The house from a circa 1910 postcard
Earlier Houses: There was a 14th century moated house, built for the Waller family, on the site of the current 17th century house.
Built / Designed For: Philip Packer
House & Family History: The medieval Groombridge Place was purchased by John Packer in 1618. It was John's son, Philip Packer (1618-86), who rebuilt the house within its moated site, 1652-74, possibly with input from his friend, Sir Christopher Wren. Philip was educated at University College, Oxford, where he matriculated in 1635, after which he practiced law at the Middle Temple. He was a courtier at the court of Charles II, a founder of the Royal Society, and friend of John Evelyn. In the 19th century Groombridge was owned by John Saint, vicar of nearby Speldhurst, who lived here until his death in 1889, and who probably began the formal topiary in the walled garden. The Rev. Saint's daughters, friends of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, never married; upon the death of his last daughter, Elizabeth Saint, in 1919, Groombridge Place was purchased by Henry Stanford Mountain, who gently and sensitively restored the house. The property was listed for sale, together with 204 acres, in September 2000. Groombridge today is a visitor attraction famous for its gardens, particularly The Raptor Centre, a birds of prey sanctuary.
Collections: Some contents of Groombridge Place were sold by Sotheby's on September 15-16, 1992.
Garden & Outbuildings: The diarist John Evelyn may have designed the garden. The 204-acre grounds contain the enchanted forest, terraced formal gardens, the mill house, lakes, parkland, woodland, and farmland. Much of the estate is located in East Sussex.
Country Life: II, 350, 1897. XIV, 400, 1903. CXVIII, 1376, 1480, 1524, 1955.
Title: Movie Locations: A Guide to Britain & Ireland
Author: Adams, Mark
Year Published: 2000
Publisher: London: Boxtree
Book Type: Softback
Title: Disintegration of a Heritage: Country Houses and their Collections, 1979-1992, The
Author: Sayer, Michael
Year Published: 1993
Publisher: Norfolk: Michael Russell (Publishing)
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade I
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: William Russell, 13th century. Henry de Cobham, 1st Baron Cobham, 13th century. Sir John de Clinton, 14th century. Thomas Waller, early 15th century. Sir Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset , early 17th century. John Packer, 1618-49. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: Philip Packer, 17th century; Packer family here until 1754. William Camfield, 1754-81. Robert Burges, 18th century. John Saint, 1830-89; Saint family here until 1919. Henry Stanford Mountain, 1919-47; Mountain family here until 2000.
Current Ownership Type: Corporation
Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction
Ownership Details: Owned by Groombridge Place Estates Ltd. and operated as The Raptor Centre, a birds of prey sanctuary.