Ashridge House’s history dates back over 700 years with significant residents such as King Henry VIII, and a storied journey as a wartime hospital and most recently, a world-renowned business school.
1283 – Monastery
The College of Bonhommes monastery is founded by Edmund, Earl of Cornwall in 1283 and flourished as a seat of learning and debate.
1539 – Royal Residence
With the dissolution of monasteries in 1539, Ashridge fell under the ownership of King Henry VIII, who called the Ashridge House home for 11 years. Princess Elizabeth was raised at Ashridge House during her youth.
1550 – Royal Residence
Ownership of Ashridge is formally transferred to Princess Elizabeth as stipulated in her father’s (King Henry VIII’s) will. Princess Elizabeth lived here until she was arrested by her sister by Mary in 1554.
1604 – Private House
Sir Thomas Egerton (Queen Elizabeth I’s Lord Keeper) buys Ashridge. It becomes home to the Dukes and Earls of Bridgewater for 245 years.
1808 – Private House
The house is almost completely rebuilt by James Wyatt and, following his death, his son Benjamin and nephew Sir Jeffry Wyatville.
1914 – WWI Hospital
Ashridge remained under the ownership of the Bridgewater family during the First World War, when it transformed into a rehabilitation center for St. Albans Hospital.
1929 – Training centre for the Conservative Party
The house was bought by Urban Hanlon Broughton. It was used as a training centre for Conservative Party workers to commemorate Andrew Bonar Law, the Prime Minister.
1939 – WWII Hospital
With the start of World War II, the castle became a hospital once again, this time as an extension of the emergency wing of the Charing Cross Road Hospital. Starting in 1940, the hospital treated over 20,000 patients and saw the birth of 2,700 babies in its maternity ward. The concrete overspill wards remain Crown property until 1983 for use as a Public Records Office.
1949 – Ladies Finishing School
Ashridge was converted into a finishing school for ladies called the House of Citizenship. For almost a decade, the school offered four term courses to young women where they learned proper social etiquette and the ins and outs of upper class culture.
1959 — Ashridge Executive Education
Ashridge Management College is established with the support of leading companies including Guinness, Shell and Unilever, and is ranked as one of the best business schools in the world.
2015 — Hult International Business School
Ashridge formed an alliance with the Hult International Business School, combining Ashridge’s expertise in executive research and development with Hult’s global reach, innovation and scale.
Ashridge House is an award-winning venue for conferences, weddings, and events, and continues to operate as the main campus for Hult International Business School executive education programs.