There have been four buildings called Tottenham House on this site on the southern edge of Savernake Forest. The present palladian mansion was built in 1820.

The previous building, made of brick, was built by Lord Bruce in 1742, and designed by his brother-in-law the famous architect Lord Burlington.

When a subsequent Lord Bruce was created 1st Marquess of Ailesbury in 1820, he asked the architect Thomas Cundy to design a hugely bigger mansion, which was largely accomplished by building a much larger structure around the old Burlington house and covering the old bricks with blocks of Bath stone. In 1870 two large symmetrical wings were added. Tottenham House is a Grade 1 Listed Building.

Facing Tottenham House, on a hilltop, is the Ailesbury Column, erected in the 1770s to commemorate the restoration “to perfect health from a long and afflicting disorder” of his majesty King George III.

The family lived at Tottenham House until 1940, when they started to share it with the officers of the large US Army contingent based in Savernake Forest in preparation for D-Day. After the War ended, the family moved out to a smaller house on the Estate, and Tottenham House was then leased to Hawtreys boys school, until that school gave way to local difficulties and joined up with Cheam in 1994. Since then the House has been leased to the Amber Foundation, a registered charity for unemployed young people.

In 2002 the Earl of Cardigan announced that he had signed a deal with the Buena Vista Hospitality Group of Tampa, Florida, to turn Tottenham House into a Luxury Resort Hotel. A Planning Application for that was lodged in September 2004, and Full Planning Permission was granted to the project in July 2006. The completed project – which will take nearly 3 years to build – will have some 200 bedrooms, a Golfcourse, a state-of-the-art Conference Centre, and a luxury Spa.


  • Mr Peter A Edge-Partington, April 28, 2024 @ 22:02

    I lived in the stable block for a couple of years, about ’77 to ’80. Its a tragedy how far it fallen. Amazing buildings, amazing place.

  • exploringwithdragon, October 15, 2016 @ 15:12

    Wow. Good pics mate! I’ve been there about 7 times and got past the guards a couple of time to get into the mansion. Very much worth the trip from Newbury. The ceilings are stunning! I’m going back there tomorrow to get some photos as all I have got from that pkace is about 3 hours worth of footage.

  • tumbles, February 21, 2011 @ 14:27

    Wow nice find 🙂

  • music fan, February 21, 2011 @ 13:54

    Tottenham House was used as the setting for a Gary Barlow song back in the nineties…

  • Will Liddell, September 28, 2010 @ 18:31

    I was also at school there 1966 to 1974. Hello Martin and hello Mr McCrae (one of the best teachers I ever had)! I often tell my children stories about the adventures we had in the pleasury and the deer park as well as the various secret places around the building. The school was a tough regime, but I remember the buildings and grounds with great fondness.

  • Bruce McCrae, October 14, 2009 @ 10:24

    I taught here from 1968 until 1994. It is tragic how this building and the grounds have been allowed to decay beyond redemption. During the time that the school occupied the place, everything was maintained to the highest standard, inside & out. By the way, Hawtreys never went bankrupt but gave way to local difficulties and joined up with Cheam.

  • Martin Goodman, October 13, 2009 @ 12:19

    I went to school here between 1966 to 1971. Evokes a lot of memories – very sad to see it in such a dilapidated state. Thank you so much for the insight

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