General Goulburn

When Brockham was a part of the parish of Betchworth the owners of the estate were very influential within Brockham. The Goulburn family lived in Betchworth House by the Mole and are buried in Betchworth churchyard with a memorial inside the church.

The manor of Betchworth has changed hands only twice by purchase since Domesday. In 1634 it was purchased by Sir Ralph Freeman whose descendants sold it in 1816 to the Rt. Hon. Henry Goulburn, Chancellor of the Exchequer. Betchworth House is currently the home of Corinna, The Lady Hamilton. Major Henry Goulburn (1858 - 1928) served for twenty years in the Grenadier Guards and was present at the battle of Omdurman. He served under Lord Kitchener in the Khartoum campaign of 1898, gaining the Egyptian and Queen's medals.

In the 1890's the house was let to Louisa, Countess of Essex. Later Henry Goulburn went to live in Fryleigh Cottages, giving up Betchworth House to his brother (and heir) Brig. Gen. Cuthbert Goulburn D.S.O. (1860 - 1944) and his wife Grace (1875 - 1951) daughter of W.H. Foster of Apley Park, Shropshire. There were two sons, Edward (1903 - 1980) and Cuthbert (1906 - 1990) and a daughter Nancy (1904 - 1933). In the early days of the 20th Century the extensive gardens were very well maintained. The enormous lawns were cut by mowers drawn by ponies wearing leather shields over their hooves, and there were large glasshouses growing grapes and every kind of hothouse fruit.

In 1947 Maj. Gen. E. H. Goulburn D.S.O., always referred to as The General, retired from the Grenadier Guards and returned to Betchworth House. He remained a bachelor living alone in a big house with few modern conveniences but he played an active part in village life, being the principal landowner, and a District Councillor. The General's cousin, The Hon. James Hamilton, later Lord Hamilton of Dalzell (1941 - 2006), inherited the Betchworth Estate. He was the great grandson of Henrietta Ricardo (nee Goulburn) the General's aunt. With his wife Corinna he came to live in Gadbrook Old Farm in 1973 and thence to The Old House in 1978, by which time the family had grown to include four sons. After the death of The General, Betchworth House was in dire need of modernisation and restoration if it was to survive into the next century. In close consultation with architect Professor William Whitfield of Whitfield Partners, the building was restored to the way it had appeared prior to the alterations of 1813. A new kitchen was built in the main block with bedrooms for the children above. The front door was relocated to its original position on the north side of the house and a new driveway was constructed onto Church Street. The domestic wing was divided into two maisonettes, whilst the old Georgian kitchen became a recreation room. The Repton-esque Lodge accommodated the other housekeeper.

In 1993 the stable block was restored and included a room to house those family archives that were not already in the Surrey Records Office and 1998/9 saw the construction of The Orangery, designed and supervised by Sir William Whitfield and his assistant partner Andrew Lockwood. This fine addition also serves as summerhouse and changing rooms for the swimming pool.