Efford House

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HCC Site ID: 1010 Parish: Hordle
Designations: House LB II* Area:
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Not known (2014)

Location and site

Efford House and parkland lies to the east of the village of Everton, and originally straddled the Lymington to Christchurch Road (A337) with the river Avon and a tributary forming the eastern and southern boundaries, and the Wainsford Road a short northern boundary. The house is built on a raised terrace, and is situated on the northern side of the road on high ground overlooking the parkland, where it commanded, according to the sale notice of 1936, ‘magnificent sea views of the Isle of Wight’. The parkland around the house, kitchen garden, and lake has little changed since the mid 19th century, which is now viewed for planning purposes as the site boundary.

Historic development

Efford had manorial status in the 11th century. During the centuries it passed to various owners, but lost this status in the 17th century, when it appears to have reverted to a Farm. The estate was released to Colonel Shedden in 1829, who built the present house in 1838 on a green field site. The Colonel died in 1843 when the estate was split between 2 main groups of beneficiaries, who sold the complete estate to Reginald Richard Hastings and his wife, the Marchioness of Hastings, in 1846. The easterly avenue with other parts of the ornamental grounds were laid out by the Marchioness. In 1853 the estate was sold to Warren William Richard Peacocke, who added the conservatory, built the ice house, added the orchard and developed the kitchen garden and installed greenhouses. Sir Jas Beethom Whitehead acquired the estate in 1907, extended it in 1925 and 1928 and had an extended lease on the corn mill. It was during his occupancy that a cricket pitch and tennis courts were added. The estate was for sale in 1936. In 1951 the Ministry of Agriculture acquired the bulk of the estate for a Horticultural Research Station. Part of the estate south of the A337 has been retained by the Research Station, the northern half with the house and park was for sale in 1997/8.

Current description

The main house had been the offices for the Horticultural Research Station. It is assumed these were vacated in 1997/8. The main approach is from the Lymington Road lodge the first straight section is lined with hornbeam hedges. The drive then curves around a lake on the easterly side, with a very wet marshy area supporting dying trees on the other side. Grass verges backed by shrubs and trees line approach drive to the front of the house, which faces west. There was a car park on the right hand forecourt. The approach from the Wainsford Road was rough and rarely used. The outbuildings and stables were used as a First Aid Centre in 1996.
The open parkland was to the south of Efford House with the cricket pitch directly below the house. This is now rough lawn which had been regularly mown and kept tidy. The tennis courts to the east and north were sold and a house has been built. The avenue to the east and a pathway from the formal garden to Efford Farm had been maintained. The research establishment had planted trees for experimental purposes in this area, some of the previous woodland had been retained (1996).
The walled kitchen garden is overgrown and is dissected by a row of conifers. The walls appear to be in good condition. A large number of concrete beds, used as raised beds, and a row of galvanised roofed sheds along one wall still exist. One or two of the sheds are still used to store mowing equipment. To the south east of the house the small formal overgrown garden is surrounded by yew hedges, with an empty fountain in the centre and three flowering cherry trees. Many trees fell during the storms of 1987 and 1990, there are still some fine specimens.

Summary

Efford is a mid 19th century house and Parkland with vistas to the Isle of Wight. Originally 147 ha extended in early 20th century to 220 ha, now much reduced. Small formal area in front of house, walled kitchen garden, lake, approach drive and lawn to south of the house flanked with fine shrubs and trees; woodland to the east.

HGT Research: January 1998


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