CASTLE HILL, when being sold in 1863 on the death of the owner Admiral John Sykes, was described in the sales brochure as being placed on a plateau, high, dry and healthy in the centre of a neighbourhood filled with the best Society…”  At that time the estate extended from the “Green” (Englefield Green) to Wick Lane, a total of 108 acres.

The house was built between 1758 and 1763, in the new “Gothic” style for Sir John Elwell, M.P. who died in 1778. It was then called “Elvill’s”. Frederic Turner, in his book on the history of Egham described the style as “embattled” which probably explains why its name was later changed to “Castle Hill” 

Sir John Elwell’s elder daughter, Selina married Peter Bathurst, first Lord Ranelagh. Their family name was later changed by Royal licence to Bathurst-Hervey. Lady Ranelagh’s second husband was Sir William Henry Freemantle, M.P., who earned a mention in the Dictionary of National Biography. He acted as Lord of the Manor for H.M. King William in 1835 and was Deputy Ranger of Windsor Great Park for many years until his death in1850.  The eldest son of Selina, Lady Ranelagh’s first husband, Felton Hervey-Bathurst, had a distinguished military career, acting as Aid de Camp to the Prince Regent, Military Secretary to the Duke of Wellington and at his side during the Battle of Waterloo. He signed “The Convention of Paris” on the authority of the Duke in 1815.  Selina, Lady Ranelagh, held the estate until her death in 1841.

The house had various owners between the death of Admiral Sykes and the 1990s when it was purchased, enlarged and refurbished (retaining its “embattled” style) by the Ugland Marine Insurance Company. It is now owned by a foreign Royal family. The grounds have been reduced to 33 acres, but the house is still the most beautiful in Englefield Green.


1.          Particulars and conditions of sale of a freehold estate…1863. 108 acres, the residence and property of Admiral Sykes, deceased. To be sold as one lot or if not sold to be offered in 4 lots

Lot 1.  The Mansion, including The Pleasure Grounds & Flower gardens, about 44 acres

Lot 2.  The portion towards Bishopgate, about 43 acres, valuable building ground.

Lot 3.  The middle portion about 20 acres

Lot 4.  One acre South of Lot 1 (detached).  Plan of the Castle Hill Estate

2.          North East view of Sir John Elvill’s house on Englefield Green near Egham in Surry. Engraving.  Paul Sandby. 1773. (Paul Sandby lived for some years with his brother Thomas who was Deputy Warden of Windsor Great Park)

3.          The seat of Sir John Elvill Bart at Englefield Green in Surry. Engraving.  J. Malton. 1784

4.           A copy of a painting of the house in 1822 by the water colourist John Hassell (1767-1825).   Signed and dated in pencil.

5.          Elwell and Hervey-Bathurst family tree. (From Turner, F.  “Egham, Surrey: a history of the Parish under Church and Crown”. 1926) 




Joan Wintour

July 2012



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