Arle Court - History of the House

Arle Court was built between 1854-1858 for Thomas Walter Packer Butt on Grovefield, a 74 acre estate which was part of the small Manor of Redgrove.

The original Arle Court was an Elizabethan building located in the area of Arle Road but over time this was demolished and replaced with this new Arle Court in in its present location.

Arle Court House in 1914 blaze

In 1935 Europe was on the brink of war and the government had a requirement to produce fighting aircraft in vast quantities.

Mr George Dowty, a local hydraulics engineer working with the Gloster Aircraft Company started up his own company and was tasked with the production of retractable landing gear for the aircraft.

He immediately purchased Arle Court and its 72 acres of grounds for £5,500 – just under the sum it had taken to build in 1847!

His expanding business and the war effort brought about inevitable changes; the house was converted into offices for the directors, and the part which had been home for Mr Dowty, wife Marguerite and his young family became a visiting suite for VIPs.

Due to the Manor’s setting by a beautiful lake it was fondly referred to as The Manor By The Lake by staff and visitors – over time the Manor was officially renamed, a title which it now carries through to the present day.

The house and approximately 15 acres of gardens continued to be maintained to the highest standard despite the rest of the grounds being covered by industrial factories producing the hydraulic undercarriage systems.

During this time the tower was modified to make it less obvious as a target, the tall dome being replaced with a flagpole. The courtyard and stables were roofed in a similar style to some of the surrounding buildings to turn it into a large entertaining space.

After the war, Dowty Aviation relocated to the far side of Staverton where now, merged as Messier-Bugatti-Dowty under the Safran Group it survives to this day.

In 1956 Sir George Dowty received a knighthood for his part in the war effort.

Not only did he preserve a wonderful house and its many acres of grounds but also played a large part in securing the freedom of the country in which he lived.

Comments about this page

  • Walter Butt the younger sold off the contents of Arle Court. There is a small piece in a local newspaper listing what was sold. It is very general but it sounds as if there were some nice things.

    By Sophie (12/12/2021)
  • I have a few objects from Arle Court. My Uncle Phil brought them to Canada. I was wondering if there is a site that might know about content?

    My Uncles Phil’s surname was Butt, the son of the owner.

    By Teresa (27/11/2021)

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