Hatfield House

South-facing view of Hatfield House

Hatfield House is a country house set in a large park, the Great Park, on the eastern side of the town of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, England. The present Jacobean house, a leading example of the prodigy house, was built in 1611 by Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury and Chief Minister to King James I. It is a prime example of Jacobean architecture. The estate includes extensive grounds and surviving parts of an earlier palace. The house is currently the home of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 7th Marquess of Salisbury. It is open to the public.


Hatfield House Old Palace

An earlier building on the site was the Royal Palace of Hatfield. Only part of this still exists a short distance from the present house. That palace was the childhood home and favourite residence of Queen Elizabeth I. Built in 1497 by the Archbishop of Canterbury (formerly Bishop of Ely), King Henry VII's minister, John Cardinal Morton, it comprised four wings in a square surrounding a central courtyard. The palace was seized by Henry VIII with other church properties. The nearby parish church of St Etheldreda's in Old Hatfield once served the bishop's palace as well as the village.

Close view of Hatfield House Old Palace, showing Tudor brickwork.

Henry VIII's children, King Edward VI and the future Queen Elizabeth I, spent their youth at Hatfield Palace. His eldest daughter, who later reigned as Queen Mary I, lived there between 1533 and 1536, when she was sent to wait on the then Princess Elizabeth as punishment for refusing to recognise Henry's marriage to Anne Boleyn and his religious reforms. In 1548, when she was only 15 years old, Elizabeth was under suspicion of having illegally agreed to marry Thomas Seymour. The house and her servants were seized by Edward VI's agent, Robert Tyrwhit, and she was interrogated there. She successfully defended her conduct with wit and defiance. Seymour was executed in 1549 for numerous other crimes against the crown. After her two months of imprisonment in the Tower of London by her sister, Queen Mary, Elizabeth returned to Hatfield. The Queen Elizabeth Oak on the grounds of the estate is said to be the location where Elizabeth was told she was queen following Mary's death, but is considered unlikely as Mary died in November. In November 1558, Elizabeth held her first Council of State in the Great Hall.

Hatfield House is a popular tourist attraction because it has so many objects associated with Queen Elizabeth I, including gloves and a pair of silk stockings that are believed to have been the first in England. The library displays a 22-foot (6.7 m) long illuminated parchment roll showing the pedigree of the queen with ancestors back to Adam and Eve. The Marble Hall holds the "Rainbow Portrait" of Elizabeth.

The great hall in 1840

Elizabeth's successor, King James I, did not like the palace. It was included in the jointure estate of his wife Anne of Denmark.[1] In 1607, King James gave it to his chief minister, Robert Cecil, 1st Earl of Salisbury, in exchange for Theobalds, which was the Cecils' family home on the current site of Cedars Park, Broxbourne. Cecil, who liked building, tore down three wings of the royal palace (the back and sides of the square) in 1608 and used the bricks to build the present structure. The richly carved wooden Grand Staircase and the rare stained glass window in the private chapel are among the house's original Jacobean features. Cecil employed Robert Lemynge to supervise the construction, with input from the royal surveyor Simon Basil, and Inigo Jones who visited in October 1609.[2]

Cecil's descendant, Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, 3rd Marquess of Salisbury, was three times prime minister during the closing years of Queen Victoria's reign. The city of Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe) was founded in his time and named for him. He is also known for often putting members of his family into the government while prime minister. As his first name was Robert, this habit is sometimes said to have given rise to the popular expression 'Bob's your uncle' (meaning roughly 'It's all right, everything is sure to come off').

During World War II, Hatfield House was the location of the first Civil Resettlement Unit and acted as headquarters for the scheme.[3] CRUs were created to help repatriated British prisoners of war transition back to civilian life and the luxurious setting of Hatfield was considered very beneficial to these men. On 12 July 1945, the king and queen visited the CRU at Hatfield, which generated significant news coverage.[4][5][6]


The West garden includes a scented garden and herb or kitchen garden
Hatfield House Gardens

The Gardens, covering 42 acres (170,000 m2), date from the early 17th century and were laid out by John Tradescant the elder. Tradescant visited Europe and brought back trees and plants that had never previously been grown in England. The gardens included orchards, fountains, scented plants, water parterres, terraces, herb gardens and a foot maze. They were neglected in the 18th century, but restoration began in Victorian times and continues under the present Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury.

