Titsey Estate


Prologue

 

 

 
Titsey is one of the largest surviving historic estates in Surrey. It dates back to the mid 16th century, though the first impression now is of a comfortable early 19th century house in a picturesque park, lying under the North Downs which hereabout rise to over 270ms. The surroundings of Titsey, as they are today, are largely the work of William and Granville Leveson Gower in the 19th century. They planted the park and laid out the garden.

It is difficult to believe that this well preserved stretch of countryside is barely 20miles from the centre of London: only the M25 motorway intrudes into a landscape which otherwise has hardly changed in the last hundred years.

The estate was originally bought in 1534 by Sir John Gresham, of the famous London merchant dynasty, and descended in the early 19th century through the female line to the Leveson Gowers, a cadet branch of the family of the Duke of Sutherland. The Leveson Gower family lived at Titsey until the death of Thomas Leveson Gower in 1992. He had been a bachelor with no close relatives and so had set up the Titsey Foundation, a charitable trust, to preserve the estate for public benefit.

The gardens have always been a particular feature of Titsey Place and have been enjoyed by many generations. Recently, much work has been done to improve and enhance them. House, garden and re-created kitchen garden are now opened to the public in the summer, and miles of well-marked walks on the side of the North Downs are frequented by more than 20,000 visitors a year.