Dewsall Court is now an idyllic, exclusive use venue, but it was not always so. It has a venerable history as a family home and has had many other uses during its time.
Origins of Dewsall Court
The house was built in 1644 by Richard Pearle, who lived with his family at Dewsall for over 100 years. It was the birth place of the colourful 1st Duke of Chandos (1673 – 1744), who was stupendously rich and a great patron of the arts. He was a major patron of the composer Handel and the poet Alexander Pope who wrote a satirical poem about him. He also became Paymaster General but later in life, due to a very indulgent lifestyle, he lost all his money and went bankrupt.
This had a major impact on the fortunes of Dewsall Court. It was owned by Guys Hospital for over 300 years. As a result, one of the treasures of the house – a painting called The Judgement of Paris in the manner of Lely, which was mentioned by Pevsner – now hangs in the boardroom of Guy’s Hospital in London.
It’s said that important paintings from The National Gallery were stored at Dewsall for protection during the Second World War.
The house fell into disrepair and in the 1960s it was bought by Sir Charles Clore, who applied to have it demolished and actually removed the roof. Thankfully this was refused by the local authorities and Sir Charles Clore was told to put the roof back on – a tin one!
The next owner was the Prudential, though under their stewardship the house fell further into ruin and the only improvements were to the farmland. Local folklore says that the derelict Dewsall was used for the local SAS to practise on for the Iranian Embassy siege.
It was briefly owned by a couple who allegedly bought it by candlelight and planned to turn it into a field study centre but this never came to fruition. This sad period of neglect was about to come to a happy ending.
The Robinson family – Joe, Jane, Samantha and Joseph – bought the derelict house in 1989 and spent a decade restoring it from an uninhabitable house into a lovely family home. The very limited details from the estate agent highlighted on the beautiful sunsets over the Black Mountains because very little could be said about the dilapidated house itself at the time. They were right – the sunsets are spectacular! The Robinsons were the first family to own and live in the house since the reign of Queen Anne.
Dewsall was a very happy family home, where Samantha and Joseph grew up with dogs, cats, ponies and chickens – and legendary parties, which set the tone for what was to come in the future. Sadly in 2007 Joe died and in 2009 the family decided to move out and make the house into the exclusive use venue it is today.
Very Special Venue
Guests regularly comment that Dewsall Court is very special and that it still has that homely feel as soon as you walk through the door. Other guests have said it has a spiritual feel and that being there is so rejuvenating. Once here it is hard to leave and we have had many people departing down the drive in tears (in a good way!) That’s why so many return!
The present day Dewsall Court is still very much a family concern. We are all involved with making sure that the private weekend parties, celebrations, weddings and exclusive stays are a great success for all our guests.