As well as fine facilities, Hartsbourne boasts a rich historical past. Records suggest that Hartsbourne was not always the warm, welcoming venue it is today. In the mid-18th century, the then coach house was known as 'The Thieves Kitchen', a nod to the owner's friendly relationship with notorious highwayman Dick Turpin.
Having been a hideout for criminals, the early 19th century saw Hartsbourne fall into more savoury hands. Hartsbourne Manor-Place was the family seat of Baronet Sir Thomas Thompson who – having served with the great Admiral at the battles of Nile and Copenhagen – was one of Horatio Nelson's most trusted allies.
A more glamorous period followed in the early 20th century as Hartsbourne Manor became the country residence of American actress Maxine Elliott. Counting King Edward VII as one of her most adoring fans, the beautiful socialite turned Hartsbourne into something of a party venue until she left in 1920. Winston Churchill, Lord Birkenhead and financier Pierpoint Morgan were all said to have been hosted at Hartsbourne, as well as Ms Elliott's fiancé – the multiple Wimbledon champion Captain Tony Wilding who later died in action during World War One.
When the Wembley Golf Club were evicted to make room for a certain twin-towered stadium, they made their new home at Hartsbourne in 1928 before the outbreak of war reignited the manor's military connection. The RAF commandeered Hartsbourne Manor in 1940 to house the officers stationed at nearby Bentley Priory – the intelligence hub of Britain's airborne defence during World War Two.
After the war, the club was purchased by Mr CJ Stillitz, the founder of the present club, who gave us our current name - Hartsbourne Country Club. Though today the clubhouse is a much altered and extended hunting lodge for the comfort of our membership, the surrounding Hertfordshire countryside remains unspoiled – meaning today's members are enjoying the same spectacular views as residents .