The present Harrowden Hall was built in 1719 by Thomas Watson Wentworth, a son of Lord Rockingham, but there has been a house on this site since the 15th century.

For much of the time it has been the home of the Vaux family who were created barons by Henry VIII in 1523.

In 1975 it was bought by Wellingborough Golf Club to be its new Clubhouse after it had been saved from almost certain demolition by Mr. A.J. Macdonald Buchanan.

Family Owners

The Vaux family owned the Hall until 1695 when they sold it to Thomas Watson Wentworth, a son of Lord Rockingham of Rockingham Castle.

Two centuries later, the 7th Lord Vaux was able to buy back the Hall. He left the estate virtually untouched apart from a chapel he had built in the grounds. Lord Vaux died in 1935 and his daughter became Baroness Vaux of Harrowden. She was married to William Gordon Gilbey, the owner of a wine and spirits group.

On her death in 1958 the ownership passed to her eldest son, Father Gabriel Gilbey, a Benedictine monk. In 1962 he took his seat in the House of Lords as the 9th Lord Vaux, the first Benedictine monk to do so since 1559.

Royal Visitors

Sir Nicholas Vaux, a man "of a generous, liberal and festive disposition, and equally fitted for the camp or the court", entertained King Henry VIII at Harrowden Hall.

During the Civil War, Charles I came frequently to Harrowden to play bowls with the then Lord Vaux. "A quaint old summer house" (gazebo) close to the bowling green is where he and his courtiers used to refresh themselves after their games." The restored summer house now stands proudly in the middle of the first fairway.

In 1876, a girls' school was established here. Probably the most celebrated of the pupils was Princess Kaiulani of Hawaii, who was being groomed for a royal future but died tragically at the age of twenty three.