Past and Future

Harlaxton’s Past

Gregory Gregory's vision for the manor was influenced by his own travels around England and Europe and his desire to merge multiple architectural styles into one. He had a passion for collecting art from around the world and over time amassed a large collection of furniture, tapestries, books, and other pieces.

Gregory attended Rugby School in Warkwickshire as a child and then went to Christ Church College, Oxford, but left before receiving his degree. He lived in France and Italy for three years before settling back in England. He stayed fairly active throughout his life – he received a commission as a major in the Second or Southwell Regiment of the local militia in 1809 and was then promoted to lieutenant colonel in 1813. He was also listed as a fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society, a fellow of the Zoological Society of London, and even acted as the sheriff of Nottinghamshire for a time.

Gregory was a bachelor with no children, and when he died the manor was passed on to an older cousin. The manor continued to be passed through the family until 1937, when it was purchased by entrepreneur and social campaigner, Violet Van der Elst. Violet made her fortune investing in beauty preparations like Shavex, the first brushless shave cream, but her true passion was campaigning against capital punishment. While much of her wealth went towards this campaign, she still spent a great deal of money fixing up the manor and providing many of its distinct features, such as the massive chandelier in the Great Hall and the lion statues on the front circle.

After Violet, the manor was passed on to the Society of Jesus, who eventually leased the property to Stanford University. In 1970, Dr. Wallace Graves sub-leased the manor for the University of Evansville and it was then purchased in 1978 by Dr. William Ridgway. Dr. Ridgway officially transferred ownership of the manor to the University of Evansville in 1978 and it has been in the hands of the University ever since. For many years the manor has been the beginning of many students’ journeys and has served as the start of their discovery of Europe, and then the rest of the world!

Harlaxton’s Future


To empower each student to think critically, act bravely, serve responsibly, and live meaningfully in a changing world.


Harlaxton College, the overseas study center of the University of Evansville, is rec­ognized nationally for developing students' personal and professional competencies, cul­tivating critical and creative thinkers, and producing ethical, global citizens equipped to thrive in a world of complexity and change. We accomplish this by attracting and retaining talented and motivated students who succeed within a diverse, supportive, and sustainable environment.