Polesden Lacey is an Edwardian house, extensively remodeled from an earlier building in 1906 by Architects Charles Mew’s and Arthur Davis, who were also responsible for the Ritz Hotel in London, for Ronald and Margaret Greville. The name ‘Polesden’ is thought to derive from the Old English.
Margaret Greville was a well-known Edwardian hostess and her collection of fine paintings, furniture, porcelain and silver is displayed in the reception rooms and galleries, as it was at the time of her celebrated house parties. The future George VI and Queen Elizabeth spent part of their honeymoon here in 1923.
The first house was built here by 1336, then in 1630 Anthony Rous bought the estate and rebuilt the medieval house. Richard Brinsley Sheridan, the poet and playwright, bought the house in 1804.
The house was demolished when Joseph Bonsor bought the estate 1824 and commissioned Thomas Cubitt to build an entirely new house which created the core of the house seen today. Bonsor died in 1835, and the house passed to his son who, in 1853, sold the estate to Sir Walter Rockcliff Farquhar, who held it until his death in 1902.
The estate was then purchased by Sir Clinton Edward Dawkins, a career civil servant, who commissioned Ambrose Poynter, architect son of Sir Edward Poynter P.R.A., in 1906 to significantly extend Cubitt’s work to create the present house. Sir Clinton, however died shortly after its completion.
Ronald Greville died in 1908 only two years after they had moved to Polesden Lacey. He was aged 46. Margaret continued to entertain lavishly at the house. She also owned a home in London in which she held expensive parties. Over the next 30 years her reputation as a society hostess became established.
The current estate comprises 1,400 acres of grounds, including lawns, ancient woodland, landscape walks and a walled rose garden.
Located on the North Downs at Great Bookham, near Dorking, Surrey, it is currently one of the National Trust’s most popular properties.