Grove Place Retirement Village (Atherley School, Grove Place)

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HCC Site ID: 1464 Parish: Nursling & Rownhams
Designations: House LB I Area:
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private Retirement Home

Location and Site

Lies to the west of the A3057 from Romsey to Southampton and to the north of the M27.

Historic development

The medieval history of Grove Place is confused by its incorporation into the manor of Southwells which, in the 15th century, came into the possession of the Dean and Canons of St Georges’s Chapel, Windsor. In the 1520s John Mill, a Southampton merchant, bought several estates in the area and his son, Thomas Mill, leased from the Abbey of Romsey ‘the house and a garden of six acres at Grove Place’. When Thomas died in 1560, the house and garden were inherited by his son, Richard Mill. Just a year later, James Paget, the son-in-law of the late John Mill, took a lease of the manor of Southwells from the dean and canons of Windsor for 81 years, and it was Paget who built the existing Elizabethan house of Grove Place. The medieval house, about 100 metres south west of the new house, remained in occupation until the early 17th century.

In 1590 William Paulet, a son-in-law of James Paget, transferred the remaining term of the lease of the manor of Southwells to Richard Mill, which then included the leases of both houses. In 1622 Grove Place was described in a terrier as“… including all the New House, Old House, outhouses, orchards, gardens, yards and backsides, arable lands, pastures, meadows and woodgrounds that do lie within all, or any of the bounds aforesaid, … as parcell the said tenement called Grove Place.” About this time the lime avenue was planted.

In 1630 the manor was sold to King Charles I who granted it to Henry Knollys. Members of the family occupied Grove Place until 1751 when Robert Knollys died without a male heir. Ownership then reverted to the Mill family, they kept most of the farmlands and leased the Elizabethan mansion with 88 acres. About 1813 it was leased by Dr Edward Middleton, he adapted the house and grounds for use as a private lunatic asylum. It continued to be run as an asylum until 1855, when the licence to operate was withdrawn. The mansion then remained empty until the freehold was bought by Viscount Palmerston in 1861, and leased as a farmhouse. In 1895 it was bought by Colonel de Sales la Terriere with 65 acres, he restored the house and created gardens to complement the Elizabethan building. East of the house he made three new formal garden enclosures. To the west he reused the former alignments and terraced the walled ‘airing’ court of the asylum and planted it with formal beds; on the north side of the house he made a rose garden and a tennis court; an outer forecourt was reinstated in front of the house and shelter belts were planted round the open parkland.

De Sales la Terriere sold the property in 1906. Subsequent owners maintained the layout of the gardens until, divided into 12 lots, it was sold again in 1949. In 1961 it was bought by Northcliffe school, buildings were inserted into parts of the garden, flower beds were not well cultivated and some hedges were allowed to grow unchecked. The double lime avenue, a major feature throughout the history of Grove Place, was badly damaged in the gales of 1987 and 1990; since then the avenue has been replanted for the third time. In 1995 the Atherley School replaced Northcliffe School, and more of the gardens were taken up with buildings for classrooms and other facilities.

Current Description

The Atherley School moved out and the site was sold again to the present owners, Renaissance LifeCare,for development as retirement accommodation and Care Home Some historic features have been reinstated but inevitably others have been removed.


Existing Elizabethan house built around 1561 at Nursling in the Test Valley. First half of 19th century, made into a private lunatic asylum. Bought in 1895 by Colonel de Sales la Terriere, who restored the interior and created more extensive gardens. Occupied 1961-2006 by schools, who built class room blocks in the gardens, playing fields and tennis courts. Some listed features. Now a Care Home, owned by Renaissance LifeCare. Some historic features remain.

HGT Research (collated): July 2007

Our address

Nursling & Rownhams No Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
50.949164066273106, -1.471969485282898

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