History Wivenhoe House was originally constructed in 1759 for opulent Colchester merchant and active politician Isaac Martin Rebow. His descendant and successor, General Rebow, returned from the Peninsular Wars with cork oak cuttings hidden in his boots, and these very trees stand tall in the grounds to this very day! However, having survived 'The Great Colchester Earthquake' of 1884, Wivenhoe House, like many other historic buildings in the area, was requisitioned by the Government during the War. Notable 20th-century figures, including Queen Elizabeth II and Nelson Mandela, were guests at Wivenhoe House, shortly after the University of Essex acquired the building in 1964. Today the splendid old house enjoys its new lease of life as a 4-star hotel.