Cuffnells Park

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HCC Site ID: 1009 Parish: Lyndhurst
Designations: CA, Lodge LB II,; NFNP Area: 81ha
Access: Historic site Ownership: Private

Print from New Forest Explorers Guide online

Location and site

Cuffnells Park is one of a group of historic estates which fringe onto the New Forest, south of Lyndhurst. Cuffnells, the most westerly of them, is bordered by the main road from Lyndhurst to Christchurch. The land is undulating, the house was sited on a small platform where the ground falls away quite steeply to the south. There are long views over the forest.

Historic development

In the 18th century the land was owned copyhold, by the Tancred family, and sometime before 1759 a house was built. In the 1760s Sir Thomas Tancred employed Lancelot (Capability) Brown to work on the park (Stroud 1950). In 1784 the estate was enfranchised and sold to the Hon. George Rose as freehold property (VCH). George Rose was Paymaster General, and is known to have entertained George III at Cuffnells. He enlarged the house considerably to a design by John Soane, this included an extensive orangery along the south front (Darley 1999). Rose may have called in Eames to continue Brown’s work, but Eames is quoted as saying he could not improve on nature (Britton & Bayley). Rose was a keen gardener, and Cuffnells became known for specimens of the many exotics that were being introduced into England. George Rose’s son, also George, inherited the estate in the 1818 and, after his death in 1831, it was sold to Sir Edward and Lady Agnes Poore. In the late 1840s Cuffnells was let to Eliza Powell who had lived with her husband at Foxlease, the adjacent estate, until he died in 1840. She sold Foxlease and left Hampshire but, by 1851 Eliza had returned to the New Forest and is recorded with her children to be living at Cuffnells (Census 1851). Then, in 1855, Eliza bought back Foxlease, and Cuffnells was put up for sale (HRO 85M87/1). A year later it was bought by Jonathan Hargreaves and remained in that family until 1948. Jonathan’s son Reginald married Alice Liddell, the Alice of Alice in Wonderland. Following Alice Hargreaves death in 1932, Cuffnells was run as a hotel by her son Caryl, until it was requisitioned during World War II (Roberts). The estate of approximately 165 acres was put up for sale and was bought by Peter Barker-Mill. The mansion, which had been built on a grand scale, was in a poor state, he was not able to sell or let it and, as development was refused, it was demolished. Mr Barker-Mill had also bought the neighbouring estate of Wilverley Park where the mansion was also demolished (Barker-Mill papers). Under Barker-Mill, and Lindsay Masters ownership, the two estates were made into Wilverley Farm comprising three dairy farms.

Current description

Cufnells Park is run as part of Wilverley Farm, with parkland and fenced fields. The north lodge, is listed Grade II, the south lodge and the buildings of Cuffnells Farm remain from the former estate. The walls of the former kitchen garden have been dismantled, and trees allowed to grow in the former enclosed area. The arboretum has been allowed to deteriorate, it is virtually inpenetrable and there is no sign of the earlier winding paths through it.The lake remains surrounded by trees.

Summary

Cuffnells is one of the estates created out of land sold or leased by the Crown when the New Forest was no longer needed for hunting. A house was built for Sir Thomas Tancred before 1759, he employed Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown to improve the park. It was owned by the Rose family from 1784 to 1831, they enlarged the house and made further improvements in the park, which became well known for its collection of trees and shrubs. Cuffnells was bought by Jonathan Hargreaves in 1856 and remained in the family until 1948 when the house proved too big for 20th century requirements. The land was acquired for development and the house was demolished. Since then the land has been farmed with neighbouring Wilverley Park, where the former Coach House was converted to a modern residence, the two parks support three dairy farms and are known as Wilverley Farm.

HGT Research: March 2009


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Lyndhurst Historic site Click for Disclaimer & copyright
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