The mansion on the estate in about 1840, when it was owned by the Denison family
Denbies is a large estate to the northwest of
Surrey, England. A farmhouse and surrounding land originally owned by John Denby was purchased in 1734 by
Jonathan Tyers, the proprietor of
Vauxhall Gardens in London, and converted into a weekend retreat. The house he built appears to have been of little architectural significance, but the Gothic garden he developed in the grounds on the theme of death achieved some notoriety, despite being short-lived. The estate was bought by
Lord King of
Ockham following Tyers' death in 1767, and the macabre artefacts he had installed, including two stone coffins topped by human skulls, were removed.
Joseph Denison, a wealthy banker, purchased the estate in about 1787, and it remained in the Denison family until 1849, when it passed to
Thomas Cubitt, a master builder. At the time, Cubitt was working on
Osborne House for
Queen Victoria and
Prince Albert, and the mansion he designed to replace the old one was a more modest version of Osborne. It was still a substantial building though, in the
Italianate style, with almost 100 rooms on three storeys.
The payment of
death duties and the difficulty of maintaining a large estate during the Second World War forced the Cubitt family to begin selling packets of land. Cubitt's mansion was abandoned until its demolition in 1953, by which time the family was living in a
Regency-style house converted from the housing that had been provided for the garden and stable staff in more affluent times.
What remained of the estate – about 635 acres (2.57 km2) – was put on the market in 1984 and bought by
Biwater, a water-treatment company. Two years later the company chairman
Adrian White established
Denbies Wine Estate, using 268 acres (1.08 km2) on a south-facing piece of land to plant vines.