• The original House Party at The Grove on the occasion of the late King Edward VII visit. 18 July, 1909

Our history

Look down our timeline; our history is fascinating. It all starts way back in 7,000 BC. Since Early Man, Queen Victoria, King Edward, Tiger Woods and many more illustrious guests have stayed, played and partied here.


7,000 BC Early man settled on the site of The Grove, gathering together, mating and eating; little has changed since then…

3,000 BC Some of the earliest pottery made in Britain during the Bronze Age has been unearthed at The Grove by archaeologists.

1294 AD John de Britwell conveyed land at 'The Manor on the Grove'.

1400 John Heydon rented the Grove Estate from King Henry IV for the equivalent of £1.87.

1500s During the reign of the first Queen Elizabeth, the first substantial house was built at The Grove.

 Sir William Buck of Hanby rebuilt the main Manor House and original West Wing.

1753 The Honourable Thomas Villiers, Earl of Jersey and British Ambassador to France, acquired The Grove and became the 1st Earl of Clarendon.

1770s The Grove was owned for generations by the illustrious Earls of Clarendon. Captain Cook presents one such Earl with a sapling of the just-discovered Black Walnut Tree. This is the magnificent tree that now towers over the Terrace, beside the Lounges.

1760s-1790s George Stubbs regularly visited our Stables and painted his famous horses here. Many of his paintings refer to The Earl of Clarendon's horses, his Gamekeeper and The Grove.

1830s The railways were first built but the Earl refused to allow any trains on his Estate. Hence, the long and expensive Watford Tunnel was built - still in use today!

1846 The 5th Earl of Clarendon became Queen Victoria's 'Aide de Camp' - her Secretary and Aide - and started the English tradition of lavish house parties for the Queen and her posse. House guests included Edward VII, Horace Walpole and Lord Palmerston. It was a new phenomena which The Times named "Weekending". There's now not a tiara in sight… we have no dress code!

1878 The Walled Garden was built, encompassing 3.2 acres.

1920 The aristocratic family left The Grove. The Times published a letter mourning the passing of "One of the greatest political houses of the 19th century.

1920s & 30s The Grove was used as a Gardening School, Health Centre, Riding School and a Girl's Boarding School.

1940s The Grove was the secret wartime HQ for the London, Midland & Scottish Railway. Of great strategic importance, it was called "Project X". Six air raid shelters can still be seen today beside our Football Pitch. They're now home to one of Europe's largest colonies of Pipistrelle bats.

1996 In a ruinous state, The Grove was rescued by Ralph Trustees Limited, who set about breathing a new vision into reality with the help of famous architects, interior designers, landscape gardeners and golfers. English Heritage allowed us to run with our bold and sympathetic vision for restoring the old and building the new. Eight years later saw the grand opening of our luxury country house estate hotel & spa… the start of a new era for The Grove.

2006 Tiger Woods wins the World Golf Championship at The Grove. 

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