Key Events in the History of Woolverstone Hall
  with thanks in particular to Simon Pearce (Woolverstone Notes & Queries)

WH sold to GPDST and IHS relocated there from Ipswich.
WHS closed.
Summer 1965
The Sea Cadets were disbanded.
Sept 1951
180 boys started at WH boarding school with some nautical instruction in the form of the 'Sea Cadets', and John Smitherman as Head. One report says: "For the first two or three years some students from LNST remained and the site ran as two schools in one, while the curriculum changed to an academic one."
15th July 1951
LNS Exmouth flag “laid up” in St Michael’s church.
Early 1950
LCC decide to develop a boy's boarding-school at WH from 1st Sept 1951. However, the name was changed to Woolverstone Hall School in Autumn 1950. There were some changes to the uniform. (This is confirmed in the minutes of the LCC Education Committee 1950-1951.)
Admiralty and British Shipping federation decided to cease instructing boys specially for a career at sea.
April 1947
LNS boys transferred from Bray to WH.
Feb 1947
LCC placed contract for adaption of WH for LNS. £28k
April 1946
LCC Education Committee proposed WH should be rented as a boarding-school for boys taking nautical training - Admiralty to release the premises and transfer requisition to LCC - plans drawn up to reconstruct the Hall for educational purposes.
Mar 1946 
HMS Woolverstone de-commissioned
May/June 1944
Operation Quicksilver
May 1943
HMS Woolverstone commissioned (stone frigate).
Oct 1942
WH and part of park taken over by Admiralty as. Combined Operations Base.
Autumn 1939 
War Office requisitioned WH for use of troops, inc. 1939 Beds and Herts, 1940 Liverpool Scottish (2nd Bat), Royal Marines, Engineers, Worcestershire Reg.
Woolverstone Hall during WWII
By 1939 the estate was under the control of the Navy.
  • Geoffrey Berners sells the Hall, Parkland, Woolverstone House (Corners) and a few village properties to Lord Nuffield (William Morris) and gives it to Oxford University at auction for £185,000. The rest of the Estate is also sold, comprising about 6000 acres on the Shotley peninsula. The Berners link with Woolverstone ends.
  • Marsh Estate Agents details of estate prior to 1937 sale - FULL DETAILS of the whole estate
The whole eastern end of Berners London Estate, comprising the east side of Newman Street and the adjoining properties between Oxford Street and Goodge Street, was put up for sale.
The water tower was added to the stable block.
Thomas Hopper extends wings and other improvements.
The construction of Woolverstone Hall was completed.
William Berners buys the Estate for £14,000 and commissions architect John Johnston to design new Palladian mansion. Stable block built on the site of the old Hall.
William Berners is tenant of the Woolverstone Estate
William Berners born, a grandson of Josias Berners, a Clerkenwell resident and lawyer who had interests in the New River Company and bought land in a district then known as Newlands west of the City of London. Josias' son James and William Snr (who died in 1712, when William Jnr was an infant) undertook some development of the area during the late 17th century.
Josiah Berners buys farmland off the Oxford Road in London, later being developed into the Berners Estate.
Rev. Timothy Dalton becomes Rector. Later emigrates to New England in 1639.
Philip Wolverston sells the Estate to Thomas Gawdy, presumably to meet debts. Last of the Wolverston family to live on the Estate.
Philip Wolverston fined £20 for selling bells of St Michaels Church. Known as ‘The Gentleman Pirate of Suffolk’.
Birth of Mary Wolverstone, later to marry Sir John Killigrew, infamous Cornish pirate.
Earliest known depiction of the Wolverston family Coat of Arms. (Sir Thomas Holme’s Book of Arms 1445 – 1490) which inspired
the School badge
Hamon de Wolveston owns the Manor.
Domesday Book There were two manors in the area held by Tostin and Aluric. These comprised 3 ploughing teams, 3 acres of meadow, 3 villeins and 5 bordars, a Church and 10 acres of land, 5 horses, 8 beasts, 20 hogs, 60 sheep and woodland and pasturing for 15 hogs.
Battle between Angles and Danes across River Orwell at Seven Hills, Nacton.
General Background
  • The Berners Family seems to be largely descended from the Norman lord Hugh de Berners, an Anglicised version of Hugo de Bernières. There are a number of locations with that name, but this is believed to be Bernières-d'Ailly near Caen.
  • The earliest evidence of human habitation is of a bronze age settlement situated on the road leading down to Cat House (by the Marina). Here, flint tools, broken pottery and bones of the period have been found. Legend has it that Woolverstone gets its name from a Danish or Norse chieftain called Wulf.
  • It is likely that a Hall has existed on the site since early times. Before the existing Georgian mansion was built in 1776 there was a medieval/Tudor Hall on the site of the stable block, with some evidence of the bricks being re-used.