|HCC Site ID:||1140||Parish:||Hartley Wintney|
|Designations:||HE II*||Area:|| 140 ha registered site,
10 ha garden
|Access:|| Access to Hotel
|Ownership:||Hotel & Conference Centre|
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Sturmy, whose family had held the manor of Elvetham from the mid 13th century, was granted permission in 1359 to inclose land to make a park, which was further enlarged by his nephew William in 1403. The Seymours inherited the estate in 1464 and a descendent, Edward, Earl of Hertford, in 1591 entertained Queen Elizabeth in magnificent style. This entailed the erection in his small park of buildings to accommodate the Queen’s retinue and the creation of a new landscape for her pleasure, comprising a crescent pond set with three ornamented island pavilions.
The estate passed to the Calthorpe family in the middle of the 17th century. In 1740 the house was remodelled and a series of garden enclosures and formal canal were probably added about this time, as they are shown on Francis Simmonds 1791 plan of the estate. William Emes, the landscape designer, took a 21 year lease on Elvetham during the latter part of that period. Although J C Loudon Encyclopaedia of 1822 records Emes as having ‘laid out the park’, there is no clear evidence of this. The house was burnt down in 1840 and rebuilt with a formal terrace, to a design by S S Teulon between 1859 and 1862. Teulon also designed the Water Tower, the bridge, and the church, all registered as Grade II listed buildings. In 1889, The Garden magazine recorded a wide variety of climbers on the walls of the Hall, and a profusion of flowers in the parterre garden, which had lost all sense of formality. William Robinson, the editor of The Garden, favoured the informal style of planting as against the formal Victorian carpet bedding. At Heckfield Place, William Wildsmith carried out Robinson’s ideas, which was where F Jones, the Elvetham gardener, had been an apprentice. There was also mention of the avenue of Irish Yews, initially referred to as the Long Walk, but now called the Broad walk. In 1901 the summerhouse on the top terrace was constructed to give a focal point at the end of the Long Walk. During the same period extra land was acquired to the northwest for New Park, and the Wellingtonia avenue was planted with the intention of continuing it to the A30 road. Permission was not granted as land adjacent to the A30 had been given to the residents of Hartley Wintney for a golf course. Improvements to the ornamental gardens continued, a further formal terrace was added in 1911-12, as was an azalea garden, to designs by William Goldring. Other changes probably carried out around this period were the enclosure of the pleasure gardens by high red-brick walls (listed Grade II) from Lodge farm to the south-west and from the kitchen garden to the north; and the construction of the ha-ha, which continues the line of the outer retaining wall of the lower terrace and separates the ornamental gardens from the park.
In 1953, The Hall and its surrounding gardens were sold first to ICI, then to Lansing Bagnall of Basingstoke. The gardens were restored in 1962 when a croquet lawn and tennis courts were laid out, 80 ornamental trees planted, and improvements made to the kitchen garden. The surrounding parkland is farmed. In August 2001 the Dare family acquired the Hall and its grounds. It has been run as a Conference Centre since the 1960s.
A park of 14th century origin which was landscaped in 1591 to provide a setting for the Elvetham Entertainment for Queen Elizabeth. It was extended, improved, and planted in the 18th and early 19th centuries, possibly with assistance in the late 18 th century from the designer William Emes; and then, from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, when it was given extensive formal and ornamental gardens by S S Teulon and William Goldring, to accompany the building of the present house. The gardens were restored and added to in 1962. The parkland is farmed. The Hall and gardens are now run as a Conference Centre.