The house was designed in the Queen Anne style and built for Edmund Beckett, 1st Baron Grimthorpe in 1874. It contains the prototype of the Great Clock in the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster.
The site was acquired by St Albans Council in 1935 when John Henry Taylor was commissioned to design and establish an 18-hole golf course in the grounds. The house became an event venue in the 1970s.
In August 2011, an arson attack resulted in the complete destruction of the Batchwood Tennis and Golf Centre behind the house, though not the house.