History of The Elvetham
Elvetham is a small region in north Hampshire, and has a well-documented history including; royalty, nobility, and scandal…
The history of our luxury events venue
In 1086 Elvetham was mentioned in the Domesday book as having a yearly rent of 30 shillings and enough woodland to support ten swine. In 1426 Elvetham became the home of the Seymour family, and over 100 years later in 1535 Edward Seymour (brother to Jane Seymour) entertained King Henry VIII at Elvetham. It was during this visit that the King met and later married his third wife Jane Seymour, mother to King Edward VI.
King Edward’s son was the Earl of Hertford who married Catherine Grey, the younger sister of Lady Jane Grey. Queen Elizabeth I only heard of this marriage when Catherine became pregnant and the Queen reacted with great fury by sending them both to the Tower of London! Eventually both were released, Catherine in 1567 and Edward in 1572.
From 1591 to modern day…
From the beginning
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.
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 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 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 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 1950’s. Today it houses meeting rooms, bedrooms, and accessible rooms for our guests.
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.
The Elvetham is set within 35 acres of gardens and grounds an area much the same today as it was recorded in the Domesday book. In 1860 The formal garden was created, and a mile-long avenue of Wellingtonias were planted all the way to nearby village Hartley Wintney.
The gardens now include a broad walk of Irish Yews, a croquet lawn, eighty ornamental trees, a kitchen garden and many other attractive features.
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.