Please note: This house does not offer free entry to Historic House members.
For alternative options please see other opening options.
The Golden Parsonage lies at the heart of the family-run Gaddesden Estate in Hertfordshire, just under an hour from Central London and set in the Chilterns AONB. We are able to provide multiple locations for filming, including dwelling places as well as a large variety of topography, and outdoor spaces for both private and public events, including in and around the grounds of the house itself.
Please check the website for further information, admission times and details for our special eventsVisit website
The grounds of the Golden Parsonage offer a unique private location set in stunning Hertfordshire countryside within easy reach of London. Three inter-connected outdoor spaces can be used in multiple configurations to suit any event. These include the formal gardens of the Golden Parsonage, the beautiful Walled Garden Meadow, and a sunken medieval space among the tress - perfect for an intimate dinner reception under the canopy. We also have a number of larger outdoor areas suitable for gatherings of 500+. The Gaddesden Estate has been in the ownership of the same family for 500 years, and the Golden Parsonage remains a family home. We work in partnership with specialist planners Big Green Space, ensuring everything runs smoothly both during the run-up to the event and on the day itself. However the family remain directly involved with all activities, ensuring a warm and personal welcome for all those using our spaces.
The Golden Parsonage's history and features
American Halseys: In 1630 a descendant of the family, one of many called Thomas, moved from Redbourn to Kempston near Bedford, and, subsequently, with his family sailed to Lynn in Massachusetts Bay Colony; reputedly in the ship upon which Oliver Cromwell had intended to emigrate, had he not been dissuaded.
Tom eventually settled in Southampton, Long Island, New York, where his descendants still live and farm. The house he built in the 1650s, now the Halsey House Museum, is the oldest ‘saltbox’ house in New York State. Apart from the cedar shingles, it is a typical English seventeenth century farmhouse and would not look out of place anywhere in East Anglia.
Spreading from New England throughout the USA, his descendants have played a notable part in American life, not least his descendant Fleet Admiral William F. ‘Bull’ Halsey, KBE USN, victor of Leyte Gulf in the Second World War.
It is also not without interest that the Halsey brothers from Rockaway, New Jersey, and from Lessland, Orange County, near Culpeper Virginia - collateral descendents of Sir John Halsey, who lived during the 17th century English Civil War - served on opposing sides during the American Civil War two hundred years later.
Today there are thought to be Halsey family descendants in virtually every American state.
Civil War Silver
Being founder’s kin of William of Wykeham through his mother, John Halsey, went to school at Winchester and on to New College. Going into the law, he became a member of Lincoln’s Inn. During the Civil War (1642-1651), when King Charles I based his headquarters at Oxford, the colleges of the university were encouraged to donate their silver to the royalist cause, to be minted into shillings and half-crowns to pay the cavalier forces.
Though New College largely escaped this, Parliament imposed a new Warden in 1649, the year of the King’s execution. To save it from being sequestered the College Fellows entrusted their silver to John Halsey. It was probably hidden at the Golden Parsonage, and was returned in a ‘truncke’ in 1657 when a ‘true and legall’ warden was appointed. To this day New College retains uniquely a good collection of pre-Civil War plate.
As a lawyer, John Halsey acted as land agent to Lord Bridgewater at Ashridge, a neighbouring estate. He became a Master in Chancery, a junior Judge, and was knighted by King Charles II. The fine portrait bust on his memorial in Great Gaddesden Church looks benignly down upon the congregation. It is to Sir John that we owe the first map of the estate, which he surveyed in 1657, and which shows that the original Rectory lands had tripled in size over the previous century.