House Passed To Charles Gray
The building was completed by March 1719 but sadly Elizabeth Cornelisen died before she could live in it. The house passed to Sarah Creffield who later married Charles Gray (1696 – 1782) in 1727, when the house passed to him and he lived there until his death.
He was a significant figure in the town, being an attorney, a Justice of the Peace and one of its Members of Parliament between 1742 and 1780. He was also a prominent antiquary, being a Trustee of the British Museum and a friend and correspondent of the Essex historian Philip Morant and the famous antiquary, William Stukeley.
These interests may have stimulated his mother-in-law, Mary Webster, to buy him Colchester Castle as a wedding present, adding it to Hollytrees estate which already included the eastern half of what has become Castle Park. Much of Gray’s energies went into the improvement of his house and estate.
He restored the Castle, landscaped the grounds, built the arcade at the north east corner of Hollytrees and planted the trees which give the house its name.