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HCC Site ID: 1352 Parish: Bentley
Designations: House LB II* Area: c 60.7 ha
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private

Location and site

Coldrey is situated about 1¾ miles to the south of the village of Lower Froyle. It lies immediately to the north of the A31 with Alton 6 miles to the south and Farnham 6 miles to the north. The house stands in open arable land at the junction of the chalk and Lower greensand belt.

Historic development

Evidence of Roman occupation of the site where Coldrey now stands was found in the mid-twentieth century. Walls and pottery, together with the skeleton of a young girl, were found in the later Pigeonhouse Field which adjoins the southern approach (Wade).
Coldrey first appears in documents in 1253 as the `manor of Colreth’. It was a sub-manor belonging to the Bishop of Winchester and let to tenants. The manor was a farm providing grain for the abbey of Waverley near Farnham. In the 14th century, it was owned by the Colrithe family until the reign of Henry VIII when a descendant, William Mountjoy sold it to William Lyster.  A door way dated c. 1550 and an open kitchen fireplace dated 1450–1550 appear to be the only survivals from this period. The estate changed hands again in 1557 when it was bought by John Lighe, or Leigh, who is thought to have erected the older part of Coldrey house in 1558. Leigh died in 1575 but the estate remained in the possession of the Leigh family until 1629 when it was sold to Sir Humphrey May, and it later came into the possession of various local yeoman families: an Eggar, Robert Baldwin, and Thomas Rothwell who married Elizabeth Burningham of nearby Husseys farm in 1756 (VCH; Hussey).
Thomas Rothwell (died 1805) was probably responsible for the main staircase and the remodelling of the south side of the house to give the existing Georgian frontage. By the early 1800s the house was bought by Robert Newton Lee who became a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire and Justice of the Peace. Sometime early in the 19th century a wing was added to the east to form the present L-shape of the house. After Robert Lee’s death his widow, Mrs. Harriet Lee, farmed Coldrey until her death in 1863.It was then purchased by the Duncan family and used for farming and hop-growing. The Duncan family lived there for two generations until it was sold by Colonel Nigel Duncan in 1939. The estate was purchased by Mr.C.H. Mann together with enough outbuildings, cottages and land to run a farm of 500 acres (202.3ha). (Hussey; Updegraff) He made substantial alterations to the house: the south porch was removed in 1940 so that the main entrance to the house was from the west wing, the dormer windows were removed in 1941, a covered swimming pool was added south-east of the house in about 1960 and a lake, now badly silted, was created to the east in about 1970 (Radley; Carey-Thomas). After Mr. Mann’s death his widow lived in the house for several years. On her death the present owner and grand-daughter of Mr C.H. Mann, Mrs. Victoria Gladstone, inherited the estate.

Current description

The former hopyards, farm buildings, lodge and cottages have now been sold (Zoopla) but the house and garden remain in single ownership. Plans are currently under way for the renovation of the house (Radley). The gardens remain substantially as altered by Mr. C Mann: the kitchen garden retains its three walls with espaliers on the east wall, though the greenhouses are post-war. Several mature trees stand around the south lawn and beyond the kitchen garden to the east there are numbers of large willows and Scots pines. Magnolias, camellias, azaleas and rhododendron plantings remain from the 1960s.


Coldrey house shows evidence of a number of styles; Georgian south front and later 20th century additions. Changed from abbey farm to gentleman farmer’s residence; farming has disappeared, only domestic dwelling remaining. The gardens date from the 19th century to the symmetrical layout of the mid 20thcentury in the swimming pool area with a pergola walk. The large 3-walled kitchen garden  partially cultivated by tenants. Espaliers line the east wall with greenhouse and cold frames in the north-east corner.
HGT Research:  December 2010


Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
HRO 38M49/8/23 1863 Sales particulars
Plan of Coldrey estate from Sales particulars 1863 (HRO 38M49/8/23)
Ordnance Survey (OS) maps from Hampshire County Council
1st ed. 1871 6”
1st ed. 1870-1871 25”
2nd ed. 1896 25”
3rd ed.1910 25”
Landline 2006 1:2500
Hussey, Christopher. 26 Dec 1941 An English Village, Froyle, Hampshire II Country Life
Page, William ed. 1903 Victoria County History Hampshire Vol II
Page, William ed 1911 Victoria County History Hampshire Vol IV
Updegraff, Brenda ed. 2001 Bentley: the way we were. Bentley Millennium Committee
Wade, Major A. 1955. Roman Coldrey Wade’s Historical booklets No.3
 Other Sources
(Radley) Design and Heritage Statement January 2010 by the Radley Partnership of Winchester
Personal communication and access to private photographs: Mr N Carey-Thomas
Electronic Sources  accessed various dates 2010  East Hampshire planning applications accessed January and April 2010 house sales accessed October 2010

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