History

Onslow family origins

The Onslow family were first recorded in the 12th century. Hundreds of years later Roger Onslow moved to London to further the family wool business.

His son Richard entered politics, becoming the 'Black Speaker' during the reign of Elizabeth I. His grandson, another Richard nicknamed the red fox of Surrey, purchased Clandon Park in 1641.

The Onslow family at Clandon (part 1)

Plantation heiress Elizabeth Knight who married Thomas Onslow © NTPL/Angelo Hornak

Plantation heiress Elizabeth Knight who married Thomas Onslow

The Onslow family have lived at Clandon Park since 1641. Their political fortunes continued to grow as did the house around them.

The Onslow family at Clandon (part 2)

William Hillier Onslow photographed at Government House, New Zealand © Hinemihi Collection

William Hillier Onslow photographed at Government House, New Zealand

Clandon suffered great neglect followed by restoration to its glorious past. All was well until war came to Britain.

The Onslow Speakers

Arthur Onslow pictured with then Prime Minister Robert Walpole © NTPL/John Hammond

Arthur Onslow pictured with then Prime Minister Robert Walpole

The Onslow family have provided three speakers for the House of Commons including Arthur Onslow, known as The Great Speaker.

The First World War

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Clandon Park and us

Clandon is now home to a superb collection of porcelain and furniture

Clandon is now home to a superb collection of porcelain and furniture

Since Sir Richard Onslow acquired it, the estate has been passed down through generations of Onslows but by the mid 20th century the house was beginning to suffer due to lack of investment. Lady Iveagh, the 6th Earl of Onslow’s Aunt, bought Clandon Park from her nephew and gave it to us in 1956. She wrote, ‘It is with the deepest satisfaction that I can now feel that my old home is safe for the future’.

Did you know?

  • The money of plantation heiress Elizabeth Knight helped revive Clandon
  • On 27 May 1729 Frederick, Prince of Wales came to dine here
  • The Onslow family has provided three Speakers for the House of Commons
  • The 4th Earl of Onslow was appointed Governor of New Zealand in 1888
  • He brought home a Maori meeting house to Clandon in 1892
  • During the First World War Clandon was used as a military hospital
  • In World War Two it became an archive for the Public Records Office

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