There is evidence of the pre-enclosure landscape in the parkland of Glenfall House and the surrounding fields, with ridge and furrow, old pollarded trees and the ridges of abandoned field systems. The field system which largely survives today was created in the C18; hedgerow oaks and ash survive from this time, as well as field oaks planted on the underlying ridge and furrow.
There is known to have been a farmhouse, named ‘The Gutterfall’, on the site since the mid-C18. By 1808 this had been rebuilt in brick for the then owner Charles Higgs, and by 1817 the house had been renamed ‘Glenfall’. In 1819, the house and the surrounding farmland were purchased by Edward Iggulden, a wealthy brewer from Deal, Kent and agent with the East India Shipping Company. Iggulden improved the grounds and created a Picturesque landscape, which included pleasure grounds within the coppices either side of the valley. It was during his ownership from 1819 to 1828 that tourists were able to visit these pleasure grounds to view ‘The Glen’ and its waterfall. In 1826, S Y Griffiths described it as ‘a most romantic spot’ and added, ‘[t]hough not on an extensive scale, this truly fascinating retreat combines within its precincts the local charms of hill, vale, wood and water. Nature seems to reign here in her primeval simplicity and beauty and the soft sound of the waters from the miniature cataract, formed by rude rocks, breaking upon the stillness of the solitude, has the most imposing and soothing effect. The views from the lawn in front of the tasteful cottage residence are luxuriant beyond description’. By 1827 some of the springs on the estate which fed Ham Brook were capped and piped to the covered reservoirs at Hewletts, reducing the amount of water and affecting the impressiveness of the waterfalls. In 1828, the estate passed to Iggulden’s daughter, Mary, and her husband Lieutenant General John Molyneux who remodelled and extended the house in 1830-40. In 1890 the estate was sold to the Willis family and it is thought that many of the surviving estate trees date from this period. In 1920 the estate was purchased by the brewer Arthur Mitchell of Birmingham’s Mitchell and Butler. Mitchell was an admirer of the Arts and Crafts Movement and he employed Sidney Barnsley, Norman Jewson and Peter Waals to extend and furnish the house, and to create the terraced gardens to the west of the house, with the orchard beyond. The decorative iron gates are attributed to Norman Jewson. In 1929 the south wing was added to the house by Healing & Overbury (Sidney Barnsley having died in 1926) and the adjacent paddock was included in the garden as a sloping lawn with vegetable garden beyond. Mitchell owned the house until his death in 1965, after which the house was sold to a Martin Crabbe, who sold much of the Arts and Crafts furniture, and removed the top storey of the house and remodelled the hall and staircase. In 1980 the house and part of the grounds were bought by the Community of St Peter and St Paul, and in 1991 the community gifted the estate to the Diocese of Gloucester. The house and the gardens were subsequently restored by the Glenfall House Trust. The house was opened as a conference centre in 1992.