|HCC Site ID:||1410||Parish:||Amport|
|Designations:||House LBII||Area:||Park & garden 40.46 ha (100 acres)|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and Site
Cholderton Park lies to the east of the village of Cholderton which is across the county border in Wiltshire, and south of the A303.
The name Cholderton, mentioned in Domesday Book, indicates that it is an area where there has been farming since ancient times. Little is known about Cholderton Park Lodge until about 1800 when a red brick house was built, with an access drive to the south front. The Amport Tithe map of 1839 shows the modern layout of fields, the house surrounded by ornamental plantations, and to the north an avenue of Scotch Pines leading to the turnpike road (today’s A303). In 1838 the estate was bought by Reverend Waddham Knatchbull, who was possibly already one of the tenants on the estate. Knatchbull and his family lived in the house and farmed the estate, in 1883 introducing a fold of highland cattle which were kept for ornamental purposes as well as food.
The estate was bought in 1885 by Henry Charles Stephens, son of Henry Stephens the founder of the firm Stephens Ink. In the next few years Stephens bought more land in the district and made many changes to Cholderton Park Lodge house and grounds. He changed the driveway to make the approach to the house at the back and, about 150 metres north west of the house, he built a walled kitchen garden with ornamental pond and hothouses. He made several new plantations, belts of woodland, an orchard and an arboretum. In 1901 he planted golden yews in the shape of a star to commemorate the death of Queen Victoria. On the western edge of the park Stephens developed a large model farm, including very comfortable cottages for the labourers, and he established pedigree breeds of animals.
After the death of Henry Charles’ in 1918, his daughter Margaret lived in the Lodge with her husband Captain Lewis Edmunds. Because of family feuding and the financial recession in 1933, the estate was put up for sale, however it was withdrawn and Margaret was able to buy the bulk of the Cholderton estate and the farm, and to pass it on to her son P M Lewis Edmunds who continued to manage the estate although not living in the house. Between 1950 and 1970 the Lodge was leased to various institutions and then was left empty for 15 years. Henry Edmunds the great grandson of Henry Charles Stephens, succeeded to the estate in 1975 and ten years later moved back into the house.
The present owner runs the estate as a Victorian Farm placing emphasis on the sustainability of wild life following a Biodiversity Action Plan drawn up in 1988. In 2001 the estate totalled approximately 1,000 ha, of which the parkland and gardens are approximately 100ha and woodland 150ha, the remainder is farmed. Generally the garden is maintained in an informal manner, with widespread planting in the parkland, including an avenue of walnuts along the drive and a beech hedge ‘maze’ between the courtyard of the house and the walled garden. The star of golden yews was cut down c. 2000 to prevent the cattle being poisoned.
Formerly a Georgian red brick country house surrounded by parkland and gardens. Bought in 1885 by Henry Charles Stephens who commissioned major alterations to the house and offices, added a walled garden with a deep circular pool, planted many trees in the park and developed a model farm and stud. Today owned by Stephens’ great grandson Henry Edmunds, who is maintaining the Victorian model farm following a Biodiversity Action Plan, and continuing to plant trees. The garden is informal and needs some restoration.
HGT Research: April 2001