Chronology of Trent Park
Medieval Era: The land that was to become Trent Park occupied a small part of Enfield Wood, a huge common land forest. Geoffrey de Mandeville the 1st Earl of Essex established a boundary around Enfield Wood in around 1136, converting the area into a hunting park. Around this time, the recorded names for the area included 'The Great Park' and 'The Park of Enfield', and was first recorded as a 'Chase' in 1322. The estate eventually passed by marriage to the de Bohun family. In 1380, Mary de Bohun became the first wife of Henry Bolingbroke, who later became Henry IV in 1399.
15th to 18th Century: Enfield Chase passed into royal ownership, and was administered by the Duchy of Lancaster from 1421. For over 350 years thereafter the Chase served as a royal hunting forest, and was frequently used by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I.
1777: The lease for the new hunting park was given to Sir Richard Jebb, physician to the royal household. He had apparently cured the King's younger brother from mental illness when he was convalescing in Trento, a city in what is now Northern Italy. In remembrance of this deed, the new hunting park was named 'Trent Place'.
1777-1787: Sir Richard Jebb built a house on Noddingswell Hill, the same site where the mansion now stands. It was designed by the royal architect, Sir William Chambers, and much of its structure still exists within today's Trent Mansion.
1787-1832: After Sir Richard Jebb's death, the Earl of Cholmondeley bought the estate in 1787. John Cumming, who bought the house in 1813, made extensive improvements before dying in 1832.
1833-1908: David Bevan, a banker and Quaker, bought the leasehold property and grounds in 1833 (the Bevan family were co-founders of Barclays Bank). His grandson, Francis Bevan, sold Trent Park in 1908, ending a family residence that spanned 75 years.
1908-1912: Sir Edward Sassoon purchased Trent Park with plans to convert it into a grand weekend country retreat to entertain and impress his guests.
1912-1939: Trent Park was inherited by Sir Edward's son, Sir Philip Sassoon, a 23 year-old super-rich bachelor. He was a trendy, glamorous and well-known socialite and politician, who developed the mansion and estate into an extravagant weekend entertainment centre and country retreat for his many A-List guests. In 1923 he purchased the freehold of Trent Park from the Duchy of Lancaster, bringing an end to over 5 centuries of royal ownership. From 1925 to 1931 he completely re-designed the grounds and the mansion itself, casing it in stunning rose-coloured bricks and stonework as it is today.
1939-1945: Soon after the outbreak of WWII, Trent Park was requisitioned by the War Office to be used as a highly specialised prisoner of war camp, run by a Secret Service unit known as MI19. Highly sophisticated room-bugging, eavesdropping and passive manipulation techniques were used for the very first time to gain vital intelligence to assist the war effort. In 1942, the mansion became an even more specialised long-term POW centre for high-ranking German officers. The results were highly successful and intelligence gained included valuable information on German U-boat tactics, bombing raid radar system technology and some of the first evidence of war crimes and atrocities, including the mass killing of Jews and the development of a V2 rocket, being a Nazi secret weapon.
1946-2012: After World War II, Trent Park was taken over by the Ministry of Education. Educational buildings were added to the campus over the years and on 1st September 1974, Trent Park College was incorporated into Middlesex Polytechnic, later to become Middlesex University. During the summer of 2012, Middlesex University relocated from the Trent Park Campus.
2013-2014: Trent Park Campus was purchased by the Allianze University College of Medical Sciences (AUCMS). In November 2014, the AUCMS went into liquidation, leaving the mansion and grounds up for sale, needing restoration and facing an uncertain future.
2015: Berkeley Homes purchased Trent Mansion and grounds, heralding the beginning of a bright new chapter for Trent Park, and allowing the mansion, grounds, historical buildings and the remarkable story to prevail for the benefit of present and future generations.