West Horsley Place opens for Heritage weekend
FOR the first time, the Grade I listed West Horsley Place will be open to visitors during the 2017 Heritage Open Days festival.
On the weekend of September 9 and 10, people will be able to visit the medieval manor house which stands at the centre of a 380acre estate, separating the Surrey villages of East and West Horsley.
Dating from the 15th century, West Horsley Place is a house of significant historic and architectural importance. With surviving interiors from the 16th to the 18th century, with little 19th or 20th century intervention.
The house has passed through the hands of owners including Carew Raleigh, son of Sir Walter Raleigh, and Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald, ‘Fair Geraldine’ of the Earl of Surrey’s famous sonnet.
It has hosted royalty including Henry VIII, who enjoyed a 35-course lunch in the Great Hall, and Queen Elizabeth I.
In 2014, historian and former presenter of University Challenge Bamber Gascoigne unexpectedly inherited West Horsley Place from his aunt, Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe.
Decades of benign neglect had taken their toll on the house and on the eight Grade II listed structures situated on the estate. In October 2016, West Horsley Place was placed on the English Heritage ‘at risk’ register.
To restore the house and estate, Bamber and Christina Gascoigne transferred ownership of West Horsley Place to a charity, The Mary Roxburghe Trust. Once restored, West Horsley Place is intended to become a vibrant centre for the performing and visual arts, and for the teaching of crafts.
A first step has been a collaboration with Grange Park Opera, whose Theatre in the Woods was built and opened in the grounds this year.
Further funds have come from the use of the estate as a film set. The house was recently the main location for My Cousin Rachel, starring Rachel Weisz.
Proceeds from the sale of a number of the Duchess of Roxbughe’s possessions have been given to the charity by Bamber and Christina Gascoigne and the trust will continue to raise funds.
West Horsley Place will be open on Saturday September 9 (noon to 4pm), coinciding with the West Horsley Village Fete, and Sunday September 10 (11am to 4pm) when tours of the theatre will be held, bookable via www.grangeparkopera.com.
The gardens are open for visitors to explore at their leisure but tours of the house must be pre-booked.
Booking opens on Monday at 10am and closes on September 7 at 5pm, via [email protected]horsleyplace.org or call 01483 282032.
Aerial footage of the Members’ Banking within Brooklands Museum.