|HCC Site ID:||1437||Parish:||Hursley|
|Designations:||SINC House LB II*||Area:||Large|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||IBM|
Location and Site
Hursley Park lies immediately to the west of Hursley village and the surrounding countryside on undulating chalk scarpland, with distinctive open fields to the north and more enclosed, treed, landscape to the south. The village is approximately five miles south west of Winchester.
Hursley Park’s glory lies in its richly wooded parkland which can be traced back to a medieval deer park with pale which surrounded a Norman Castle belonging to the Bishop of Winchester. This was replaced by a Tudor house, the Great Lodge, which at one time belonged to Richard Cromwell, son of the Lord Protector. In the early eighteenth century a Georgian house was built by Sir William Heathcote. The park, too, underwent changes. It was restored and restocked with deer to create an informal landscaped setting for the house. Close to the house a lawn was created next to a walled garden. Pleasure Grounds and a sunken garden were added in the next two centuries. Gertrude Jekyll gave advice on garden plants. A major change took place in World War II when the house was requisitioned for the Senior Staff of Vickers Aviation. New buildings were erected and the park was not properly maintained. This change of use became permanent post-war when IBM became owners of the south east part of the park including the house.
The north east part of the park is still privately owned while the south east part is the UK centre of IBM. As a reminder of its historic origins parts of the Park Pale can still be seen along the Hursley road and, being a Scheduled Monument, is protected. The House too remains. But inevitably the Park around it has acquired new functions. Office buildings have proliferated where once stood the walled garden and Pleasure Grounds. Around them lie car parks and newly created access roads. Sports facilities take up parkland. Fortunately IBM have recognised the historic significance of the Park and the necessity of maintaining it. They have sought advice and have instituted a policy for the preservation and replanting of the trees so that the essential characteristics of the parkland have been restored and are being maintained.The sunken garden is in Japanese style and almost the last designed feature that remains.
A medieval, deer park, giving rise to richly wooded parkland. Early 18th century landscaped park with a later sunken garden: Gertrude Jekyll planting plans, 1925. A Tudor house replaced by a Georgian one built by Sir William Heathcote. Owned by IBM post 1945, new office buildings added in the grounds. Parts of the park still privately owned and IBM has a policy for preservation and re-planting.
HGT Research; December 2002