During World War I, the grounds were used to test the first British tanks. An area was dug with trenches and craters and covered with barbed-wire to represent no man's land and German trench lines on the Western Front. To commemorate this, the only surviving Mark I tank was sited at Hatfield from 1919 to 1970 before being moved to The Tank Museum, Bovington.[7]

The Rhodesian Light Infantry Regimental Association has placed its 'Troopie' memorial statue on the grounds of Hatfield House due to the long association of the Cecil family with Southern Rhodesia. Around its base is a roll of regimental members ('troopies') who fell in the Rhodesian Bush War and several inscriptions, including 'In reconciliation and hope for future peace in Zimbabwe'.[8]


The State Rooms can be seen in the midweek guided tours and visitors can look around in their own time at weekends. On Friday, the Garden Connoisseur's Day, the house is open for guided tours and pre-booked specialist groups. There are five miles of marked trails.

Film credits

The Long Gallery
The Armoury
Hatfield house, North wing
(c) Hatfield House by Andrew Hackney, CC BY-SA 2.0
Hatfield House, Side view

Hatfield House has been used for location filming on a number of film and television productions, including:

  • The hall and staircase were used in the 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes.
  • Portions of the house and exterior were used in the 1992 film Orlando, starring Tilda Swinton as Orlando, Billy Zane as Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine and Quentin Crisp as Queen Elizabeth.[9]
  • Many interior scenes of the Wayne Manor in the 1989 film Batman were shot at Hatfield House.
  • The outside scenes of the two Lara Croft films with Angelina Jolie were shot at Hatfield House, which serves as her home in the film.[9] Subsequently, the outside of Lara's mansion in the video game Tomb Raider: Underworld is based on Hatfield House. In Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, the Long Gallery and the library were used for filming the scene where the MI6 agents meet Lara and give her a task to retrieve Pandora's Box. The Bo Ken self-defense practice scene was filmed in the entrance hall of the house. Also, AL9 5NQ appears as the postal code on many letters in Rise of the Tomb Raider and as a level with young Lara in the Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
  • Hatfield House appears briefly in the 2005 film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp, being used as the home of the spoiled Veruca Salt and her rich parents.
  • It appears in the 2005 film The New World with Colin Farrell.[9]
  • Hatfield House was used to portray Chartley Hall, where Mary, Queen of Scots, played by Samantha Morton, was kept captive before her execution in the 2007 film Elizabeth: The Golden Age.[9]
  • The final car chase scene in the 2007 film Hot Fuzz was filmed in Hatfield Gardens.[10]
  • The white frontage of the south facing view of Hatfield House was used in the 1998 film Shakespeare in Love as a location in Greenwich.[9]
  • Hatfield House appeared several times throughout the television film Dustbin Baby as the manor to which Marion takes April and as the manor where Marion and Elliot work.
  • The Long Gallery was used in the 2009 film Sherlock Holmes.[9]
  • Hatfield House was featured as "Chimneys" in the 2010 Agatha Christie's Marple adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Secret of Chimneys.
  • Russell Brand filmed at the house in August 2009 for the 2010 film Get Him to the Greek.[9]
  • In July 2010, an episode of Antiques Roadshow was filmed at Hatfield House.[11]
  • In 2010, MasterChef Australia filmed the contestants cooking for Heston Blumenthal in Hatfield House.[12]
  • It featured in a November 2010 episode of Alan Titchmarsh's Garden Secrets, which studied the house's 17th century formal garden.[13]
  • In March 2011, Hatfield House featured as part of the 20-episode series of the BBC's Royal Upstairs Downstairs, which followed the 1846 royal tour of Queen Victoria, who visited the home.
  • In the 2011 film My Week with Marilyn starring Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh and Eddie Redmayne, internal scenes represented as Windsor Castle were filmed in Hatfield House, whilst the Broad Water (where the River Lea flows through Hatfield Park) was used in a skinny dipping scene.
  • In the 2014 film Paddington, some interior scenes of the Geographers' Guild were shot in the Long Gallery.[14][15]
  • Scenes were shot inside the mansion, as well as, its garden in Mr. Holmes (2015).[16]
  • The King James Drawing Room is featured as one of the interiors of the imaginary Courcy Castle at Julian Fellowes' Doctor Thorne.
  • In the 2016 film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Hatfield House is heavily used in the film as Rosings Park, where Lady Catherine de Bourgh lives. The streets of Old Hatfield can also be seen.
  • The Netflix series, The Crown, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith, used Hatfield House as the home of Queen Mary.[17]
  • It was used in Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, directed by Andy Serkis.[18]
  • It was used for filming of the 2017 film All the Money in the World and the TV series Trust, both based on the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the grandson of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, who at the time lived in the 16th century Tudor manor Sutton Place.[19]
  • Hatfield House is featured extensively in The Favourite (2018) acting as Anne, Queen of Great Britain's home.
  • Hatfield House and its gardens were the filming location of the Jonas Brothers reunion music video for their single, "Sucker", released March 1, 2019.[20]
  • Hatfield House was featured as the setting for episode 23 of season 10 of the American version of MasterChef, which aired on September 11, 2019.
  • The scenes that take place at Basilweather House, Lord Tewkesbury's family home, in Enola Holmes were filmed using the Marble Hall, the Armoury, & South Front in Hatfield House.[21][22]
  • The main interiors & hallways of Manderley in the 2020 film Rebecca were shot at Hatfield House.[23][24]
  • For the 2020 Netflix series Bridgerton, scenes from the society ball at Trowbridge House and in its garden maze were shot on location at Hatfield House in September/October 2019. Filming took place in the Marble Hall, the Library, the West Garden, the West Terrace and the North Front.[25][26]
  • The house is also featured in other films include Cromwell with Alec Guinness (west side of the house); Henry VIII and His Six Wives with Keith Michell, Charlotte Rampling and Lynne Frederick (the Old Palace and park); The Avengers (with Sean Connery overlooking the maze); the opening scene of V for Vendetta with Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving; Mortdecai in 2015 with Johnny Depp and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Paddington 2.[9]


