Sadly, the Grantleys are hardly remembered with love and affection. Rather they are remembered for the legendary unpleasantness of Fletcher Norton, the 1st Baron Grantley of Markenfieldwho pinched a piece of Wonersh common land to keep the villagers a little further from his house. Between 1770 and 1780 he was Speaker of the House of Commons but while still a barrister, and before he entered politics, his nick-name was ‘Sir Bull-Face Double Fee’ from his practice of taking money from each side in a dispute, without telling the other. The 2nd Baron rebuilt Wonersh church after a fire in 1796 but used plans drawn up by his butler rather than pay an architect and Eric Parker in 1908 referred to ‘an enormous wall’ built by a later Baron ‘apparently to prevent neighbours and passers-by from gazing with too great enthusiasm at his lordship's grass and trees.’ And, of course, we must never forget George, brother of the 3rd Baron, who treated his wife Caroline so badly. You can read more about dastardly George here.The Grantley association with the village dates to 21 May 1741 when Fletcher Norton married Grace, eldest daughter of Sir William Chappleof Wonersh Park and so came into possession of the splendid property in the village. For the next 143 years the Grantleys lived in Wonersh Park (described by Pevsner as ‘pretty, ham-fisted 19th century Gothic’), dominating the aristocratic society of this part of Surrey and playing their part in the civic life of Guildford and the County. Sir Fletcher Norton enlarged the house that Sir William Chapple had rebuilt in the 1730s and in 1835 an extra wing was added. The house passed out of the family in 1884 and was eventually demolished in 1929. An eighteenth-century Gothic entrance gateway survives, as well as an eighteenth-century stable court, which has been converted into Wonersh Court. At one time the family also owned Great Tangley Manor and their name still survives in the village through the Grantley Arms. The Grantley name is also part of the history of Guildford as the family provided a succession of MPs, Recorders and High Stewards and the name carries on in ‘Markenfield’ Road.
John Norton, 5th Baron
Richard Henry Brinsley Norton,6th Baronby Howard CosterNational Portrait Gallery