Text by Mark Harvey, House Steward
In 1913 the estate had been inherited by Hal Goodhart-Rendel, the last private owner of Hatchlands. Hal held a commission in the Grenadier Guards, but did not see active service due to his poor health. He suffered from terrible asthma, but smoked strong Turkish cigarettes for most of his life. However, Hal remained an important part of the regiment for the rest of his life, coming out of retirement in the Second World War to train younger recruits and rewrite the Grenadiers’ Squad Drill Primer book.
The Great War of course also had an impact on the neighbouring village of East Clandon. Out of a population of just over 300 people, 80 men from the village served throughout the war, including Hal Goodhart-Rendel. The War Memorial, designed by Hal and erected in 1922, still standing in the village today, shows us that 14 of these men were killed in action.
Hatchlands itself was put to use as an auxiliary hospital and in 1917 provided 14 beds for other ranks (not officers). The hospital was registered as ‘Convalescent cases only’ so probably provided little or no actual nursing care to recovering patients referred from the much larger Guildford War Hospital.
Despite Hal not seeing active service, Hatchlands did supply several of its own war heroes…
Roland Stuart Hebeler was Lord Rendel’s nephew and land agent, and lived at Dene Place in West Horsley which was built for him to a design by Hal Goodhart-Rendel. Roland served as a Captain in the Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment. Captain Hebeler died of his wounds in France in 1915, and today you can see a stained glass window dedicated to his memory in the church in the neighbouring village of East Clandon.
Francis Grenfell was born here in 1880 while his family were tenants of the Sumners, who still owned Hatchlands but could no longer afford its upkeep. He and his twin brother Riversdale both served in the war. Francis is one of only two men from the Guildford area to have been awarded the Victoria Cross for his bravery. A monument to Captain Grenfell was unveiled in Guildford town centre in summer 2014.
Beatrice Holme Sumner was also born at Hatchlands, as her parents were the last generation of Sumners to own the estate. ‘Beatie’ as she was best known, was involved in a great scandal in her youth, but went on to the run a naval training ship Mercury. During the war, Mercury under Beatie’s management increased their intake by 50% to train new recruits, reducing the training time by up to three months. Beatie was awarded an OBE in 1918 in recognition of her services.
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For more information about Hatchlands Park please visit the National Trust website.