DiCamillo Companion

Thorpe Place (Hall Place)

  • Earlier Houses: An earlier house on the site (Hall Place) was replaced in 1801 by The Rev. John Leigh-Bennett, Vicar of Thorpe Church, who called his new house Thorpe Place.

    House & Family History: Hall Place was leased and built by the de Thorpe family in the 15th century on land owned by the abbot of Chertsey. In the late 15th century, as the Wars of the Roses ended and the Tudor period emerged, the tenants of Hall Place had some interesting connections with some prominent members of English society. In 1483 Henry Wykes, usher of the chamber to Henry VII, took over as tenant. In 1513, his daughter, Elizabeth, married Thomas Cromwell, who served Cardinal Wolsey and later replaced him as Henry VIII's trusted advisor, rising to the office of lord privy seal. In 1534 Henry VIII made himself head of the Church of England; three years later he dissolved the monasteries and Hall Place became the property of the crown. Sir John Wolley, scholar, diplomat, member of Parliament, and trusted servant of Queen Elizabeth I became lord of Hall Place by marriage in the mid-16th century. Hall Place stayed in the Wolley family until a cousin, William Minterne, purchased it in 1609 at the same time as he bought Thorpe Manor. Minterne built the fine brick wall around the garden of Hall Place in 1613 - an inscription can be read in the blackened brick pattern as "WM1613W." In the last decade of the 18th century The Rev. John Leigh-Bennett, vicar of Thorpe Church, decided to build a new mansion to replace Hall Place – he called it Thorpe Place. Completed in 1801, it consisted of seven bays on the terrace side, five on the carriage side, and three stories in yellow stock brick. The vicar's son, Henry Currie Leigh-Bennett, made major additions on the east end of the house. Thorpe Place was sold in 1930 to an Anglican order of nuns, the Convent of St. Mary the Virgin. They transferred from a residence in Feltham called Spelthorne St. Mary, brought the name with them, and stayed until the early 1970s. The nuns brought about many changes, one addition being a chapel. In 1935 a new wing of three stories, accommodating 16 bedrooms, was added. The property was acquired for TASIS England (The American School in Switzerland) in 1976, when it served as offices, classrooms and dormitories, as it does today. Various improvements have taken place over the last 25 years, including a modern science wing, library and new dining and catering facilities. Much of the information in this history comes from the book "The Heart of Thorpe" by James Lander. This is a comprehensive history of the site of TASIS England and contains many photographs and illustrations of the various TASIS buildings from times past. (This history of Thorpe House kindly supplied by TASIS The American School in England).

  • Garden & Outbuildings: William Minterne built the fine brick wall around the garden of Hall Place in 1613 - an inscription can be read in the blackened brick pattern as "WM1613W."

  • House Listed: Not Listed

    Park Listed: Not Listed

  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: de Thorpe family, 15th century. Henry Wykes, 15th century. Sir John Wolley, 16th century. William Minterne, 17th century. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: The Rev. John Leigh-Bennett, 18th-19th centuries.

    Current Ownership Type: School

    Primary Current Ownership Use: School

    Ownership Details: Owned and occupied by TASIS England (TASIS The American School in England)

  • House Open to Public: No

    Phone: 01932-565-252

    Fax: 01932-564-644

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://www.tasisengland.org/

    Historic Houses Member: No