The house and garden were built in the late 18th century for the Shaw-Lefevre family. Late in the 19th century, it was famed for its displays of carpet bedding on the terrace overlooking the lake, which were masterminded for Lord Eversley by the Head Gardener, William Wildsmith. Many of Wildsmith’s apprentices became Head Gardeners on various Hampshire estates.
1899 and1901, Seldon Wornum designed and laid out an Italian terrace and garden and a Dutch garden for Sir Lionel Phillips. Further additions were made by Robert Weir Schultz between 1901 and 1904, including an orangery, greenhouses, summerhouses, and boathouses. In 1906, Gertrude Jekyll sketched the planting scheme for Schultz’s design of the wild garden.
Elvetham is renowned for the Earl of Hertford’s extravagant entertainment for Elizabeth I in 1591. Many alterations were made between that event and the destruction of the house by fire in 1840. Between 1859 and 1862, S S Teulon designed the new house and Italian terrace for the Calthorpe family.