A history of Cedars House the community hub of the village today
As we celebrate national history month this May, we thought we take a look back at the Grade II mansion house which is the hub of Cedars Village, and see how it has served the community through the ages.
Formally the home of Earl Russell and, built near a church, the mansion house was part of the originally Chorleywood Estate comprising over 600 acres including common land and wooded areas. The house has always had beautiful gardens and green spaces around it. There were some stables for horses and the land was used for hunting in the 1800s. But the house was advertised for sale in 1861.
It was purchased by John Saunders Gilliat who was a member of parliament at the time. He made extensive changes to the property but never actually lived there due to his parliamentary commitments in London. He passed the house on to his son, J.B Gilliant after he died who sold it in 1917 to James Henley Batty.
Batty’s wife Violet did not like the house and they moved away. The Cedar House and about 50 acres of land were then gifted to the National Institute of the Blind and it became a school for girls. The remaining parts of the estate were sold to the Metropolitan Railway and the development of the Chorleywood began.
For 60 years the renowned school helped girls with impaired vision until it was amalgamated into the boy’s school at Worcester in 1987. Miss Phyllis Monk, who was the first headmistress, when the school opened helped many of the girls achieve ambitions such as going to university and some of the girls went on into teaching themselves. Some of the previous teachers and students, with their dogs, have even returned to the school in recent years and enjoyed a tour of the house as it is today.
After this it was purchased by Retirement Villages and its development into the retirement community it is today began. The house itself remains at the centre of all activities in the village. The community's restaurant and snooker room plus library are all located within its walls.
Colin Foulger, Village Manager, has been invited to speak about the house and its history on regular occasions. Colin comments, “Cedars has a rich history serving the community locally and providing welling being to those who have lived here. I’m proud that we continue to do so today.”