|HCC Site ID:||1515||Parish:||Curdridge|
|Designations:||SINC||Area:||Was 45 ha|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:|| YMCA Training Centre/
National Council of the YMCA
Location and site
Fairthorne Manor is situated in an area of gently undulating lowlands underlain by sands, loams, gravels and clays. It is approximately one mile south east of Botley and lies off the A3051 Botley to Fareham road.
Roman and Saxon remains have been found on the site of Fairthorne. It was part of a larger estate before the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and until the middle of the 18th century. Between 1805-6 William Cobbett purchased Fairthorn farm and estate and leased it to John Mears. Cobbett planted many trees, and stocked the land with game for shooting and hare coursing. In 1854 Clement Milward QC, Treasurer to the Middle Temple, built the Victorian House to the west of Fairthorn farmhouse, on a raised embankment, with a view to the River Hamble in the south-west. The 1870s edition O.S. map shows walled gardens, orchards and greenhouses near the house; woodland to the north and east; a fishpond further east on a small tributary feeding into the Hamble river, which was screened from the house by trees; open lawn immediately to the south with isolated trees planted and a gravel pit; and a boathouse and quay by the banks of the River Hamble. By the end of the 19th century, the current owners, the Burrells, had planted a belt of trees and a walk above the flood plain, and a magnificent horse chestnut avenue along the rear drive. Sir Charles Barrington, in the 1920s and 30s, planted more varieties of trees. In 1940, the army moved in, while the Barringtons were still in residence. They died in 1943. The house was used as a map centre for the invasion of Normandy. After the war, the estate was bought, stripped of its timber, and sold soon afterwards to the National Council of the YMCA. It has since become known as Fairthorne Manor.
The basic structure of the estate is still in place, although only a few standards of Cobbett’s trees remain. There has been a small ‘pet’ farm in the walled garden, the walls of which have been reduced from 15 feet to a more manageable height for safety reasons. A heating system was found during this work. However, in 2008 plans for a building were submitted. There were still fruit trees in the orchard. The old farm buildings, some of which probably date from Cobbett’s time, are used for various activities. The sunken rose garden by the house has a tuck shop and seating. A campfire area has been constructed in the gravel pit, which has been tiered and can seat 1000 children. Recently, when digging out another pond, more Roman remains were found. Heald and Pembroke houses have been built to provide accommodation to the north and north east of the manor house; a large boathouse has replaced the old one; from 1972, a golf course and clubhouse to the northeast, has been rented out to a local group. The river feeding the fishpond to the east, was dammed in 1970, and is now used for canoeing and swimming. The rest of the grounds are used for various outdoor pursuits.
The walled garden has been built in (noted 2012) and other changes to the grounds are likely to have taken place but there has not been a visit since 2008 for verification.
An early Roman and Saxon settlement; part of a larger estate until the 18th century; farm and woodland purchased by William Cobbett in 1805; mid-late Victorian House and landscaped park for the next 90 years, map centre during World War 2, and now the house and grounds are used as a training centre for young people.
Research: April 1999, acknowledgement to ‘Know your Village’ Series No 3 The Botley and Curdridge Local History Society, and the History of Fairthorne, Past and Present by June Jones. Updated November 2002 and briefly, 2008