History & gardens
The Elvetham through the years
History & gardens of The Elvetham
Elvetham isn't simply a stunning events venue in Hampshire, Elvetham is actually a region of approximately 4,000 acres in the Hampshire countryside. With a well documented history dating back to the 11th century, The Elvetham's history is full of royalty, nobility, and scandal. Immerse yourself in The Elvetham's past with a whistle stop tour through our history and gardens.
From 1086 to modern day...
- Royal connections
The first mention of Elvetham dates back to 1086, in the Domesday Book, and states that the yearly rent for the property was 30 shillings and there was enough woodland to support ten swine. Some 200 years later, in 1426, The Elvetham became home to the Seymour family. In 1535 Edward Seymour entertained King Henry VIII right here. This is when he met and later married his third wife, Jane Seymour.
Her grandson, the Earl of Hertford, married Lady Jane Grey's younger sister, Catherine. Queen Elizabeth I only heard of this marriage when Catherine became pregnant and upon hearing the news sent them both to the Tower of London. In 1567 and 1572, respectively, Catherine and Edward were released.
- Lavish entertainment
In order to regain the favour of the Queen and to have his children legitimised, The Earl of Hertford entertained Queen Elizabeth I at Elvetham in 1591. This lavish entertainment lasted four days, for which a range of luxurious pavilions were built to accommodate Queen Elizabeth and her entourage of 500! The oak tree she planted to commemorate the occasion still stands here today and is now more than 33 feet in circumference.
- It's who you know...
On the Earl of Hertford’s death, the house passed to his grandson, William Seymour, who became Marquis of Hertford and Duke of Somerset. In 1649 he sold The Elvetham to Sir Robert Reynolds, Solicitor General of the Commonwealth, whose daughter married her first cousin, Reynolds Calthorpe. After her death he married again. Barbara, the daughter of his second marriage, married Sir Henry Gough, Director of the East India Company.
- The Main House
The original house that Queen Elizabeth visited no longer exists having burned down in 1840. In 1860, Frederick, 4th Baron Calthorpe, built a new house on the same site and commissioned the ecclesiastical architect Samuel Sanders Teulon to interpret many of his ideas. In 1901 the carriage porch was built and the Library and Oak rooms built a decade later in 1911.
- The Court
The Court building was originally the stables for the Grand house and accommodated the polo ponies, the hacks, and the coach house. The first floor housed the coachmen and grooms and the outside staircase was added in the 1950s. Today it houses meeting rooms, bedrooms, and accessible rooms for our guests.
- The Church
St Mary’s church was built in 1840, designed by Sir Henry Roberts to resemble a twelfth century Norman church. Architect Samuel Sanders Teulon added the flying buttresses and the angels at the four corners. The yew tree in the churchyard is said to be over 800 years old! Today the church is deconsecrated but is an important piece of history at The Elvetham.
- Here we are
In 1953 Sir Richard Calthorpe sold the house to ICI who, in 1965, subsequently sold it to Lansing Bagnall, an engineering company based in Basingstoke. In August 2001 The Elvetham was acquired by the Dare family who are the principal owners and also own The Petersham Hotel in Richmond upon Thames, Surrey.
Captivating country house gardens
Covering very much the same area today as originally noted in the Domesday Book back in 1086, we have had a lot of time to love, look after, and landscape the 35 acres of grounds here at The Elvetham. In 1860 our formal garden was created, and today our gardens are home to Irish yew trees, eighty ornamental trees, gorgeous blossoms, a croquet lawn, kitchen garden, and some gorgeous water features.
Head Gardener, Graham Cleator
Graham joined the team here at The Elvetham in June 1977. He's been looking after landscaping and tending to our gardens for 40 years! Now leading a busy team of four, Graham takes great pride in growing 5000 bedding plants, tending to the lawns, and maintaining the garden machinery.