West Horsley Place

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West Horsley Place
West Horsley Place (geograph 5263391).jpg
West Horsley Place: the mid-17th century facade applied to the 15th-century structure.
General information
LocationWest Horsley, Surrey, England
Poppies in the meadow at West Horsley Place, 2007

West Horsley Place is a Grade I listed building in West Horsley, Surrey, England.[1] There are eight further Grade II buildings on the estate,[2] including two mid-19th-century dog kennels.[3]


The house dates back to the 15th century,[1] and was built out of red brick, with its west-wing gallery later being converted into extra bedrooms.[4] The house has 50 bedrooms.[5] In the sixteenth century, it was owned by John, Lord Berners, who made the first English translation of Froissart's Chronicles, and then the Earl of Lincoln.[4] It was then owned by Henry Currie, the Conservative MP for Guildford from 1847 to 1852.[6] In 1868, the place was used for fox hunting.[7] When owner Laura Mart Fielder died in 1908, West Horsley Place was valued at £62,536; she left £3,000 to King's College, Cambridge.[8]

In 1931, it was acquired by Robert Crewe-Milnes, 1st Marquess of Crewe and his wife, the Marchioness of Crewe, and after his death in 1945, his wife (Peggy née Primrose d. 1967) left it to their daughter, Mary Innes-Ker, Duchess of Roxburghe (1915–2014).[9] The Duchess closed much of the house, living in a five-room section.[10]

When the 99-year-old Duchess died in 2014, it was "accidentally" inherited by her (then) 80-year-old grand-nephew, the broadcaster and author Bamber Gascoigne.[10] The Duchess was childless but had numerous grand-nieces and grand-nephews—Gascoigne had no idea she had picked him to solely inherit the property, first learning of it when he was contacted by a solicitor after his great-aunt's death.[10] To raise money to restore the somewhat dilapidated 50-room house, Gascoigne arranged for the Duchess's possessions – some found under cobwebs in the closed-up sections of the house – to be auctioned by Sotheby's in London and Geneva.[10] Originally expected to raise £2.2 million, the auction raised £8.8 million, with her Cartier diamond engagement ring selling for £167,000, 14 times its estimate.[10][11]

The house was the location for much of the filming of the 2015 ITV television movie Harry Price: Ghost Hunter[12] and the 2019 sitcom Ghosts.

Grange Park Opera[edit]

Grange Park Opera took up residence in a purpose-built 700-seat theatre in the grounds, with its inaugural production of Puccini's Tosca, led by the Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja on 8 June 2017.[13][14] The lease on the property is for 99 years.[15] The planning application for the Theatre in the Woods met with some opposition, due to it being in the Metropolitan Green Belt, but with the support of the conductor Stephen Barlow and others was approved by Guildford Borough Council in May 2016.[16][5]


  1. ^ a b Historic England. "West Horsley Place (1188949)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  2. ^ "West Horsley Place – West Horsley Place". Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  3. ^ Historic England. "DOG KENNEL TO SOUTH EAST OF WEST HORSLEY PLACE (1029319)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b "A History of the County of Surrey: Volume 3". Victoria County History. 1911. pp. 353–357. Retrieved 23 October 2016 – via British History Online.
  5. ^ a b Pickford, John (30 March 2016). "Grange Park Opera's new £10m plot". Financial Times. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  6. ^ Edward Wedlake Brayley; John Britton (1841). A topographical history of Surrey, by E.W. Brayley assisted by J. Britton and E.W. Brayley, jun. The geological section by G. Mantell. p. 95.
  7. ^ "Hunting Appointments". Maidstone Journal and Kentish Advertiser. 20 January 1868. p. 8. Retrieved 23 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  8. ^ Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser. 22 June 1908. p. 6 http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0000206/19080622/076/0006 |url= missing title (help). Retrieved 23 October 2016 – via British Newspaper Archive.
  9. ^ "ROXBURGHE, – Deaths Announcements – Telegraph Announcements". Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d e Furness, Hannah (21 March 2015). "Bamber Gascoigne to save 500-year-old manor after 'accidental' inheritance". Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Bamber Gascoigne raises £8.8m from West Horsley auctions". BBC News. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 23 October 2016 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  12. ^ Westbrook, Caroline (27 December 2015). "Here's why you won't want to miss ITV's spooky new drama Harry Price: Ghost Hunter". Metro. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  13. ^ Gani, Aisha (12 November 2015). "Opera company to move into Bamber Gascoigne's crumbling stately home". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  14. ^ "The Appeal – GRANGE PARK OPERA". Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  15. ^ Hutchison, David (12 November 2015). "Grange Park Opera plans 700-seat woodland La Scala". The Stage. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  16. ^ Edwards, Mark (20 May 2016). "New opera house gets go-ahead as Joanna Lumley lends support". Retrieved 23 October 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°15′57″N 0°26′31″W / 51.265880°N 0.441929°W / 51.265880; -0.441929