The history of Munden can be traced back to an early age.
We know that a Roman settlement existed on the site and the remains of a Roman Villa were excavated in the gardens during the 1950’s by the Museum of St Albans, and records are held at the Museum now. The story then moves forward a considerable age to 1097 when the first mention is made of the Manor of Meriden (Munden) in the Victoria County History of Hertfordshire. It is believed that the property was acquired by Robert de Meriden and that Munden is a derivation of his name.
It is unclear exactly what form the settlement took at this time although it is thought that a manorial residence existed and perhaps occupied the same site as the present house. Manors were also known to have existed as early as the 13th Century at Aldenham and there was a residence at neighbouring Wall Hall dating from a similar time.
The descendancy of the present family at Munden can be traced from 1607 when Thomas Ewer of the Lea acquired the property. The Estate was much larger in those days and also contained the Lea Farm which is now covered by the Meriden housing estate and parts of Garston. The Lea Farm buildings and farmhouse, which occupied the site where the Sainsburys store exists today at the Dome roundabout, were demolished in about 1935 to make way for the A41 trunk road.
Since the days of Thomas Ewer the property has never changed hands on the open market and the present family occupants are his direct descendants. Although the property has not always passed from father to son, it has never been more distant than through cousins.
The property passed to the Hibbert family in 1828 having come through the female line and it remained a Hibbert home until 1874 when Mrs Hibbert left the Estate to her grandson, Arthur Holland, on the understanding that he combined the two names. Arthur Holland-Hibbert (as he became) was later to become the 3rd Viscount Knutsford following the death of his elder brother and father. The peerage of Viscount Knutsford was conferred on his father, Sir Henry Holland (1st Viscount Knutsford) in reward of his service as Minister of the Colonies in The Marquess of Salisbury’s government of 1875. At the time the Holland family seat was at Knutsford in Cheshire and he took the title of his home town. The current Viscount (6th Viscount Knutsford) lives on the Estate and his son, Henry Holland-Hibbert is the present incumbent of Munden.
The present house is known to date from before 1795 as there are pictures dated such in the British Library. Additions were made in 1829 and then extensively in the late 19th Century as the Victorian fashion developed for larger Country Houses. Further extensive alterations were made in the 1990’s to bring the house up to modern standards as a comfortable family home whilst retaining its former historic past. The gardens were laid out in the early part of the 19th Century along with many of the woods and trees in the Park, some of which are over 200 years old. Munden House is a member of the Historic Houses Association but the property is not open to the public.
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