Bury Hill in 1914. Image: Courtesy of Dorking Museum

Bury Hill in 1914
Image: Courtesy of Dorking Museum

Lying on the west side of the town of Dorking, the Bury Hill estate was created by Edward Walter. He purchased Chadhurst farm in 1735 and bought up adjoining agricultural lands to build up an estate of 1600 acres which ran from Westcott and Milton to Coldharbour and the fringes of the Holmwood. On his death Bury Hill came into the hands of his son-in-law, Viscount Grimston.

Bury Hill was sold in 1815 in lots. Nearly a thousand acres were bought by Robert Barclay, a wealthy Southwark brewer. It remained in the Barclay family for 150 years. Barclay was a great gardener and botanist and he created pleasure gardens with large ornamental lakes. His gardener went on to found the Birmingham Botanical Gardens.

The house was occupied by the military in the Second World War and the centre part was destroyed by fire on being converted in 1949, though the outer parts remain as apartments. The rest of the estate was then split and sold off.

Bury Hill lakes are now open for fishing.

21 Responses to Dorking: Bury Hill and the Barclays

  1. My great Grandfather was Arthur Kett Barclay who owned Bury Hill. As a child I used to visit my family at Bury Hill. This photo was probably taken by my Grandfather.

  2. Nancy Grace says:

    Just found a postcard my Dad sent home in WWII it just says \’my home just now posh eh?\’ He was in the West Yorkshire regiment.

  3. patrick doyle says:

    My grandmother Margaret Edith Ison would have spent some time at Bury Hill. Her mother (and therefore my great grandmother)Neville Juliana, was born there I think.

  4. B. A. White says:

    C.H. MacLean, Esq. reporting on the poor law in Surrey in 1834:

  5. Mark Davison says:

    While metal detecting with the permission of the landowner in September 2011, in the area near Milton Court, Dorking, I unearthed two silvered livery buttons bearing the family crest of Arthur Kett Barclay, of Bury Hill. The buttons bear the motto: \”In cruce spero\” (I trust in the cross) and show the crest, a mitre (bishop\’s head-dress) with tassels floating upwards. I would very much like to get in touch with Arthur Kett\’s Barclay\’s great-grand-daughter so I can send her a photograph of one of these livery buttons. My e-mail address is mark.davison1@virgin.net

    • Angela Barclay Browne says:

      Dear Mark,

      My mother is Mary-Rose Barclay great grand daughter of Arthur Kett Barclay. She would be very interested to receive photographs of the livery buttons.
      Many thanks
      Angela Browne

  6. ann taylor says:

    I am descended from Arthur Kett Barclay. His father Charles Barclay (my 3great grandfather) would be the C Barclay referred to above.

    • Angela Barclay Browne says:

      Dear Ann,
      My grandfather is Charles Barclay. We have many family photos and would be happy to try and arrange to meet. We live in West Sussex on the coast.
      Kind regards
      Angela Browne

  7. The C Barclay who is referred to above as burned in effigy is more than likely Charles Barclay of Bury Hill, owner of the estate in the 1830s and local magistrate.

  8. Interesting details on Robert Barclay from your correspondents.Prior to Bury Hill Robert Barclay had a grand mansion on Clapham Common Northside, later occupied by Sir Charles Barrie, architect of the houses of Parliament. This house still stands and forms the left- hand frontage of the present Trinity Hospice. Barclay was an enthusiastic astronomer and had a large instrument in his garden. His immediate neighbour George Hibbert was also keenly involved in botanical activities, and on an 11 acre plot next to Barclay in Clapham had an exotic said to rival Kew in the early 1800\’s. Did one enthuse the other? For my own research on Hibbert I\’d rather like to know which. I have some reproduction images(drawings )of the Clapham properties but cannot tell whether they are of Barclay\’s or Hibbert\’s property. Are there any Barclay family papers of this era (ca 1780-1820)?

  9. Angela Barclay Browne says:

    My great Grandfather Charles Wright Barclay was born at Old Bury Hill House , he met his future wife Florence L Barclay (nee Charlesworth) when she stayed at her aunts, Miss Maria Charlesworths, little house in the charming old fashioned Surrey village Nutfield. ‘The Cottage’ as it was known belonged to Arthur Barclay an elder brother of my great grandfather who lived at Nutfield Court. Charles and Florence married on March 10th 1881 in St. Annes Church Limehouse; a crowd of 2,500 people attended their wedding. Florence went on to become a very well known authoress writing many novels including The Rosary. My grandfather Rev. Cyril Charles Barclay often visited Old Bury Hill House with his wife Rose and Daughter Maryrose; they stayed their and enjoyed country weekends with friends and family in the 1930′s.
    We have many lovely paintings of Bury Hill grounds painted by my Great Aunts.
    I recently read that Barclays Bank of Hatton Garden, London took their staff on a day out at Old Bury Hill Fisheries, I wonder if they knew that they were in the ancestral home of one side of the Barclays banking family.
    We would love to get in touch with anyone who would like to meet up at Bury Hill for a get together and to share old photos of times spent their.

    • Neville Bird says:

      I and my family are very interested in Barclay Family history, as Arthur Kett was my great grandfather; his youngest daughter Neville Juliana was my grandmother. Ann Taylor & Patrick Doyle are both related to me.

