Great Tangley Manor was originally a 16th century manor house situated on a moated site, with a majority of the present house built in 1584 by Richard Cayll. This may have been the site of an earlier medieval Hall House with the core of the manor house thought to date from the 15th century. Some documentary sources suggest a house was in existence on the site from the Norman Conquest and served King John as a Hunting Lodge.
Many parts of the house have been demolished and rebuilt between the 16th century to the modern day and previous owners of the house include Lord Grantley of Wonersh Park and Colonel Hegan Kennard. In 1884/5, a new owner of the property, Mr. Wickham Flower employed architect Mr Phillip Webb to refurbish the house and gardener Mr Whiteman to reinstate the moat as an ornamental feature and lay out the gardens as known today.
Previously the gardens had consisted of ‘kitchen gardens, stables, cow-sheds, piggeries and barns’. There was also a court garden with an extensive run of Wisteria to the west of the house. Webb modified the grounds into several separate gardens including an alpine garden, an iris group, the renowned pergola walk, the rock garden and the flower-margined lake. The new layout certainly encompassed the Gertrude Jekyll style of garden design and was discussed in Elgood and Jekylls 1906 publication of Some English Gardens.
The garden was the epitome of the Edwardian country garden and attesting its beauty, many well-known 19th / 20th century artists painted the house and gardens including Thomas Hunn, E.A. Rowe and George Elwood.