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The Manor

History, Tradition, Heritage.

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Violet Van der Elst

Violet Van der Elst

Mrs. VanderElst was known nationally for her campaign against capital punishment in Britain.

Residents and Owners

Who has lived at Harlaxton Manor?

1832 Building the Manor begins.
1851 Gregory Gregory moves to his new home from Hungerton Hall; fourteen servants also live in the Manor (Census records of 1851).
1854 Gregory dies in June; the Manor reverts to the family line of succession, passing to an elderly cousin called George Gregory, who likely never lived at the Manor.
1860 George Gregory dies; John Sherwin, family solicitor and very distant relative inherits despite Gregory Gregory’s attempts to prevent this; Sherwin takes the Gregory name, becoming John Sherwin Gregory.
1869 John Sherwin Gregory dies, leaving his wife, Catherine living at Harlaxton Manor; Catherine supports the local school and church.
1892 Catherine Sherwin Gregory dies; the named heir is their godson, Thomas Sherwin Gregory, a widower, well known cricketer, sportsman, and civic leader (he supports the Grantham Hospital); in his time, a World War I trench warfare school was carried out in the Manor grounds.
1935 Pearson Gregory dies in November; for the first time, there is a direct heir, Pearson Gregory’s only son, Philip Pearson Gregory, himself a widower with four children.
1937 Philip Pearson Gregory remarries in January, deciding not to live at Harlaxton Manor; house contents, village houses, woodlands, and tracts of agricultural lands sold at auctions.
1937 Following an advertisement of the Manor’s imminent demolition, the house is purchased by entrepreneur and social campaigner, Violet Van der Els.t
1937-39 Mrs. Van der Elst spends a fortune renovating, modernizing, and furnishing the Manor, only to be confronted with the beginning of World War II.
1942-43 1st Battalion of the British Airborne Division in residence at the Manor.
1948 Mrs. Van der Elst auctions interior contents, and sells the house and 500 acres to The Society of Jesus (Jesuits) for use as a novice center.
1949-50 Jesuits make necessary renovations, including placing the Refectory and kitchens in present locations; first novice class arrives, along with retired priests who live in the State Rooms.
1950-65 Jesuits occupy the Manor for two separate time periods, leaving the Manor in the hands of a caretaker for extended years.
1966 Manor leased by the Jesuits to the new overseas study program of Stanford University, California.
1970 Manor sub-leased by the University of Evansville for President Wallace Graves’ plan for an overseas study center.
1971 First class of University of Evansville students arrive at Harlaxton.
1978 University of Evansville trustee, Dr. William Ridgway, secures the Manor for continued use by UE, purchasing the Manor and leasing back to the University; Dr. Ridgway makes an outright gift of the Manor in 1986.
1972-present Harlaxton College welcomes thousands of students and faculty from UE and a variety of Partner Colleges.