Grove House was built sometime between 1780 and 1832. From 1833, when it was still called Sadlers house, it was inhabited by the mother of the future Cardinal Newman.
From around 1862 the house (now Rose Bank) was regularly visited by clergyman and portrait photographer Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, better known as Lewis Carroll; by the time Dodgson died in 1898, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland was the most popular children's book in England.
The other well-known owner of the house has been Vivien Greene, widow of Graham. The famously adulterous novelist bought the house for his wife just before their separation in 1949, and it was Mrs Greene who renamed the property Grove House, and decorated it with tiger skin, birdcages and gold leaf!
In 1955 Vivien Greene published English Dolls' Houses of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. By 1960 a separate museum was needed for her growing collection of antique dolls' houses. The Rotunda opened on 27 June 1962, and was open on Sundays, and only to those over sixteen. Due to failing eyesight the collection was sold at Bonham's in 1998. In August 2003 Vivien Greene celebrated her 99th birthday at home, and nineteen days later she died here.
Polly bought Grove House from Vivien's estate in August 2004. Shortly afterwards she was adopted by Les White, village handyman and sheep farmer, who decided she needed a helping hand and has been invaluable ever since.
For two years she made the most of the dilapidated décor and general bad state of repair to host some fantastic parties and start work on the garden.
Long-planned renovations started in March 2007.
Polly moved back home in Easter 2008 and now shares the house with her partner Rose and Stephen Hancock. Zaid & Mia Hassan have lived in the cottage (previously Vivien's companion Miss Brown's domain) since marrying at Grove House in July 2008. They are founding members of the fabulous Reos Partners.
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