Fan Court

Engraving of Colonel Onslow’s Lodge at Try Hill, near Chertsey, Surrey 1777. Original work by Paul Sandby and engraved by M.A.Rooker.

Fan Court started out as a keeper’s lodge in Windsor Forest. By 1770, there is evidence that a family by the name of Troy had been living there for more than 100 years as drivers of the deer on Fangrove Walk. The lodge is referred to as Troy’s Lodge or the Old Lodge on Troy’s Hill.

In 1770, George Onslow of Ockham, outranger for the estate, claimed that the lodge and estate fences were out of repair and offered William Troy £150 to relinquish his claim to the lodge. This offer was accepted, and so the lodge and estate transferred to the Onslow family of Clandon Park. The extent of the claim was: 2 messuages, 2 cottages, 2 barns, stables, gardens and orchards and 80 acres of meadow, pasture, common and woods.

The Onslow family renovated the lodge, giving it a gothic style façade and converted the surrounding fields into a small park. Ownership of the estate passed to Colonel Harrington b 1780, and in January 1813 the lease was bought from the Crown by Herbert Taylor when he was only 37 years of age. He was private secretary to Queen Charlotte (until her death in 1819) and probably wanted to live near Windsor as it was convenient for this work. Colonel (later General) Taylor commissioned W.F. Pocock to rebuild the lodge into a much larger residence and in 1825 General Taylor sold Fan Grove Lodge to Eades Summers Esq, for £10,000.

Eades Summers died in 1844, bequeathing most of the estate to his widow, although she did not reside there alone for long, preferring instead to travel on the Continent and later taking up residence in Florence. In 1850 the estate was let to Richard Napier, a retired barrister, and in 1855 the tenant was Mr Charles Mclean of Fleet Street. His occupation solicited this comment from Mrs Summers “I am glad the estate has at last found a tenant, although I would prefer it were someone a little more aristocratic than a plate glass manufacturer…”. The house had three living rooms, nine bedrooms and was built of brick and stuccoed. The estate, by this period, had expanded to cover 97 acres.

Eventually, by 1860, the estate was sold to a retired barrister, David Innes Noad. He changed its name to Fan Court. Mr Noad mortgaged Fan Court heavily, and around 1877 it was purchased by William Tarn of Southwark, who had been in business as a Linen draper. He altered the interior of the house and built the present lodge on the Longcross Road. Sir Walter Hughes appears to have lived there subsequently as he is buried in Longcross churchyard with the inscription “Sir Walter Hughes of Fan Court who died in 1887”. In the same year Fan Court was purchased by its last private owner, Mr Edward Stern, who in 1899 added Hersham Farm and, in 1914, Trumps Farm to the estate.

Edward Stern was the youngest son of Viscount de Stern of Portugal. He was a director of Stern Brothers, the merchant bankers, and of the Midland Bank. At Fan Court he indulged his lifelong hobby of coaching. He encouraged all outdoor sports in the area, holding honorary positions in local clubs such as the Swimming Club. He donated Alwyns Lane Sports Ground to Chertsey (opened in 1931), as well as the recreation ground behind Sir William Perkins’ School. His greatest local interest was the Chertsey Agricultural Association. The annual show was always held on his estate and he competed himself in some of the events. He was making plans for the centenary show in 1933 when he died aged 79.

On his death Fan Court was sold – the mansion and 28 acres were bought by Rear Admiral E. Cayley and Mrs Violet Hay who launched a Christian Science preparatory school there. The house has more recently been converted into offices.

References:

Notes by Stratton, H.J.M., ‘Fan Court’.