At the far end of the drawing room there is a very small room, known as the Geraldine Room, which contains all that remains of a glorious Tudor ceiling. It was put in place by Sir Anthony Browne, the rich courtier to whom in 1547, nine years after the death of Henry Courtenay, Henry VIII gave the house. The ceiling is decorated with beautiful low reliefs, some of them bearing Anthony Browne's initials. As Sir Anthony Browne died in 1448, we know that the ceiling must date from 1547/48. 

In 1542 the king had also given the recently widowed Sir Anthony the hand in marriage of the 15-year-old Lady Elizabeth FitzGerald. She was closely related to the royal family and from the age of about 10 had joined household of her royal cousins, the princesses and future queens Mary and Elizabeth. It was probably there that she was seen by Henry Howard, the Earl of Surrey, already famous by the age of 26 as both a soldier and a poet. Greatly struck by the child's beauty he wrote a sonnet with the title Description and Praise of his Love Geraldine. It became famous and gave her a place in English literary history as the Fair Geraldine. The sonnet ends with the couplet:

Her beauty of kind, her virtues from above; 

Happy is he that can obtain her love. 

To accompany her husband's AB there are reliefs in the Tudor ceiling displaying the letters EB, Elizabeth Browne, the married name of the child called by Henry Howard 'his love Geraldine'. Hence the name the Geraldine Room. The unusual shape of the room suggests that it may have been the minstrels' gallery to the Great Hall. 

The Geraldine ceiling with its heraldic reliefs once extended to the far end of the Drawing room (what would have been the full length of the Great Hall) and must have been a spectacular feature. A chart dated 1730 shows the design of the entire ceiling, so in a major act of vandalism it must have been destroyed after that time; in all likelihood when the modern Neoclassical decorative scheme was installed in the Stone Hall and Raleigh Stairs in the 1740s/50s.

In 2021 West Horsley Place Trust was awarded £13,648 by Historic England towards  surveys and investigations which will inform vital conservation repairs, and this research will also enhance understanding about ceilings of this type. Once our conservation repair plans are in place we will hope to secure further funding to carry out the works required to preserve this treasure for future generations.