Welcome to the Worldwide Greathead family my One-Name Study - Greathed Manor, Ford Manor Road, Dormansland, Lingfield
Greathed Manor, Ford Manor Road, Dormansland, Lingfield RH7 6PA


Greathed Manor is a Grade II listed Stately Manor with 5 acres of beautiful landscaped gardens that provide an idyllic environment for our nursing residents. The house is situated in Dormansland on the borders of Surrey, Kent and West Sussex. The Manor’s illustrious history can be traced back to 1816, but it was only between the world wars that that the Estate came to prominence. It was at this time that the Royal family, including the then Princess Elizabeth, would come to stay at Greathed, joining for tennis parties and picnics. During war time it served as a Hospital for service men.


Originally named Ford Manor, the property was bought in 1860 by Josiah Spender Clay, one of the founders of Bass Brewery. He commissioned Robert Kerr (author of The English Gentleman’s House or how to plan English residences from the parsonage to the palace) to design the present house which was completed in 1868. Pevsner described it as “A rock-hard stone pile ...... with a long front which seems certain to contain one of everything, starting with a tower at one end, ending with a French pavilion roof at the other, and with Dutch and English gables in between”.

Greathed Manor, Dormansland, Surrey





The Estate passed to his son, Col Herbert (Bertie) Spender-Clay, who was for many years Conservative MP for Tunbridge Wells. He married Pauline Astor, daughter of the first Baron Astor, who moved from America to England and bought both Cliveden and Hever Castle. Their two daughters, Phyllis and Rachel, were brought up at Ford in a large and cheerful household well described by their cousin-by-marriage, Joyce Grenfell in her autobiography (Joyce Grenfell Requests the Pleasure). Guests included Nancy Astor, the first woman to take a seat in the House of Commons, and many of the leading politicians of the day. Phyllis married a diplomat, Sir Philip Nichols, and Rachel married Sir David Bowes-Lyon, brother of the late Queen Mother.


During the First World War the house was used as a convalescent home for American officers; during the Second it was taken over by the Canadian army. In 1946 it was leased to the School of Divinity, London University, whose principal was Dr Donald Coggan who subsequently became of Canterbury. In 1959 the house was let on a long lease to Mutual Households (subsequently Country Houses Association) who converted it into 22 retirement apartments. The CHA changed the name of the house to Greathed Manor in memory of their founder, Rear Admiral Greathed.


The property’s planning history dates back to 1957. Planning permission was granted subject to conditions for the use of ‘Ford Manor’ (now Greathed Manor) for the purpose of a religious community (society of brothers). In 1959 planning permission was given for alterations to the house, converting it to form smaller residential units, substantially in the current layout.  Subsequent permissions mainly relate to listed building consent for amalgamation of apartments and minor alterations.




To the west of the House is an attractive oval-shaped sunken formal garden, dating from the early 20th century, the design of which is attributed to Harold Peto. Stepped terraces and flower beds surround an oval pool set in decorative paving. Beneath the south façade of the house is a broad terrace with views over the park and woodland beyond. 


Sources of Information:

http://www.humberts-leisure.com/uploads/media/Greathed_Manor_-_full_final_particulars.pdf also shows floor plans (three floors and basement)