Xem thêm

De Vere Horwood Estate: A Storied Mansion in Buckinghamshire

Horwood House - The rear of the House Nestled half a mile south-east of Little Horwood village in Buckinghamshire, De Vere Horwood Estate stands as a testament to architectural beauty and rich history. Originally built...

Horwood House - The rear of the House Horwood House - The rear of the House

Nestled half a mile south-east of Little Horwood village in Buckinghamshire, De Vere Horwood Estate stands as a testament to architectural beauty and rich history. Originally built in 1911 for Frederick Arthur Denny, a renowned businessman, this Grade II listed mansion has since been transformed into a charming hotel and conference venue. Let's delve into the fascinating story of this remarkable estate.

A Historic Gem

De Vere Horwood Estate - In the days when it was owned by the Denny Family and before being extended by the GPO. The orchard to the left of the stables provided apples for the house for 9 months of the year, by growing selective varieties De Vere Horwood Estate - In the days when it was owned by the Denny Family and before being extended by the GPO. The orchard to the left of the stables provided apples for the house for 9 months of the year, by growing selective varieties

Designed by the esteemed architects Blow and Billerey, Horwood House exhibits a refined Jacobean style. Built on the site of the former Old Horwood farmhouse, the mansion boasts a fascinating blend of history and modern luxury. Legend has it that the ghost of Colonel Daucy, a previous occupant of the farmhouse, still haunts the premises.

When Frederick Denny acquired the estate, it included vast stretches of land, farms, cottages, and even the village hall. This purchase also bestowed upon him the role of Lay Rector, thereby granting him the right to appoint parish priests in St. Nicholas' Church in Little Horwood. The magnificent estate flourished under the Denny family's ownership and became their beloved countryside residence.

A Family Home

Horwood House - Another view during the Denny occupation Horwood House - Another view during the Denny occupation

Horwood House served as an idyllic retreat for the Denny family, who split their time between their London homes and the countryside. The family would often travel to the estate on Fridays and return to the city on Mondays, enjoying the peaceful surroundings and indulging in their favorite pastime—horse riding.

The house itself was meticulously designed to blend elegance with comfort. With fourteen bedrooms, five bathrooms, and nine servants' bedrooms, the mansion provided ample space for both family and staff. The stunning thatched stable yard and the adjoining West wing housed top-class hunters, reflecting the Dennys' love for equestrian pursuits.

Tranquil Gardens

The grave stone of Harry Thrower in St Nicholas Church Little Horwood - Head gardener at Horwood House The grave stone of Harry Thrower in St Nicholas Church Little Horwood - Head gardener at Horwood House

The enchanting gardens of Horwood House were lovingly tended by a dedicated team of gardeners, led by the renowned head gardener, Harry Thrower. The verdant landscape stretched over two acres, enclosed by a lofty brick wall. Fruit trees, including a splendid apple orchard, provided fresh produce throughout the year.

Harry Thrower's exceptional skills extended beyond the cultivation of traditional plants and flowers. He also dabbled in exotic fruits, such as peaches and melons, as well as mushroom cultivation. The estate even had its own beehives, tended to by Harry. Percy Thrower, Harry's son, and renowned TV gardening presenter, was born in a cottage on the grounds, marking a historic milestone for Horwood House.

Changing Fortunes

Horwood House - The front of the house Horwood House - The front of the house

Over the years, Horwood House transitioned through various roles and ownerships. In 1936, the Denny family sold the estate, and it underwent a series of transformations. It briefly served as a school before being acquired by British Rail in 1962. However, plans for a grand marshalling yard were thwarted, and the estate found a new purpose as the GPO's College of Engineering Studies.

Today, Horwood House stands as a cherished Grade II listed building. It has been thoughtfully restored and expanded into a premier hotel and conference venue. Boasting 120 en-suite bedrooms and modern amenities, including a swimming pool and sauna, the estate continues to captivate visitors with its timeless charm.

A Testament to History

The Lounge during the BT era The Lounge during the BT era

As you wander through the picturesque grounds and explore the elegant interiors of Horwood House, you can't help but be reminded of its captivating history. From its humble beginnings as a farmhouse to its grand transformation into a country retreat and educational institution, this mansion has witnessed the ebb and flow of time.

Whether you're planning a romantic getaway, a corporate event, or a wedding celebration, Horwood House offers a truly remarkable setting. Immerse yourself in the beauty and heritage of this extraordinary estate, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Please note that the information provided in this article is based on historical records and may not reflect the current state of Horwood House.

References:

  • Thrower, Percy (1977). My Lifetime of Gardening. Hamlyn. ISBN 0-600-35519-5.
  • O'Sullivan, Timothy (1989). Percy Thrower: a biography. Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 0-283-99800-8.
  • Country Life - 10 November 1923.
  • The brochure produced by Hampton & Sons of the auction of the Horwood Estate.

Disclaimer: The images used in this article are from the original source and remain the property of their respective owners.

1