  1. ^ Edmund Lodge, Illustrations of British History, vol. 3 (London, 1791), pp. 207.
  2. ^ Giles Worsley, Inigo Jones and the European Classical Tradition (Yale, 2007), p. 10.
  3. ^ White, Alice (2016). "Chapter Five: Settling down in Civvy Street". From the Science of Selection to Psychologising Civvy Street: The Tavistock Group, 1939-1948 (Thesis). University of Kent.
  4. ^ "The King and Queen with Ex-Prisoners: Visit to Civil Resettlement Unit". The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Mercury. 13 July 1945.
  5. ^ "Resettling War Prisoners: Aids to Civil Life: The King and Queen at Hatfield". The Times. 13 July 1945. CS69681389 – via Gale.
  6. ^ "Army's Civil Resettlement: King and Queen Visit Hatfield House Centre". The Manchester Guardian. 13 July 1945 – via Proquest.
  7. ^ "Identity Crisis". The Bovington Tank Museum. May 2006. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  8. ^ Troper Report Archived 27 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h "Filming". Hatfield House. 2010. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  10. ^ Medd, James. "Where was 'Hot Fuzz' filmed?". CN Traveller. Retrieved 31 January 2021.
  11. ^ "BBC One's Antiques Roadshow here this summer". Hatfield House. 5 May 2010. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  12. ^ Masterchef Australia, Television New Zealand website. Retrieved on 27 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Alan Tichmarsh's Garden Secrets". BBC. 8 November 2010. Archived from the original on 9 November 2010. Retrieved 8 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Filming Locations for Paddington (2014), around London". Movie Locations. The Worldwide Guide To Movie Locations. Retrieved 23 January 2021.
  15. ^ O'Connor, Joanne (5 December 2014). "On location: Paddington". Financial Times.
  16. ^ Davies, Alan (19 June 2015). "Mr Holmes starring Sir Ian McKellen filmed in Hatfield". Welwyn Hatfield Times. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  17. ^ https://suitcasemag.com/articles/filming-locations-visit-the-crown
  18. ^ https://www.whtimes.co.uk/things-to-do/breathe-claire-foy-andrew-garfield-film-hatfield-house-5579622
  19. ^ Malkin, Marc (2 April 2018). "Here's How FX's New Series Trust Replicated the Sutton Place Estate of John Paul Getty III". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  20. ^ Hill, Erin (1 March 2019). "The Jonas Brothers' Music Video Has a Major Royal Connection — and It's Not Just the Corgi Cameo!". People. Retrieved 1 March 2019.
  21. ^ Andriotis, Mary Elizabeth (13 October 2020). "You Can Visit These English Estates from Netflix's 'Enola Holmes'". House Beautiful. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  22. ^ Davies, Alan (26 September 2020). "Netflix movie Enola Holmes filmed at Hatfield House". Welwyn Hatfield Times. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  23. ^ Zemler, Emily (21 October 2020). "Where Netflix's 'Rebecca' found its Manderley". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  24. ^ Andriotis, Mary Elizabeth (22 October 2020). "You Can Visit These English Manor Houses from Netflix's Rebecca". House Beautiful. Retrieved 26 October 2020.
  25. ^ Davies, Alan (15 December 2020). "Bridgerton 'has something for everyone and that's why it's a special show'". Welwyn Hatfield Times. Retrieved 30 December 2020.
  26. ^ (executive producer & showrunner of Bridgerton) Chris Van Dusen [@chrisvandusen] (28 December 2020). "We searched and searched for the perfect garden maze to shoot this scene in. Found it at Hatfield House. #Bridgerton #LiveTweet t.co/z9rjkmt6Ac" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

