Winter's Grace, Shamley Green, Surrey
Winter's Grace is a house situated on Stroud Lane, Shamley Green, Surrey, that Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville purchased in 1928 for £2,500. The building was originally a Tudor farmhouse, dating from the 16th century. It is possible Hitchcock discovered the area whilst undertaking location filming for The Farmer's Wife (1928).
The Hitchcocks continued to live most weekdays at 153 Cromwell Road in London, whilst spending their weekends relaxing in Shamley Green, often entertaining guests, family and friends.
During the 1930s, the Hitchcocks carried out renovations and extensions to the property, which included the addition of an entrance hall, a dining room, a kitchen and a vaulted master bedroom. They also installed two art deco bathrooms, with distinctive turquoise tiles.
After the Hitchcocks leased the main part of the property and left for Hollywood in March 1939, Hitchcock's mother Emma Jane and brother William John lived in a small cottage next door to Winter's Grace until their deaths in 1942 and 1943 respectively. By 1944, Hitchcock's sister Ellen Kathleen was living in Shamley Green.
Alfred J. Hitchcock continued to be listed in the telephone directory as contactable on Bramley 3172 (Shamley Cottage, Shamley Green) until at least 1943.
The house was bought in the 1960s by Peter Wreford, a financier, and his wife Rosemary.
In 2008, after the death of Peter Wreford, the house was placed on the market for £2,500,000, although it failed to sell. However, the two bedroom cottage where Hitchcock's mother lived, sold separately for £500,000.
In November 2011, the owners made a planning request to make alterations to the building and these were approved in January 2012.
In 2012, part of the property was put on the market for £1,225,000.
Shamley Green is a rural village near Guildford in Surrey.
The centre of Shamley Green is shaded green on this 1915 map of the area, and Winter's Grace is highlighted in red:
The following historic archive maps of the surrounding area are available to download. These are large image files and may take some time to download fully.
While Alma was pregnant the Hitchcocks had acquired, for the then fairly substantial sum of £2,500, another home, a small Tudor cottage in Shamley Green, a village just outside Guildford, about thirty miles south-west of London. It was a modest enough farmworker’s house in its own large garden and with its own private strip of woodland right behind. In the middle of the woodland was a concrete septic tank, from which the agent drew a glass of water and held it up in front of a newspaper to show it was so clear you could read through it; the demonstration would have been more convincing if he had drunk the water, Hitch reflected. Almost at once he set about expanding and remodelling the house. He found a derelict Tudor barn up the road and suggested they should buy and re-use the timbers. But his architect, Woodward, was outraged: everything had to be done in the original fashion, with new oak cut with an adze, naturally seasoned and secured with wooden pegs. All of which seemed to take an age, with the architect occasionally looking in to point out ecstatically how he had carefully used irregular timbers for the ridge of the roof, to give it a picturesque built-in sag. He also tried to insist that the interior heating be kept down to 60° in the rooms, 50° in the halls, so as to avoid shrinkage of the wood. But here Hitch was adamant: at any cost he and his new family were going to be comfortable, so up went the temperature to 70° and 60°, even though he noted that this had the effect of aging the new wing a hundred years in just one winter. At this time some restorations were being carried out to the exterior of Pugin’s Victorian Gothic Houses of Parliament, and Hitch acquired some carved stones from among those being replaced which bore the letters A and H: the signature was proudly incorporated in the façade of the new building as a finishing flourish.
— Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock (1978) by John Russell Taylor, chapter 5
[Michael] Powell was befriended by the Hitchcocks and invited down to Shamley Green, a hamlet amidst the woods and lanes of Surrey, where the couple had established a half-timbered cottage for weekend escapes from Cromwell Road. There the director tended his flower beds (he was a passionate horticulturist), and they all took long country walks [...] As the writing team carried on, Powell was able to take long walks and get to know [Anny] Ondra, who was also a regular guest of the Hitchcocks at Shamley Green. Besides the writing, Powell took "romantic still photographs of her charming face and body in the woods." Hitchcock often joined these woodland expeditions, "moodily" observing. "I am sure he wanted Anny as much as I did," Powell mused in [his memoir] A Life in Movies.
— Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, chapter 5
[Hitchcock] still wasn’t making dizzy money, but by 1935 the Gaumont contract had made Hitchcock prosperous. He had begun to accumulate an art collection, and maintained two homes. Cromwell Road was the home office, where Mrs. Hitchcock continued as her husband’s closest collaborator and severest critic — the only critic, he liked to say, whose opinion he feared. Shamley Green was where friends and the extended family congregated on weekends — Hitchcock’s mother, but often his brother and sister too.
— Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, chapter 6
Even at his ‘lowest ebb’ [Hitchcock] was financially very successful, and could well afford a week-end house in the country, especially since in London he continued to live in the Cromwell Road flat instead of moving to a smarter and more expensive part of town. Anyway, the air of grandeur suggested by the term ‘country house’ does not correspond very closely to the actuality of Shamley Green, a quite unpretentious cottage in a semi-suburban setting where, for all the world like a successful stock-broker, he pottered around the garden and supervised the planting — provided, of course, he himself never had to get his hands dirty.
— Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock (1978) by John Russell Taylor, chapter 7
After completing Foreign Correspondent and his other bits and pieces, Hitch was able at last to make his first trip home to England since he had settled in Los Angeles in a world still precariously at peace [...] In England Hitch resettled his mother at Shamley Green — where she was shortly to be joined by his brother William, bombed out of his South London fish shop in the blitz — and visited Joan Harrison’s mother, who toasted his arrival, to his rather mixed feelings, with warm champagne.
— Hitch: The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock (1978) by John Russell Taylor, chapter 9
A selection of photographs from when the house was placed on the market in 2008...
Notes & References
- Various estimates of the equivalent modern value of the purchase place it between £120,000 and £200,000.
- The Telegraph (13/Apr/2008) - Alfred Hitchcock: A long way from the Bates Motel
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, page 349
- Telegraph (13/Apr/2008) - Alfred Hitchcock: A long way from the Bates Motel
- Telegraph (13/Apr/2008) - Alfred Hitchcock: A long way from the Bates Motel
- The cottage appears to be called "Winter Sweet" or "Winter's Sweet". Zoopla
- See waverley.gov.uk. A copy of the documents have been archived on the wiki.
- The Guildford magazine
- See Wikipedia: Listed building and English Heritage.
- See Wikipedia: Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- The company was created for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.