    • Rosemary Stevens says:

      I have a bible that has come into my possession which has an inscription on the fly leaf mentioning a name Emily Barclay 1881. I have had difficulty finding any more information about her and in particular whether she was a relation to the Rev. Charles Barclay who was a vicar at Hertford Heath where I used to live.

      • Angela Barclay Browne says:

        Dear Rosemary , my grt grandfather was rev Charles Barclay and his wife was Florence Barclay (authoress) who was vicar of Little Amwell Hertford Heath 1881-1920 , it is quite possible that his sister Emily Octavia Barclay owned the bible you now have , she was born in 1847 at bury hill house Dorking Surrey ,married 1868 Reginald More Bray (Barclay) in Shere surrey and died and was buried in shere Surrey 1926.
        I was interested that you lived in Hertford Heath ,my grt grandmother Florence Barclay started a mens bible class and i believe a Leyton bible reading class that lasted many years , as a farewell gift they presented her with a grandfather clock an exact copy of that at Hampton Court containing Westminster chimes , my mother Mary-Rose now has the clock , which is much loved . I hope to visit Hertford Heath myself this year. If you would like any further information please contact me.

  10. robert prime says:

    I believe my late father (same name)to be the elder brother of your g/mother Rose,whose parents were Robert and Sarah from Southwark

    • Angela Barclay Browne says:

      My grandmother Rose Barclays parents were Robert and Sarah Prime from Southwark , that would make you my 2nd cousin and my mother Mary-Rose Barclay Wllis cousin ,your father Robert was my mothers uncle ; if you would like to meet up ,please contact me .

  11. Dr. Judith Carmel says:

    I am currently researching this property for a book on Surrey country houses (lost/destroyed). Any information/pictures/reminiscences/notes from family members or others originally/formerly associated with the Bury Hill estate up to the time of the partial ruin of the house, would be most welcome! Please do contact me. With many thanks

    • ANGELA BARCLAY BROWNE says:

      DEAR DR.CARMEL WE WOULD BE DELIGHTED TO SHARE OUR INFORMATION, ETC FOR YOUR RESEARCH , MY MOTHER MARY ROSE BARCLAY WOULD LOVE TO SHARE HER MEMORIES AND PICTURES FROM OLD BURY HILL HOUSE.WE LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING FROM YOU.

  12. Eleanor Barclay Taylor says:

    Hi, my mother was Margaret Barclay Murray nee Rogers. She was daughter of Magdalen Florence Rogers nee Barclay, eldest daughter of Florence Louisa Barclay. I have been researching the Scottish connections. An example…my 8th great grandmother Catherine Barclay was from very powerful Scottish families, royalty , Earls of Huntly, Darnley (Mary Queen of Scots) Catherine’s father built Gordonstoun. Loads more. A most interesting family to be connected to. Could anyone tell me what happened to the contents of Bury Hill re the fire ?

  13. Christine Ellen Barclay says:

    I am related to the Barclays of Bury Hill and would be interested to visit it some time and particularly to see the gardens as I am a keen horticulturalist. I have two volumes of The History of the Barclay family tracing our ancestory back to around 1066. There are several pages about Bury Hill with family trees detailing all the cousins.

    My Great Grandfather was Robert Leatham Barclay, Chairman of Barclays Bank. He lived on a large estate called High Leigh, Hoddesdon. The gardens and grounds were reputedly laid out by Joseph Paxton and it has a substantial Pullamite rock feature surrounding the ponds that drain down into the lake. Some of the land was given to people of Hoddesdon to create a natural park. This is called Barclay Park and we recently had volunteers from Barclays Bank helping to plant trees and shrubs in the new Jubilee Walk.

    High Leigh is now a Christian Conference Centre run by Christian Conference Trust and one can stay there. If you are coming to Hertford Heath please look me up, as I live in Hertford and own lots of Florence Barclay books and articles about her family and one of her daughters who helped Baydon Powell set up the Girl Guide movement. There is going to be a talk given about Florence Barclay, at the local historical society meeting, 8pm on May 8th in the St Andrew Centre, behind St Andrew’s Church, Hertford. It would be lovely to meet a distant cousin and talk about family history.

    • Angela Barclay Browne says:

      I was very interested to read the comments made by Christine Ellen Barclay ,we hope to visit Bury Hill this year, our family still have items from the house including copies of many portraits of family ancestors .My sister Caroline Barclay-Willis is currently updating the Barclay family tree originally compiled by our Great Grandfather Charles Wright Barclay in 1884.My mother owns a few of Florence Barclays original manuscripts and and we have a few of her personal items , unfortunately we cannot attend the talk on May 8th Hertford , please could you let us know if there is ever another talk or gathering about Florence or Charles Barclay.Vera Charlesworth Barclay was my Great Aunt and i often stayed with her in Seaview on the Isle of Wight , she wrote many childrens books including the Jane books and in 1912 worked with Baydon – Powell ,she was the most significant woman in the scout movement at this time,she became one of the first Wolf Cub Akelas , she is on a First Day Cover commerating 100 years of scouting , printed by Benham of Kent.

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