Further reading

  • Cecil, Lord David. The Cecils of Hatfield House: An English Ruling Family. Houghton Mifflin, 1973.

External links

Coordinates:51°45′38″N 0°12′33″W / 51.7606°N 0.2092°W / 51.7606; -0.2092

Media files used on this page

Hatfield House Gardens
Robert-Gascoyne-Cecil-3rd-Marquess-of-Salisbury (cropped).jpg
Portrait of Robert Gascoyne-Cecil (1830–1903)
Hatfield House (14207504937).jpg
Author/Creator: Paul Hudson from United Kingdom, Licence: CC BY 2.0
Hatfield House
Royal Standard of the United Kingdom (in Scotland).svg
Author/Creator: Own work, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Royal Standard of the United Kingdom for use in Scotland.
Hatfield House - geograph.org.uk - 1838612.jpg
(c) Hatfield House by Andrew Hackney, CC BY-SA 2.0
Hatfield House Edit this at Structured Data on Commons
Hatfield house panorama 19th april2009.jpg
(c) Starlingjon at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0
Panoramic photograph of Hatfield House & Gardens
Hatfield House Armoury-8454284614.jpg
Author/Creator: ozz13x, Licence: CC BY 2.0
See title.
Long gallery, Hatfield House-19670646391.jpg
Author/Creator: Matt Brown, Licence: CC BY 2.0
Interior of Hatfield House.
Hatfield house north wing.jpg
Author/Creator: Starlingjon, Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
View of Hatfield House north entrance (public entrance)
Hatfield Old Palace - Close View.jpg
Author/Creator: Mikestuchbery, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Close view of Hatfield Old Palace from the side facing the modern town, showing Tudor brickwork.
Royal Standard of the United Kingdom.svg
Author/Creator: Own work, Licence: CC BY-SA 4.0
Royal Standard of the United Kingdom
Hatfield House.jpg
Author/Creator: Allan Engelhardt, Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0
Hatfield House, Hertfordshire, England.
Hatfield House Old Palace.jpg
Hatfield House Old Palace 2007