The Sorrel Story



Sorrel Group founder, William Henry Arkell, with the Duke of Gloucester’s estate management team in 1861

Sorrel Group traces its history back to a master builder, William Henry Arkell, the great, great grandfather of the current CEO, who set up his business in 1872.

William had been a servant, known as a tied worker, for the Duke of Gloucester. He was a skilled builder experienced in estate management, stone wall construction and decorating.



William Henry Arkell in front of the firm’s yard in Cheltenham circa 1910

In the following years, changes in legislation such as the Master & Servant Act of 1867 and the Trade Union Act of 1871, made a tied servant more costly to keep so William and his colleagues were made ‘redundant’.

With the skills William had amassed, in 1872 he started his own business as a builder. Records show that William rented a house on the Duke of Gloucester’s estate and appeared to have been rehired as a contractor.

William took on a yard in Cheltenham where he hired five workers and his son, also named William.



Fast forward 130 years and the business was passed on to Mark English when he took the helm following his father’s retirement. It was at this point that the company name changed to Sorrel, Mark’s maternal grandmother’s maiden name.

Sorrel Group has experienced rapid growth since then with the introduction of a range of new services.

Though the company remains in the hands of the family with Mark’s sons, Adam English, and Jack English, and daughter, Daisy English, joining the business, it has expanded its workforce and now employs 20 people.

Sorrel Group is a company steeped in heritage that cares about your heritage too.

Let us help your iconic building become part of your corporate story.