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History of Ramster Hall

The oldest part of the house dates from the early 17th century, when it was built by a wealthy glass maker, Chiddingfold (Surrey), then the centre of the glass-making industry in England.

It was constructed as a timber-framed, central chimney house with close studding. Even then, it was an important house for its time, with two parlours, an upstairs and service rooms. With the decline of the glass-making industry, it became a farm, and the Long Hall was built at the end of the 17th century as a five-bay barn opening onto the farmyard, now the Courtyard.

Rams Nest, as it was then called, continued a peaceful farming existence with the house being variously modernised and updated over the centuries, until in 1900, it was bought by Sir Harry Waechter, who converted the farmhouse into an Edwardian country house, suitable for a gentleman of the period. He changed the barn into the present magnificent beamed and panelled hall, built the Great Drawing Room and the Brick Hall, and added the tower for good measure.

Ramster Estate in Surrey

History of Ramster Garden

Sir Harry Waechter laid the foundations of the present garden; he created them out of the oak woodland. He was helped by the well-known nurseries Gauntletts of Chiddingfold, whose nursery adjoined the garden.   Gauntlets were famous for their interest in Japanese plants and ornaments, and the Japanese influence is still maintained in the garden today.   The stone lanterns, the cranes, now happily feeding in the pond, the clumps of bamboo, the masses of evergreen azaleas, and the avenue of maples are typical of the Japanese-style features used in the gardens they designed.

In 1922, the property was bought by Sir Henry and Lady Norman. She was the daughter of Lord and Lady Aberconway and granddaughter of Henry Pochin, who started the famous gardens at Bodnant in 1875. A very keen horticulturalist like her mother and grandfather, she greatly added to the garden at Ramster Hall, introducing many of the Rhododendrons and Azaleas for which it is famous today. Some of them were grown from seed brought back by the great plant collectors, and others were the result of her own crosses.

In 1927, the garden was first opened for the National Gardens Scheme and remains one of the few original gardens which are still open. Sir Henry Norman was a Liberal MP, cabinet minister, writer, explorer and amateur scientist. He was greatly involved in the introduction of wireless telegraphy, and he conducted experiments in the garden. Many of his artefacts from his many explorations are in the halls today.

Historic image of Ramster Hall and Garden

Recent History

In 2005, Ramster was passed onto the fourth generation, Malcolm and Rosie Glaister, from Rosie’s parents, Paul and Miranda Gunn.  Paul is the son of Sir James Gunn and, like him, an artist.  The portraits in the Great Drawing Room by James Gunn are of Hilaire Belloc, James Pryde, Pauline, and Paul’s mother with the children.  There is a self-portrait of James Gunn in the Long Hall.

Rosie Glaister of Ramster Hall and Garden
Ramster Garden avenue of acers

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Come and explore our beautiful gardens. 

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