Great Fosters


Great Fosters is a 16th-century mansion which originally lay within
Windsor Great Park Windsor Great Park is a Royal Park of , including a deer park, to the south of the town of Windsor on the border of Berkshire Berkshire ( ; in the 17th century sometimes spelt phonetically as Barkeshire; abbreviated Berks.) is a Counties ...

Windsor Great Park
and is still adjacent to the town of
Egham Egham ( ) is a university town in the Borough of Runnymede in Surrey, England, approximately west of central London. First settled in the Bronze Age, the town was under the control of Chertsey Abbey for much of the Middle Ages. In 1215, Magna C ...
Surrey Surrey () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), William and Ro ...

, England. It is a
Grade I listed building A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the four statutory lists maintained by Historic England in England, Historic Environment Scotland in Scotland, in Wales, and the Northern Ireland Environment Agenc ...
, close to Heathrow and the
M25M25 or M-25 may be: Aerospace * M-25 Dromader Mikro, a variant of the Polish PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader agricultural aircraft * Cors-Air M25Y Black Devil, an Italian aircraft engine * Shvetsov M-25, an aircraft radial engine produced in the Soviet Un ...
London orbital
motorway network. A controlled-access highway is a type of highway A highway is any public or private road A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two Location (geography), places that has been Pavement (material), paved or ...
. It has been
listed Grade I Listed may refer to: * Listed, Bornholm, a fishing village on the Danish island of Bornholm * Listed (MMM program), a television show on MuchMoreMusic * Endangered species in biology * Listed building, in architecture, designation of a historically ...

listed Grade I
on the
National Heritage List for England The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) is England's official database of protected heritage assets. It includes details of all English listed building A listed building, or listed structure, is one that has been placed on one of the fou ...
since July 1951, and its gardens and parkland have been Grade II* listed on the
Register of Historic Parks and Gardens The Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England provides a listing and classification system for historic parks and gardens similar to that used for listed buildings. The register is managed by Historic England u ...
since July 1988. The grounds are also home to a 17th-century Grade II listed barn which was reconstructed on the site from its original home in a field in Malden, Surrey. The Grade II listed former stables date from the 16th century and are now used as a conference centre. The formal gardens of Great Fosters were laid out in 1918 by W. H. Romaine-Walker in partnership with G. H. Jenkins, the pair also extended the house.


Great Fosters was the London seat of Sir
John Dodderidge
John Dodderidge
(1555–1628), a judge of the King's Bench and formerly Solicitor General to
King James I James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland The monarch of Scotland was the head of state of the Kingdom of Scotland. According to tradition, the first King of Scots was Kenneth I MacAlpi ...

King James I
. He had been brought up in
Barnstaple Barnstaple ( or ) is a river-port town in North Devon North Devon is a Non-metropolitan district, local government district in Devon, England. North Devon Council is based in Barnstaple. Other towns and villages in the North Devon District ...

, in North Devon, and purchased the estate of Bremridge near
South Molton South Molton is a small town in Devon Devon (, also known as Devonshire) is a Counties of England, county of England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is part of South West England, bounde ...
Devon Devon (, archaically known as Devonshire) is a Counties of England, county in South West England, reaching from the Bristol Channel in the north to the English Channel in the south. It is bounded by Cornwall to the west, Somerset to the north ...

, as his country estate. His epitaph on his monument in
Exeter Cathedral Exeter Cathedral, properly known as the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Exeter, is an Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christianity, Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church ...

Exeter Cathedral
states ''"He departed this lyfe at Forsters nere Egha(m) in Surrey"''. Sir Robert Foster owned the house in 1639. When he died in 1663 he left the house to his son, Sir Thomas Foster. Great Fosters remained in the family following his death in 1685 when it passed to his daughters. In 1715, Sir Charles Orbey resided here, and it was not until 1787 that one of Sir Thomas’ great grandsons sold the property to a Mr Wyatt for £700. In 1818 Great Fosters was sold to Dr George Frederick Furnivall (father of
Frederick Furnivall Frederick James Furnivall (4 February 1825 – 2 July 1910) was an English philologist Philology is the study of language in oral and written historical sources; it is the intersection of textual criticism, literary criticism, history, and l ...
), Sir John Chapman (one of the 300 founder members of the
Royal College of Surgeons The Royal College of Surgeons is an ancient college A college (Latin: ''collegium'') is an educational institution or a University system, constituent part of one. A college may be a academic degree, degree-awarding Tertiary education, tertiar ...
) and another partner, who operated it as a
lunatic asylum The lunatic asylum (alternatively mental asylum or insane asylum) was an early precursor of the modern psychiatric hospital Psychiatric hospitals, also known as mental health units or behavioral health units, are hospital A hospital is ...
. Chapman was one of the "modern thinkers" who believed mental illness was not solely related to physical illness, and Furnivall was described in local documentation as "Doctor to the Poor" in Windsor. Although not confirmed by
Windsor Castle Windsor Castle is a at in the English county of . It is strongly associated with the and succeeding , and embodies almost a millennium of . The original castle was built in the 11th century after the by . Since the time of (who re ...

Windsor Castle
records, it is said that
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain There have been 12 British monarchs since the political union of the Kingdom of England The Kingdom of England was a sovereign state on the ...

King George III
was treated at Great Fosters towards the end of his life. Early in the 20th century, Great Fosters was owned by Baroness Halkett,
Queen Alexandra Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia; 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925) was Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Empress of India from 1901 to 1910 as the wife of King-Emperor Edward ...

Queen Alexandra
's lady in waiting. Later it passed to the
Earl of Dudley Earl of Dudley, of Dudley Castle in the County of Stafford (now the West Midlands), is a title that has been created twice in the Peerage of the United Kingdom, both times for members of the Ward family. History Dudley was first used for a peer ...
and then to the Hon. Gerald Montague. The estate was purchased by Harold Sutcliffe in 1931 and owned by the Sutcliffe family until late 2018 when it was purchased by the current owners, Alexander Hotels. The building is now a 4-star hotel.

The house

In about 1550, the original house was built as a symmetrical U-shaped Elizabethan homestead. It is probable that it was extended in the early 17th century because there is slightly larger brickwork in the porch. It was at this time the initial tall chimneys were built. However, these were removed during World War II after a bomb blast. They have been replaced by replicas. A dominant feature of the house is the windows, all of which have stone mullions and transom (architectural), transoms with window#Window materials, leaded lights.

In popular culture

The front of the house was used in the opening title sequence of the 1950s TV comedy series ''Whack-O!'' set at a minor public school. It was also used in the 1958 Rank Organisation film about the ''Titanic'', ''A Night to Remember (1958 film), A Night to Remember''.


External links

Aerial viewVideo tour
Country houses in Surrey Grade I listed buildings in Surrey Grade I listed houses Grade II* listed parks and gardens in Surrey Grade II listed buildings in Surrey Hotels in Surrey Houses completed in the 16th century Borough of Runnymede Elizabethan architecture Country house hotels