History


stone-detailThe history of Hillersdon goes back to Doomsday, with the present house dating from the 1840s. Built to replace an earlier manor, notable theatre architect Samuel Beazley designed the Grade II* listed house in the late-Georgian style, with red brick and Portland Stone dressing.

Between the 1890s and 1930s Arctic photographer and all round bon-viveur, W.J.A. ‘Billy’ Grant, owned the house. Billy’s legendary hospitality was the source of numerous stories of ‘corridor creeping’ and general high-jinx amongst the guests. One memorable story tells how 4 young gentlemen guests stripped off to swim across one of the lakes to settle a wager, before washing themselves clean in a bath full of champagne. When Billy died in 1935 the estate passed to his close friend Sir Mark Sturgis.

slide4-sqSir Mark inherited the estate on the condition that he assumed the name Grant, becoming Grant-Sturgis. During the war the house was requisitioned as a rest home for American Officers.

After the war the house served for a short period as a bed and breakfast, before being divided into 5 separate flats. It remained that way until the Grant-Sturgis family finally sold Hillersdon in 1982.