Before becoming a wedding venue in Surrey, Kingswood Manor was once a stately home. The story starts in 19th century USA, and was where a German immigrant, Claus Spreckels, made his fortune. He founded the California Sugar Refinery before moving to Hawaii in 1876. Claus supplied sugar cane for the domestic market and went on to create the Spreckels Sugar Company.
Claus was extremely wealthy and gave over $25 million to his five grown children. Claus was most fond of his daughter Emma Claudine, and this was reflected in the gifts he gave her. Emma Claudine was bequeathed an entire city block in Honolulu as well as an endowment of just under $2 million.
In 1893 Emma married Thomas Palmer Watson. Thomas was a grain broker from Yorkshire who was considerably older than Emma Claudine. As a result, Thomas didn’t approve of the coupling and was left in the dark when the marriage ceremony happened.
Claus reminded Emma Claudine of her generous endowment, so Emma returned it. However the damage was done, and Claus’s prominent position in high society prompted the newly wed couple to flee to England.
Thomas and Emma settled in the village of Lower Kingswood and contracted the architect Edward Penfold to construct Kingswood Manor in 1895. Thomas died in 1904, after which Emma married John Wakefiled Ferris, a wealthy civil engineer and contractor from Gloucestershire.
They produced a daughter named Jean Ferris, who later became the Marquise d’Espinay-Durtal, Princesse de Brons. Kingswood Manor was sold in 1922, to Alfred Norman Rickett and the Hon. Jessie Hair Nivison, daughter of Robert Nivison, 1st Baron Glendyne. They remained in the property until the 1940s.
Some sources suggest that the Sultan of Brunei purchased Kingswood Manor after this period, but this cannot be verified.
The history of Kingswood Manor remains inside including open fireplaces, oak floors, wood panelling, lavish Georgian architraves and a grand oak fireplace. It is a sumptuous location, that more than matches the grandeur of the many weddings that are held here.