Our latest blog explores the history of St George’s Hill – from its humble beginning as common land to the prestigious and historical estate it has become today with outstanding sporting facilities.
Birthplace of the ‘Diggers’
In 1649, Gerrard Winstanley and a group of Protestant radicals calling themselves ‘Diggers’ arrived on St George’s Hill in Surrey, and settled on the common land.
The ‘Diggers’, who worked collectively, set about cultivating the land planting vegetables and raising animals.
Over time, hostility grew towards the group who were eventually attacked by local farmers and evicted from the land, much to the relief of local freeholders.
In 1804 the land was acquired by the ‘Grand Old’ Duke of York and during the Victorian period, the Egerton family, otherwise known as the Earls of Ellesmere took possession of St George’s Hill.
Opening of St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club
St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club was not in Tarrant’s original plans but a 16-acre site was later allocated next to Warren Pond on the north-east corner of the estate. In just nine months, the facilities were developed including eight grass courts, two croquet lawns, a bowling green together with a large thatched roof pavilion overlooking the lake.
St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club was officially opened on Saturday 7th June 1913, with huge fanfare by His Serene Highness Prince Alexander of Teck accompanied by his wife Princess Alice and chaperoned by Tarrant, who due to his community efforts had acquired some very distinguished connections. The opening ceremony well and truly launched The Tennis Club into Surrey society and was recorded by all the local newspapers.
St George’s Hill with its character properties, surrounded by beautiful old trees and private roads is a very special place and has attracted several famous residents over the years.
Notable and previous residents include John Lennon and Ringo Starr from the Beatles, British singer Cliff Richard, entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star Theo Paphitis and sporting legends John Terry, Sue Barker and Jenson Button.
The Tennis Club was also chosen as the fictitious Oakley Park Country Club for a feature film entitled ‘Town on Trial’, bringing Hollywood glamour to the Hill.
St George’s Hill & St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club today
With approximately 420 houses, an 18 hole golf course, additional 9 hole golf course and the much loved St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club, the Hill has significantly changed since the ‘Diggers’ first claimed the land but it is still one of the most sought-after estates in England.
St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club is renowned as one of the most prestigious Tennis Clubs in England and is proud to welcome families from Weybridge, Esher, Cobham, Walton, West Byfleet, Leatherhead and surrounding areas.
Members of St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club are very much aware how lucky they are to have such an outstanding Club on a stunning site with such rich heritage and are excited to see what the next 100 years have to offer.