk - 208513.jpg
Hilfield Castle is located in Hertfordshire
Hilfield Castle
Location within Hertfordshire
General information
Architectural style Gothic
Location Hilfield Lane, near Aldenham and Bushey, Hertfordshire, England
Coordinates 51°39′13″N 0°20′05″W / 51.6536°N 0.3348°W / 51.6536; -0.3348
Construction started 1798
Completed 1799
Design and construction
Architect Jeffry Wyatt

Hilfield Castle, also Hilfield Lodge,[1] is a country estate and house about 1.8 miles (2.9 km) by road southwest of Aldenham, Hertfordshire, on the outskirts of London. It contains a large reservoir which was built by French prisoners of war in the 1790s,[2] and Elstree Aerodrome is located just to the east and the M1 motorway passes to the west.

History and description[edit]

The castle dates to 1798-99, when it was built by architect Jeffry Wyatt for Hon. George Villiers, brother of the earl of Clarendon. to replace Slys Castle. It is a picturesque Gothic design, and the estate includes numerous cottages, barns and a boathouse on the reservoir.

Nikolaus Pevsner notes that it is a "castellated, turreted, and cemented house with a gatehouse complete with portcullis".[3] He also notes that the entrance and south sides are symmetrical and that the conservatory is of "ecclesiastical appearance."[3] The castle is built from brick with a 4-storey central tower "flanked by octagonal turrets to lower 4-storey bays with outer 2-storey bays with a later mansard attic."[4] The turrets have slit windows, which are machicolated and crenellated. Of note is the "octagonal Breakfast Room with a vaulted ceiling and a Gothic conservatory."[5] It became a Grade II* listed building on 1 June 1984. It was owned for years by the Jefferis family.[6]

It was sold in 1818 by Villiers to John Fam Timins, who died in 1843, when he was succeeded by his son William Raikes Timins. He died in 1866, and was succeeded by his nephew the Rev. Douglas Cartwright Timins, who died in 1872, when Hilfield passed to his son Douglas Theodore, who sold the house and park in 1906 to the late Lord Aldenham. Mr. Timins still holds some of the property, and the house is unoccupied.[7]

Film location[edit]

The castle's close proximity to Borehamwood Studios and charismatic appearance has seen it feature in several TV series and films, including Stanley Kubrick's 1962 picture Lolita when it served as Peter Sellers's “Pavor Manor”, George Pollock's 1963 picture Murder at the Gallop, and the 1969-70 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode "For the Girl Who Has Everything" when it was occupied by Lois Maxwell.[8]


  1. ^ Prince, Hugh C. (1 April 2008). Parks in Hertfordshire Since 1500. Univ of Hertfordshire Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-9542189-9-7. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  2. ^ British Journal of Photography. Henry Greenwood & Co., Ltd. 1 July 2002. p. 66. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b Pevsner, Nikolaus; Cherry, Bridget (11 March 1977). Hertfordshire. Yale University Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-300-09611-8. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Hilfield Castle, Bushey". British Listed Buildings. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Banham, Joanna; Shrimpton, Leanda (1997). Encyclopedia of Interior Design: M-Z. Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 1401. ISBN 978-1-884964-19-0. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Country Life. November 1971. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Parishes - Aldenham | A History of the County of Hertford: volume 2 (pp. 149-161)". British-history.ac.uk. 1903-12-17. Retrieved 2014-05-14. 
  8. ^ "Locations:For the Girl Who Has Everything". Randallandhopkirk.org.uk. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 

External links[edit]