A History of Ellenborough Park – Part I

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Ellenborough Park has a rich history that can still be found written on the walls of the building to this day. Surviving two world wars, both controversy and scandal and spending time as both school and stately home, let us walk you through the history of Ellenborough park from its birth to the present day.

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Towards the end of the late 15th century, a local farmer found a spot at the foot of Cleeve Hill and decided it was somewhere that he would like to call home. Block by block, transported by horse and cart, he began building the foundations of what was to become Ellenborough Park, starting with the Great Hall where our guests now frequently enjoy their afternoon tea.

The farmer enjoyed the time he spent here but the War of the Roses that washed over Britain brought with it the Huddlestons – a royalist family – who purchased the property and developed the building.  Not only did these tumultuous and bloody times leave musket bullet holes in the front door of the property that can still be seen today, the Huddleston family installed bay windows in The Beaufort Room that are adorned with glass medallions bearing the badges of Henry VII and his queen with the Tudor Rose, as a mark of respect to the King.

If you look at the mantelpiece in The Beaufort, you will see the markings of the next phase of the history of our hotel and the happy union of two families. Notice the figure of a woman, Eleanor Huddleston, supporting the mantle on the right and the figure of a man, Kinnard de la Bere, supporting the mantle on the left.  Marrying for love, the de la Bere and Huddleston families joined together and spent many happy years living within our walls. This isn’t the only memory of the de la Bere’s that lives on, however. In The Library, the family crest is carved into the wood above the fireplace and, if you look closely, you will notice the ostrich feather issuing from the ducal coronet, which was rewarded to the family for saving the life of the Black Prince during the Battle of Crecy in 1346.

The house then descended to their son who added a further cross wing to the house, as well as a magnificent staircase and oak paneling to the walls. Thomas Baggott de la Bere, the last of the de la Bere’s left standing, entertained George III onsite in 1788 during his visitation to the spa waters in Cheltenham. It is said that, much like our guests today, the king adored the place.

Next to purchase the property in the late 19th century, was Edward Law, later to become the Earl of Ellenborough. Although the Earl had a successful political career, he endured much heartache in his marriages and was deemed as both vain and disagreeable – a colourful character indeed! The Earl, for all his sins, maintained the original features of the house with passion; the fruits of which we are still enjoying today. Renaming the house as Southam de la Bere, he also added towers to the front of the building and the stable block and the chapel and Gazebo were also added. If you look closely you might be able to spot some relics that he brought back from his travels to India still adorning the building!

Stay tuned to hear more about what happened at the turn of the century and how Ellenborough Park as we know it came to be…

Continue Reading about Ellenborough Park’s rich history

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