Greys Court
Greys Court is a Tudor country house and associated gardens, located at grid reference SU725834 , at the southern end of the Chiltern Hills at Rotherfield Greys, near Henley-on-Thames in the English county of Oxfordshire. It is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public. The name derives from an old connection to the Grey family, descendants of the Norman knight Anchetil de Greye. The estate or manor of Rotherfield Greys upon which Greys Court is situated is specifically mentioned in the Domesday Book. The mainly Tudor style house has a beautiful courtyard and gardens. The walled gardens are full of old-fashioned roses and wisteria, an ornamental vegetable garden, maze (laid to grass with brick paths, dedicated by Archbishop Robert Runcie on 12 October 1981) and ice house. Within the gardens is a medieval fortified tower of 1347, the only remains of the previous castle, giving extensive views of the gardens and surrounding countryside. Also to be found within the gardens is a Tudor wheelhouse, where a donkey operated a treadmill to haul water from a well. The house itself has an interesting history, and the interior, with some outstanding 18th-century plasterwork, is still furnished as a family home. Greys Court was for a time owned by Sir Francis Knollys, treasurer to Elizabeth I, and jailer of Mary, Queen of Scots. In 1937 the house was bought by Sir Felix Brunner (1897- 1982) and his wife Lady Elizabeth Brunner, the grand-daughter of the Victorian era actor-manager Henry Irving. In 1969 they donated the property to the National Trust, with the family continuing to live in the house until the death of Lady Brunner in 2003.