The Royal Navy of the eighteenth century gave early indications of revolutionary social changes to come. Since the reforms brought about by the great naval administrator Samuel Pepys in 1677, young men joining the navy had to serve for minimum periods of time, and pass examinations, before they could expect promotion. The navy was an early meritocracy, which goes a long way to explaining its success. Robert Boscawen was born into a relatively distinguished Cornwall family, but he had to serve his time and pass his exams like everyone else. He joined the Royal Navy at age twelve in 1726, was made a lieutenant in 1732 after six years, and a captain in 1742 at the age of thirty one. By 1747 Boscawen was an admiral.
In 1758 Boscawen took part in the Battle of Louisberg, the action for which he is best remembered. This victory allowed General Wolfe to continue up the St Lawrence and take Quebec.
In Patrick O'Brians' Master and Commander, Captain Aubrey tells his crew not to dwell on returning home to England, since their ship is England. This seemed true of Boscawen who spent little time at home. With the spoils of his victories he had Hatchlands built near Guildford, but it was only just finished when he died there of a fever in 1761 aged fifty.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century a park landscape was laid out by Humphrey Repton. This was done for the Sumner family, to whom Boscawen's widow Fanny sold Hatchlands. The subsequent owners, the Rendells, hired Gertrude Jekyll to design the formal garden close to the house.
Hatchlands is now owned by the National Trust. Displays illustrate the life of Boscawen, and other owners of the estate. There is a restaurant and a shop. Dogs can be walked in the parkland.
Formal Garden by Gertrude Jekyll
Opening Times: Opening hours for National Trust properties can be complex. Please use contact details below.
Address: Hatchlands Park, East Clandon, Surrey GU4 7RT
Directions: Hatchlands is off the A246, east of Guildford. Click here for an interactive map centred on Hatchlands Park.
Access: All rooms open to visitors are wheelchair accessible. Three wheelchairs are available for visitor use. Grounds are partly accessible. Adapted toilet facilities can be found in the courtyard. Braille and large print guides are provided.
telephone: 01483 222482