About Heythrop Park Resort
440 acres of opportunity
The history of Heythrop Park
The Grade II listed Heythrop Park was built between 1707 and 1710. Its size and character bear the stamp of the man who built it – Charles Talbot – the 12th Earl and 1st Duke of Shrewsbury.
Charles bought the Manor of Heythrop in 1697 and lived in the Manor House which was at that time in Heythrop Village. He commissioned the architect Thomas Archer to design a house at Heythrop in Roman Style.
Archer, known as the Gentleman architect, had been an assistant to the great Vanburgh, who was responsible for the building of Blenheim Palace only a few miles away. This may account for some of the similarities between the two properties, as Heythrop is built on a very similar plan to Blenheim – right down to the similar Italian gardens on either side of the garden front.
Heythrop through the generations
A great house was created, but the Duke of Shrewsbury died in 1718, very shortly after its completion.
He died childlessly, and when the Dukedom became extinct, the ancient Earldom reverted to his cousin Gilbert Talbot. Gilbert succeeded to the Heythrop property and its then-5000 acres and became the only Earl to ever live regularly at Heythrop Park.
It was Gilbert who developed the interiors, spending £5000 – a huge sum at that time – decorating the drawing room. Thereafter, Heythrop Park passed through various generations of the Talbot family until a fire swept through the house in 1831, destroying much of the interior.
Rebuilt by the Brasseys
After the fire, the house remained derelict until it was sold in 1870 to the Railway Contractor Thomas Brassey, as a wedding present for his third son Albert.
Brassey commissioned Alfred Waterhouse to rebuild the interior, and the Brassey Family went on to live at Heythrop in style.
In 1922 though, the Provincial of the English Jesuit bought the house, along with 440 acres of land. They added to the house in 1924, and also built Talbot Hall, to provide a second chapel as well as further study bedrooms and classrooms.
In 1969, the Jesuits moved their seminary to London (still called Heythrop College) and sold Heythrop Park to NatWest Bank for use as a training college and conference centre.
One final remnant of the Jesuits ownership of Heythrop is the small cemetery situated on the first tee of the golf course – a spot that is still visited annually by the Jesuits.
Restored to former glories
All staterooms and bedrooms in the manor house were refurbished to form a series of grand lounges and meeting rooms, as well as 17 luxury bedrooms. Then came renovation of the public areas and 160 further bedrooms.
In 2009, the Health Club and Spa opened alongside the championship 18-hole golf course, as part of a £50 million redevelopment program. A year later, Oxfordshire’s only Crowne Plaza Hotel opened at Heythrop – the first Crowne Plaza in the world to be built outside of a city centre or airport location.
After 18 years operating under The Firoka Group, Heythrop Park Resort has been sold to Warner Leisure Hotels as part of the expansion of their nationwide portfolio.
It takes its place proudly alongside the existing Manor House, to epitomise what Heythrop Park is all about. A resort where old meets new – where 18th-century elegance meets 21st-century style.