|HCC Site ID:||1439||Parish:||Kings Somborne|
|Designations:|| Staddle barn LB II,
74 m west of Manor House
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Shibley Ltd, Compton Manor Estate|
Photo: Sales details, Knight, Frank & Rutley, HRO 71A041, 1989
Location and Site
Situated on high ground 1 ½ miles south of King’s Somborne village, giving panoramic views over the Test Valley,
Built in 1855 by Thomas Henry Edwards, the house occupies the site of a previous manor house, around 1810. This was either pulled down or substantially extended to give the present dwelling. The house and the surrounding parkland are on an ancient medieval site once well furnished with deer and ponies, and the fishing on the river would have yielded trout, eels and other fish. It is possible that the Deer Park lies beneath all or part of Compton Park today.
Thomas Edwards successfully farmed the estate and owned substantial portions of land in King’s Somborne, being a major employer of village labour. Upon his death in 1860, the estate was left to his twin sons. For reasons not quite clear, the estate began to disintegrate and was sold by auction in 1888.
Since then Compton Manor Estate has had a number of owners and/or occupiers. A pigeon house dated 1726 was noted in the Sales Details of 1888 and a partly walled garden. A ha-ha is also noted. Both features are still there. Prior to the new house in 1855, there were formal gardens with paths. These gave way to parkland. With an emphasis on sporting and shooting amenities, it appears to have been enjoyed primarily as a sporting estate. Over the years it would appear that much of the garden area to the house has been put over to the growing of fruit and vegetables, although in parts traces of a formal pleasure garden remain.
The estate was sold privately to the Sopwith family in 1945. Sir Thomas Sopwith, the well known air pioneer, yachtsman, industrialist and sportsman lived there until his death in 1989 when the whole estate was put on the market. At that time it comprised of 2175 acres (900 ha), with four farmhouses, a lodge, arable and sheep farming and woodland. The approach to the house was described as along an avenue of lime trees that followed the same curving drive, with wide grass verges planted with spring bulbs. A cattle grid marked the entrance to the formal grounds and the drive terminated in a wide gravel sweep in front of the house.
The house and park has stayed in the same ownership since the 1989-90 sale when the estate was broken up into various lots. In 2004 Compton House Estate is managed by an estate manager for the owner(s) and is a popular venue for shooting and fishing breaks. The woodland area has been well managed and there has been a continued planting of woods and amenity trees. The garden is laid out for ease of maintenance.
Present Compton House built 1855 overlooking the Test Valley, on an ancient deer park probably still beneath the site. A 19th century partly walled garden and ha-ha and a 18th century pigeon house remain. The large estate with a farming tradition known primarily as a sporting venue with shooting and excellent fishing in the chalk streams of the River Test.
HGT Research: December 2004