Sutton Place

Woking, near Guildford, Surrey

Built in 1525, for Sir Richard Weston (d.1541), King Henry VIII's Under-Treasurer of the Exchequer, whose son was executed on the cooked-up charge of committing adultery with Anne Boleyn. The ground on which the 72-room house stands and all of its future owners were said to have been cursed by King Edward the Confessor's wife, Edith, back in the 11th century. In 1900, it was leased to Lord Northcliffe who died insane and then eleven years later to the newly divorced Ava Astor, a "cold, hard, arrogant woman incapable of loving anybody". In 1919, it was bought by the Duke of Sutherland who sold it to the five-times divorced J. Paul Getty who lived here from 1959 until his death in 1976. The notoriously tight-fisted oil billionaire famously had a pay phone installed here to avoid friends running up his bill. In 1980, it was sold to Stanley J. Seeger who set up the Sutton Place Heritage Trust and opened it up for public events....

This house is best associated with...

Ava Lowle Willing

Ava Lowle (Willing) Astor, Lady Ribblesdale

1868-1958

J. Paul Getty

Jean Paul Getty, Anglo-American Oil Magnate & Art Collector

1892-1976

In 1990, it became home to yet another American, Frederick R. Kosh, who continued to lease it out for public events but was otherwise said not to have slept even one night here. In 2003, it was sold for £25 million to a Russian, Alisher Usmanov, who made his billions mining and selling plastic bags. He owns a large share in a Russian internet group, invested heavily in Facebook, and co-owns Russia's second largest mobile phone operator. He has close ties with Vladimir Putin, and his wife (a rhythmic gymnastics coach), is believed to have introduced Putin to his long-term partner and former gymnast, Alina. The best view of Sutton Place today is seen from the old landfill/refuse site at Slyfield.

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Contributed by Mark Meredith on 21/04/2019 and last updated on 13/09/2021.
Image Courtesy of foundin_a_attic, CC-BY-2.0

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