About Us & History


Benington's known history goes back to Saxon times when it was a fortified site used by the kings of Mercia. 

After the Norman conquest William the first gave the manor to Peter de Valoinges. The remains of a Norman Motte and Bailey fortification are still clearly visible. In the centre are the ruins of a Norman Donjon ( tower ) made of flint. The north wall shows some very well preserved flintwork laid in a herringbone pattern. This is the only vernacular Norman stonework left in Hertfordshire. 

The red brick manor house was built after a fire in about 1700. By 1832 George Proctor was in residence. He built the magnificent flint gatehouse including the curtain wall and summer house. It is generally believed that this romantic folly is the work of James Pulham who was famous for work using his "Pulamite Stone". This secret mixture was a sort of cement that could be moulded to replicate stonework. 


In 1905 the present owner's great grandfather Arthur Bott bought the Lordship and surrounding estate. He built the Edwardian extension on the west side of the house. This included the unusual Verandah which would seem to be a consequence of his work in India as an engineer. 

When Sarah Bott arrived in 1970 the garden was somewhat dilapidated. With the help of Ian Billot and then Richard Webb she spent the next 25 years restoring it to it current state. Great care has been taken to preserve its Edwardian character and the informal way it enhances its historic surroundings. 

One of the results of the restoration has been a steady flow of film and location work. Films shot in the house and garden include "The Scolds Bridle", Late flowering Lust", an episode of Poirot, H.G.Wells, Just William and Bombil and Beatrice. 

In 2011 the Garden celebrated more than 80 years of opening for the National Gardens Scheme 

The Garden has featured in the following magazines:

  • The Garden (RHS journal)
  • The Field
  • Country Life
  • The Hertfordshire Countryside 
  • The Hardy Plant 
  • The English Garden
  • House and Gardens
  • Country Living - August 2002
  • Gardens Illustrated - February 2009

The Garden has featured in the following books: 

  • "The Good Gardens Guide" by Peter King
    2 star rating (This is the top rate)
  • "The RHS Garden Finder" by Charles Quest Ritson where the borders are described as "The best we know" 
  • "The New Englishwoman's Garden" edited by Avilde Lees-Milne and Rosemary Verey
  • "The English Country Garden" by Rosemary Verey, which was also a television series