Iron Age

Iron Age pottery has been found at Givons Grove, indicating a possible settlement.


In the Domesday Book the Givons Grove area was part of Tornecrosta (Thorncroft) Manor, one of the two manors of Leret (Leatherhead). Givons Grove remained part of Thorncroft Manor until 1859.

13th Century onwards

Thorncroft Manor was owned by Merton College, Oxford and leased to a succession of tenants. The Givons Grove area was farmed, mainly as pasture for sheep and pigs, the remainder being orchards and woodland.


The Old Farm, the oldest building on the Estate, subsequently much altered, was constructed. At about that time, the tenement was known as Gybbons and the farm later became Gibbons Farm.

16th to 18th Century

Among the leaseholders from Merton College were Robert Gardiner (1498-1571), Serjeant of the Wine Cellar to Queen Elizabeth I and Richard Dalton (1616-1681), Serjeant of the Wine Cellar to King Charles II.


The lease was acquired by Henry Crabb Boulton (1709-1783), a wealthy merchant who became Chairman of the East India Company in 1772. He was MP for Worcester from 1754 to 1773. The family’s wealth had been acquired through the East India Company by his father Richard Boulton.


The 15th Century manor house of Thorncroft was demolished and the present Thorncroft Manor was built to the design of Sir Robert Taylor, architect of the Bank of England.

1785 (circa)

Henry Boulton (1752-1828), nephew of Henry Crabb Boulton, built a new house, Gibbons Grove House, close to the farm buildings. It was much larger than Givons Manor today, having 21 bedrooms and dressing rooms.


Cherkley Court, also built in the 1780s and then called Cherkley Yews, was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt shortly afterwards much like the original building.

1810 (circa)

Gibbons Grove became Givons Grove.


The Boulton family, who had acquired the freehold, sold the Givons Grove Estate, comprising 238 acres, to Duncan Fletcher for £17,000.


Thomas Grissell, of Norbury Park, purchased the estate for £35,000. He was a wealthy builder whose firm built Nelson’s Column and the Houses of Parliament.


Thomas Grissell leased Givons Grove House and 40 acres to Russell Sturgis of the banker Baring Brothers who later acquired an additional 116 acres.


Following the death of Russell Sturgis, the freehold of the estate of 157 acres was inherited from Thomas Grissell by his widow Julia Overing Sturgis.


Henry Parkman Sturgis inherited the property and lived there until 1919.

1900 (circa)

There was an entrance lodge known as Givons Lodge on the Leatherhead / Dorking Road close to the Givons Grove roundabout and a lane led to a nursery known as Givons Gardens on part of the present Garden Close. The Leatherhead Bypass was not built until 1922.


Humphrey Verdon Roe purchased the estate. He and his brother Alliott were the founders of A V Roe & Company which developed the Avro biplane. He was also the husband of Dr Marie Stopes, the palaeontologist who had become interested in birth control. After giving up her lectureship at University College, London, she added a laboratory to carry out private research mostly concerned with the structure of coal.


Having founded what was claimed to be the first birth control clinic in the world at Holloway in 1921 and launched Birth Control News in 1922, the Verdon Roes leased the Farm to William Cullen and the Lodge and Gardens to a nurseryman.


Givons Grove Estate, then comprising the main house, farm buildings and 130 acres, was sold to a Leatherhead building syndicate headed by Mr F H Bartlett. The builders demolished two wings of Givons Grove House and advertised wooded plots of one-half to three acres in the Leatherhead Directory of 1928 at prices from £300 to £3,000.


The Givons Grove (Leatherhead) Estate Limited was formed to develop the estate.   By 1939, about 30 houses had been built on the estate, mostly in The Downs.


Crabtree Drive was a rough track and the Surrey Agricultural Committee grew crops on each side. The route to Bookham was a farm track via Bocketts Farm until the Canadian forces built Young Street, which was opened by the Canadian Prime Minister in 1941.


In 1957 the roads, verges, the benefit of the covenants and the residual land were acquired by Mr Kenneth Clarke of Seven Gables on The Downs.


The roads, verges and the benefit of the covenants were acquired by Givons Grove Estate Limited, a limited company formed and owned by the majority of the residents.


Today, the Givons Grove Estate comprises about 138 acres with 117 properties and about two and a half miles of private roads.

This précis has been compiled from information supplied by Roger McDaniel of Highlands, The Downs. Roger would like to hear from anyone with further historical information about the Estate.