The Rendel family at Hatchlands Park

Lord Rendel at Hatchlands Park

Lord Rendel bought Hatchlands Park from the Sumner family in 1888, he made many changes to the house and gardens and his family continued to live here until the late 1950s.

Hatchlands under new management

Stuart Rendel was born in 1834, son of a distinguished engineer. He was educated at Eton and Oxford, qualified as a barrister in 1861 going on to become a managing partner of engineering firm Armstrong Whitworth & Co.
 
He also had political interests, serving as a Liberal Member of Parliament for Montgomeryshire from 1880 until 1894 when he was elevated to the peerage as Lord Rendel of Hatchlands. Rendel’s personal and political correspondence shows that, even as a quiet family man, his opinion was valued on a range of important matters.
Lord Rendel as a young man
Lord Rendel as a young man

Friends in high places

Perhaps Rendel’s strongest relationship was with one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers, William Gladstone, on whose recommendation he became a peer. He once wrote, ‘my intimacy with Mr Gladstone will be probably the feature of my life that may longest survive obliteration.’

Lord Rendel with friend WE Gladstone
Lord Rendel with friend WE Gladstone

Their friendship was also entwined in family alliances. Rendel confessed, ‘I do not know how Mr and Mrs Gladstone came to be so often my guests. I think it was because Mrs Gladstone desired to promote the friendly relations of her children and mine’. It seems that Mrs Gladstone’s maternal motives were a success, as Rendel’s daughter Maud eventually married Gladstone’s son Herbert.

 

Lord Rendel at Hatchlands

During his ownership of Hatchlands Lord Rendel made big changes. He constructed a new entrance on the east side, converting what had originally been Admiral Boscawen’s bedroom and dressing room into a dining room and entrance hall. In 1900 he asked influential garden designer Gertrude Jekyll to submit designs for a formal garden that is still here today. Then, in 1902, he commissioned Sir Reginald Blomfield to design a music room.
 
 

The family tree branches out

The Rendel family outside Hatchlands Park
The Rendel family outside Hatchlands Park

The Rendels had four daughters but no sons. Their eldest daughter Rose Ellen married Harry Goodhart, a Cambridge don and it was their son Harry Stuart who would continue the family’s presence at Hatchlands Park.

 

Harry Stuart Goodhart-Rendel

‘Hal’ was born in Cambridge in 1887. He studied music at Cambridge but became involved in architecture and he practised as an architect from 1910. Hal inherited Hatchlands Park from his grandfather in 1913 having added the name Rendel to his own as a condition of the inheritance.
Hal Goodhart-Rendel at Hatchlands Park
Hal Goodhart-Rendel at Hatchlands Park

He did little to change the main house but used his architectural skills to design the new stable block and the two lodges at the entrance to the park. He is also responsible for the addition of the stone temple to the garden; the inscription it bears is to his mother. Hal gave Hatchlands to us in 1945 but stayed here until 1959.