Burgate Manor, Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

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HCC Site ID. 1110 Parish: Fordingbridge
Designations: House LB II, TPO 1017 Area: c7.3 ha
Access: No Public Access Ownership: The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust

Location and Site

Burgate Manor lies on the outskirts of Fordingbridge, an important crossing point of the River Avon. The bridge is known to have been in existence by 1286. The house is sited on the north east edge of the town, and stands on high ground overlooking the valley of the Avon, at the point where the river has a sharp bend, and is embanked. There are extensive water meadows as the river is liable to flood. To the north of the house there is open land. Since the 1970s it has been bounded on the west by the Fordingbridge bypass (OS 1:10000 post 1950).

Burgate Manor, bridge over the River Avon

Burgate Manor, bridge over the River Avon

Historical Development

Burgate manor is recorded in the Domesday Book, as being held under the King, In 1446 it passed to the Bulkeley family and later, through marriage, to members of the Coventry family. It remained in the possession of Coventry heirs for three centuries. The Coventry family also owned several other pieces of land in Hampshire. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries parts of the estate were sold, and it was much reduced in size. Frequently it was let with hunting and sporting rights(HRO 8M59).
Burgate House is recorded on maps of the eighteenth century, and in the twentieth century as Burgate Manor (OS 1st & 4th eds.). Early in the nineteenth century the house was considerably extended in Regency Gothic style, and is said to be the third house on the site (HCC 1990s account of Burgate Manor). In 1898 the large estate of agricultural and park land was for sale divided into 75 lots (HRO 35M78/E4). No overall buyer was found, but by the mid twentieth century many parts of the cultivated land and water meadows had been sold independently, and the estate reduced in size from over 1,000 acres (app. 404ha) to 114 acres, (46ha). In 1939, Burgate was for sale again divided into 17 lots. The two lodges, water meadows, agricultural land and more land suitable for building, already partly developed with residential property, were sold separately. The proposed line of a Fordingbridge bypass on the west was indicated, but the road was not opened until 1975 (HRO 69M97/12). The house, garden and fishing rights on the River Avon were bought by Mr.Bowden, and in 1945, came into the possession of Mr Mitchell Hedges, a Big Game Fisherman. It was developed as the Eley Game Conservancy Trust and is now the HQ of The Game Conservancy Trust, with a purpose built centre in part of the old walled garden (site visit 22.10.2014).

Burgate Manor, Bend in River Avon 2014

Burgate Manor, Bend in the River Avon. Images: October 2014

Current description

Burgate is a small estate near Fordingbridge which has been developed as the HQ of the Game Conservancy Trust. There is good fishing on the River Avon, and suitable habitats for rearing and preserving game-birds. Archives are stored in the house, and the surrounding grounds are maintained.


Burgate manor is recorded in Domesday Book. From the seventeenth century it passed through the Bulkeley family and later, by marriage, to the Coventry family. It remained in the possession of the Coventry heirs until 1939. Early maps record a house on the site, but there are few details of the development of the estate, until the 1st OS 25” map of 1871. A large amount of land was sold between 1895 and 1939 when the estate, much reduced in size was sold. Since 1945 Mr Mitchell Hedges, a big game fisherman, has developed Burgate as the HQ of the Game Conservancy Trust, which researches and advises on the conservation of national game species. Archives are stored in the house and there is a purpose built centre in part of the walled garden.


The site reflects its earlier importance which took advantage of the water meadows, the fishing and woodland, as well as the prominence of the house standing on high ground overlooking the River Avon.


HCC Hampshire County Council
HRO Hampshire Record Office
OHM online 1791 Milne (http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/webmap/hantsmap/hants.htm)
1871 OS 1st ed. 25”
1897 OS 2nd ed.6”
1947 OS 4th ed. 25”
1990s research by Helen Burroughs
8M59//Coventry papers
35M78/E4 1898 Sale particulars & plan
69M97/12 1939 Sale particulars & plan
Other sources
22.10.2014 Site visit and personal comments by Craig Morris

Our address

Fordingbridge No Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
50.9311555, -1.7844253000000663

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