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The early history of Botleys Park is sketchy and confused. In 1319 the manor belonged to John de Butteley, son of Gilbert de Butteley, whilst later sources state that it was owned by John Manory of Chertsey.

His son, Thomas, transferred ownership to Richard Merland, Thomas Purvoche and Henry Wykes in 1505. At some point shortly after this Richard Merland and Thomas Purvoche relinquished ownership of it to Henry Wykes. By this time it was known as Botlese Park in Chertsey.

It seemed that the manor passed from owner to owner with some regularity with some owners being more well-known than others. In 1541 King Henry VIII purchased the manor from Sir Roger Cholmeley, Knight and Chief Baron of the Exchequer. This change of ownership continued up until the mid 18th century when, in 1763, Mrs Pleasance Hall transferred it to Joseph Mawbey Esq. Mawbey was one of a number of politicians who settled in the Borough of Runnymede during this time, tempted by the rural idyll that was close enough to London to be able to travel to Parliament in a day.

Originally born in 1730 on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire borders, Mawbey moved to Surrey when he was approximately 10 years old to live with his uncle, Joseph Pratt, and train to be a minister in the Church. However, due to family bereavement a young Joseph became a partner in his uncle’s distillery in Vauxhall, eventually becoming joint owner with his brother on the death of Pratt in 1754.

His uncle’s death also saw Mawbey inherit considerable land in Surrey and become County Sheriff in 1757. He became further involved in both national and local politics becoming MP for Southwark in 1761, and chairman of the Surrey quarter sessions in 1770. As a politician, he was not highly regarded, and was described by Walpole as “vain, noisy, and foolish”. His lowly start in life meant that he was always going to be a bit of an outsider in Westminster and often his pig-keeping was the butt of parliamentary jokes. Alas, he was no better received in the county. When he stood to represent Surrey at Westminster in 1774, George Onslow, of Clandon, wrote ‘Every gentleman of every party united against ... Sir Joseph ... so the county will not be disgraced, thank God.’ Needless to say, Mawbey was heavily defeated. However, it was Sir Joseph who gave us the classical Palladian-style mansion of Botleys when he bought the estate in 1763 and rebuilt the old house.

After Sir Joseph Mawbey’s death in 1778 the mansion passed to his son, Joseph, who died in 1817, leaving one daughter, Anna Marie, who married John Ivatt Briscoe, the local Member of Parliament. The estate of Botleys, comprising Botleys Park and mansion, Foxhills and France Farms, was sold by order of trustees in July 1822. Foxhills and France Farms were sold to John Ivatt Briscoe whilst Botleys Park and mansion were sold to David Hall. Once again Botleys Park changed hands frequently until it was purchased by Robert Gosling in 1839. In 1851 there were eight members of the Gosling family living there, including Robert Gosling and his wife Georgina Vere Gosling, four unmarried daughters and the two youngest sons. The Goslings employed over twenty members of staff in the house alone, most of whom were not native to the district.

The 1844 tithe map shows that, in addition to owning Botleys Park, mansion and offices, Robert Gosling owned several cottages at Botleys and the surrounding area as well as arable, grass and woodland. The Gosling family remained at Botleys until 1931 when it was sold to London County Council, reputedly for £30,000.

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