Rowfant House

History

Although Rowfant house is often described as an Elizabethan manor house, it is, in fact, a mixture of 15th, 16th,18th and 19th century  architecture, so skilfully and harmoniously blended that it is thought of as wholly Elizabethan. In the entrance hall there is a panel of three portraits: Henry VIII, his daughter, Elizabeth I, and his father, Henry VII.

The Locker–Lampson family, owners of Rowfant House from 1848 until 1962, comprised a colourful group, particularly Oliver Stillingfleet Locker-Lampson, barrister, journalist, MP for 35 years and Commander of an Armoured Car Unit in the First World War. It was during his escapades in the First World War that Oliver came into close contact with the Czar of Russia and agreed to help  smuggle the Czar to safety in the West. However, the Czar would not leave his wife and children behind and in doing so condemned them  all to a terrible fate.

There is even a well-documented story that Oliver was asked to carry out the murder of Rasputin. Oliver himself never confirmed this but is on record as having been visited twice by a Russian Officer who was later involved in the murder.

The Ministry of Defence requisitioned Rowfant House during the Second World War and Winston Churchill, who was a personal friend of Oliver’s, spent many enjoyable hours there.

After the Second World War, Latvians who had fled from their country before its occupation by the Soviet Union were living in Germany as Displaced Persons. In 1946-48, recruited by the British as what were known as European Volunteer Workers, thousands of them arrived in Great Britain.

When the Latvian Lutheran Church in London started to lease Rowfant House from the Locker-Lampson family in 1953, it had for some years been left empty and in a dilapidated condition, but the Latvian Church through the voluntary work of its members soon made the house habitable again and began to use it for residential purposes and for a variety of community events.

In 1962 the Latvian Church purchased Rowfant House from the Locker-Lampson family. Rowfant House Ltd was set up as a registered charity to own and run Rowfant House, which it now does on behalf of the whole of the Latvian Lutheran Church in Great Britain.

 

Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Henry VII