History, Facts and Features
Harlaxton in History
- Herlavestune (estate or farm of Herelaf) is mentioned in the Domesday Book.
- William de Mortimer builds first church on property.
- Land is owned by the Mortimers of Norforlk.
- Edmund de Swynford builds the “old” manor house. Fortified by a moat, the manor is used as a hunting lodge by John O’Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, son of Edward III.
- Daniel de Ligne (d. 1658), Flemish refugee from religious persecution, purchases Harlaxton for £8,000. He is later knighted by James I and serves as High Sheriff of Lincolnshire.
- Last of direct De Ligne descendants, Daniel de Ligne, dies (1666-1730). Estate passes to Anne Orton (1713-1785), great- great-grandaughter of Sir Daniel de Ligne.
- George Gregory (1697-1758) marries Anne Orton and becomes lord of the manor. They have four sons: George (taking the name George de Ligne Gregory, 1740-1822), William (taking the name William Gregory Williams, 1742-1814), Edward (1743-1824) and Daniel (1747-1819).
- George de Ligne Gregory inherits his father’s estates and also, in 1781, the Williams estates of his aunt, Susanna Gregory (1704-1781), including land at Nottingham, Rempstone, Harlaxton, Denton, Radford, and Stanton-on-the-Wolds.
- Original manor reported as desolate but containing a considerable collection of art.
- George de Ligne Gregory builds Hungerton Hall as his residence.
- Gregory Gregory Williams (1786-1854), son of William Gregory Williams, inherits the estates of his father and uncle, George de Ligne Gregory. Residing at Hungerton Hall, he designs a new manor to house his collection of architectural pieces and furniture.
- Gregory Gregory dies before the new manor is fully completed.
- The original manor is demolished, leaving an Elizabethan entranceway on Rectory Road in the village. A stone balustrade, iron gates, and two lions with family shields from the old manor can be seen in the Manor grounds today.
- Harlaxton is home to the Machine Gun Corps and Royal Flying Corps/RAF during World War One.
- Violet Van der Elst purchases Harlaxton.
- Harlaxton is operated by the RAF during World War Two.
- Harlaxton is sold to the Society of Jesus and used as a seminary.
- Stanford University, in California, leases Harlaxton as the site for its Stanford in Britain program.
- The University of Evansville leases Harlaxton as the home for a new international study center.
- Dr. William Ridgway, trustee of the University of Evansville, purchases Harlaxton and 105 acres of surrounding land from the Society of Jesus.
- Dr. Ridgway transfers ownership of Harlaxton to the University of Evansville and permanently establishes Harlaxton College.
- With the generous support of donors, the University of Evansville acquires an additional 192 acres of farmland, lake and woodland to the front of Harlaxton Manor. The Harlaxton College campus now totals 297 acres.
Harlaxton by the Numbers
- Travel time by train from Grantham to London.
- Number of members of the Harlaxton Society, our official alumni organization (5,300 are from the University of Evansville).
- Approximate number of total Harlaxton alumni.
- Number of students and others in residence at Harlaxton during the summer.
- Average number of students in residence at Harlaxton each fall and spring semester.
- Average number of these students who are in an Honors program.
- Proportion of Harlaxton students who are from the University of Evansville.
- Student to Faculty Ratio at Harlaxton.
- Number of weekends (out of 12 available) occupied by college-sponsored or independent student travel.
- Level (out of 5) of student satisfaction with the Meet-a-Family experience.
- Students (out of 5) who, after Harlaxton, say they better understand why people have different social and cultural values and accept those differences.
- Students (out of 5) who, after Harlaxton, say they are more comfortable meeting people from different social, racial, religious, and cultural backgrounds.
A permanent Harlaxton-based, British faculty is augmented by visiting professors from participating American universities. All support staff—food service, housekeeping, maintenance, transport, gardens, security—are British. All administrative staff are British, except for an American principal, Dean of Students and two interns.
All students, in the regular semesters, take a six-credit interdisciplinary core course in British Studies taught by the British faculty and two or three classes in chosen academic disciplines taught by visiting American faculty.
Experiential learning is important at Harlaxton, complementary to serious classroom work. As one British professor puts it: “We read about it, then we visit it, touch it, feel it.” An extensive program of field trips and student travel is integrated with classroom learning. College-organized travels go to London, Lincoln, Southwell, Stamford, York, Oxford, Stonehenge and Bath, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Ireland, Paris, and Rome-Florence-Venice, in addition to specific sites related to specific courses.
A unique feature of the Harlaxton Program is its integration of all facets of the student experience toward the end of developing responsible global citizens. Because we are small, because students and faculty all live in the same house, because all take the same interdisciplinary course in British history and culture, and because we dedicate ourselves to this integrative mission 24/7, it is a fact of Harlaxton life that learning never stops. And so the classroom is deliberately linked to travels, to experiences of host families and the local culture, to residence in one of the great historic structures of Britain, to student development programs, and to building skills in intercultural understanding.
During World War I Harlaxton was offered as a school for trench warfare and training on the new technology of the machine gun. In World War II it was requisitioned as headquarters for a unit of the First British Airborne Division—the ill-fated paratroopers who assaulted Arnhem, “a bridge too far,” and lost four men in every five. In both wars, the “Harlaxton Aerodrome” out back played a significant role in the Allied victory.
Harlaxton College offers a beautiful location in “real Britain,” the rural East Midlands, but is just an hour by train from London. As Harlaxton students quickly discover, it is just a short journey, whether by train or air, from the exciting towns and cities of Europe.