Wivenhoe House

Now part of the University of Essex

Wivenhoe House, now part of the University of Essex
Wivenhoe House and the Edge Hotel School with 40 bedrooms which was added in 2012
Photo by Tony Forsgate
The Cork Oak at Wivenhoe Park probably planted over 100 years ago.
Photo by Tony Forsgate

Wivenhoe House’s history began in 1759 when Isaac Rebow asked Thomas Reynolds to build the grade II-listed house.

This was the same General Rebow who returned from the Peninsular Wars with two cork oak cuttings in his boots. Today, those two oak trees stand tall and proud within the grounds.

When General Rebow died in 1845 the estate passed to his son-in-law, future English Liberal Party MP John Gurdon Rebow. He commissioned the architect Thomas Hopper to remodel the House in 1846, and William Andrews Nesfield to advise on the relocation of the coach roads and entrances and to advise on the planting of the park and the flower garden.[4]

John Gurdon Rebow died in 1870 and passed the estate to his son Hector Gurdon Rebow, during whose ownership Wivenhoe House survived England’s worst-ever earthquake in 1884. The estate was sold to Charles Edmund Gooch in 1902, and whilst within this family the house was requisitioned by the War Department during the two major conflicts of the 20th century. In World War II, the tank regiments stationed here scared off the fallow deer. The house once also served as the headquarters of the SAS.

C E Gooch’s son, Charles Michael Gooch, sold Wivenhoe Park including Wivenhoe House to the University of Essex in 1964 under whose ownership it remains today. The University operated Wivenhoe House as a hotel, and added an extension between 1986-88 by local architect Bryan Thomas.

This page was added on 15/03/2015.

Comments about this page

  • The house only became known as ‘Wivenhoe House’ when the much expanded estate was purchased from the Gooch family in 1962 to form the grounds of the university in the early nineteen sixties. This is not to be confused with the Wivenhoe House Estate in lower Wivenhoe. See: https://www.wivenhoehistory.org.uk/content/category/topics/:places-buildings/wivenhoe-house-estate

    By Pat Marsden (04/06/2020)
  • Having lived in Wivenhoe all my life – from 1929- I cannot recall Wivenhoe House being a hospital during WW2. The first regiment stationed there was the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, some of whom lived under canvas initially. They were followed by another Tank Regiment. My sister married one of the soldiers from this regiment after the war. They were followed by a Czech regiment and finally by the 2nd SAS who had a habit of disappearing from time to time – we later discovered that they had parachuted into France to carry out raids behind German lines.

    By Tony Forsgate (05/04/2015)
  • I believe Wivenhoe House appears, under another name, as a military hospital in WW2 in Anthony Powell’s A Dance to the Music of Time. I would like to be more precise, but I do not have a copy handy.

    By Doug Fisher (02/04/2015)

Add a comment about this page

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *