This month, marks 53 years since the death of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. To mark the occasion, this month RH History Uncovered remembers the Dormansland manor house which the leader and his family once called home.
When thinking of Churchill’s homes one might think of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, the ancestral home of the Churchills’, and birth place of the wartime leader, or Chartwell House in Kent, a home Churchill famously spent later life and a house which has appeared numerous times on screen.
However, during the First World War, leaving the noise of London behind the Churchills’ bought Lullenden Manor, a large Tudor property between Dormansland and Lingfield set in 77 acres. The Churchills’ went on to live at the house from the spring of 1917 until November 1919.
Having moved his family to the country, by July 1917 he was back in government as Minister of Munitions – rather ironic as the family moving to Lullenden Manor was to move his children away from bombing raids on London.
Churchill’s wife, Clementine, helped entertain visitors to Lullenden Manor, and it is said that she loved the gardens that enclosed the house and gave the family privacy. The children, Diana, Randolph, and Sarah, were often joined at Lullenden Manor by their cousins, playing in the garden.
To relax, Churchill enjoyed his two great loves – painting and gardening – in the grounds, Churchill’s wild white cherry trees, white magnolias, crimson Japanese azaleas and blood-red Britannia rhododendrons – one of Clementine’s favourites, still offer blazes of colour in season.
The children became part of the local community, travelling to school in the village of Dormansland by pony and trap. Towards the end of the war, Churchill was made Secretary of State for War and Air, responsible for, among other things, demobilisation of almost three and a half million soldiers.
At the end of 1919, the Churchills’ sold Lullenden Manor to their friends, General Sir Ian and Lady Hamilton, and to this day Lullenden Manor is one of the few small country estates to have survived intact. It offers an idyllic lifestyle and a story like few others locally.
- Won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his overall, lifetime body of work
- Made an honorary citizen of the United States in 1963 by the US government
- In 1995, the US Navy name a destroyer the USS Winston S. Churchill
- Named the Greatest Briton of all-time in a nationwide BBC poll in 2002
- In 2007, rated as one of the most influential leaders in history by Time Magazine
By Jacob White