Hall Grove School

Hall Grove School

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History

The name "Hall Grove" is much older than the house now standing and it can be traced back to the Middle Ages or earlier. It may be a corruption of High Grove, or of Holy Grove. The settlement owes its location to a number of geographical factors:  a stretch of relatively fertile land near the edge of the barren heathlands of Bagshot and Chobham; the existence of good woodland, ample spring water and locally made red bricks; a high site above the flood plain with long views to the south;  its close proximity to the main London Road (re-built in the 18th century).  There are records of a John Rackett (married to the half sister of the poet, Alexander Pope) living at Hall Grove in an earlier house, or perhaps it was the old 15th century farm house that still stands at Hall Grove Farm.  Rackett was something of a scoundrel and was  imprisoned for poaching deer from the Royal Park.

The main house standing today was built in 1769 by Ralph Leycester. It was never more than a minor seat, perhaps the owner had other property in London and came down here for holidays. The estate had its own home farm and dairy, a large kitchen garden, stabling, a peach wall and an ice house, all essential mod-cons for the gentlemen of the age!

Hall Grove 1832

In 1829 the house was occupied by Mrs Birt (there is a Birt family vault at Windlesham Church). In the 1870s it belonged to a family called Dumbleton and then in 1911 it was the residence of Stephen Soames. Later it was bought by the Meade family (Earl and Countess of Clanwilliam), related to the Meades of Uppark in Sussex.

The Graham family bought the house in 1956, founding the school which started with just 6 pupils. The property was in near derelict condition and had been empty for over two years. Today, it is a vibrant, happy community of over 400 boys and girls with an outstanding reputation for academic, musical and sporting success. The Headmaster is the son of the founders. The school is unusual in having its own golf course, its own lake for kayaking, a mountain bike track, outdoor classroom and additional woodland and a riding centre within the grounds.  Gardening is a popular activity with the Middle School children.

A detailed history of Hall Grove can be found here.