|HCC Site ID:||1127||Parish:||Crondall|
Location and Site
Itchel House and garden are situated south of the A287 link road between the M3 junction at Hook and Farnham, and Aldershot, and north west of the village of Crondall. It is categorisation as ‘open downland’ is suggested by archaeological evidence that this has been an historical landscape of ‘fields bounded by tracks and lanes’ since medieval times. The major period of formal enclosure in this area, from 1730 to 1800, appears to have been by Act of Parliament. The house and garden stand on slightly higher ground than the former parkland to the north.
The manor of ltchel is first mentioned in the Domesday Survey under the ownership of the Bishop of Winchester. In the 13th century, free warren was granted, and in the following century a deer park was licensed and extended. During this period a number of prelates, notably the Giffards who lived at the manor, also accommodated others, as it was also used as a stopping-off place as a number of transactions are recorded in the ecclesiastical registers. In the mid-late 16th century, Henry Wriothesley the 2nd Earl of Southampton, purchased Itchel Manor where he later died. A century later, his grandson, the 4th Earl, sold the Manor to Dr Robert Mason, an MP for Christchurch and Winchester. His family retained the manor until around the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century, when the Bathurst family purchased the estate and rebuilt the old Tudor mansion on the same site. By 1773, the estate was owned by Henry Maxwell. Butterfield noted, in his History of Crondall, that ‘the grounds were laid out by the great landscape gardener, ‘Capability Brown’’. Although no evidence has been found for this, it does suggest that the deer park, or at least part of it, was landscaped during this period. By the time the 1st series of Ordnance Survey map was produced, in the early 19th century the name was shown as Ewshot House and the area of parkland extended north to Itchell Mill Springs. In 1806, a farmhouse was built adjacent to the manor house and a new road was created south of the complex, instead of running just north of the house, that is now a footpath. It was 10 years later that Maxwell died and bequeathed the Manor to the Lefroy family when it seems to have reverted to its former name of Itchel.
Itchel House and Farm became an integral site, although each had separate front and back entrances. Between the new southern road and the dwellings there were walled kitchen gardens with greenhouses, and an orchard. There was a well in the farmyard, and a hop kiln was adjacent the new road. There were belts of trees on the north and western boundaries with scattered trees through the park. Avenues of trees were planted on the main approach drive from the north; to Itchell Mill Springs; and from the Home Farm to the new road. It would appear that Itchell Mill Springs may have been landscaped as the area was linked to the house by an avenue and pathway and is shown with a walk around a canal feature. A Lodge was built on the north western approach, on the road to Odiham near Rye Common, and another lodge at the beginning of the 20th century, opposite Itchel Lane that leads to Crondall.
In 1937, an advertisement for letting Itchel Manor included: greenhouses, conservatories and exceptionally pleasing gardens, rockery, 2 tennis lawns, cricket ground and swimming pool. The whole site covered an area of 17 acres and was described as overlooking well-timbered park-line pastures.
In 1975, an article in the Hampshire Magazine gives an account of Itchell Manor – past and present. At that time a member of the Lefroy family was still in residence. However, the Old Manor House had been pulled down and a new one built, on a slightly different site.
An hinterland visit was made in June 2000, when it was observed that the house and farm stood on higher ground and overlooked the parkland to the north. Here some trees of the former avenue remain, mainly of horse chestnut and a few limes. Otherwise this was agricultural land. Ornamental trees were visible in the area and around the walled garden. Both lodges had been demolished. However, the north western one at Rye Common was being replaced.
Summary & Significance
Itchel was an ancient manor and deer park that later became parkland reputedly landscaped by ‘Capability Brown’, although there is no evidence for this. However, 19th century maps show that there was a significant park that might have included Itchell Mill Springs that appeared to have been landscaped. This is a significant historical site of an ancient deer park and landscaped park.
HGT Research: March 2000
Hampshire County Council’s Landscape Character Assessment Area – North East Hampshire Open Downs 8c
Victoria County History, vol 4. 1911 The Parish of Crondall
Butterfield, R P Monastery and Manor, The History of Crondall, 1948
Old Hampshire mapped, 1st series Ordnance Survey.
Hampshire County Council: Ordnance Survey maps 1871, 1909
Hampshire County Council, HER No. 884 – Itchel Farm House
Spearman, Henry J, September 1975 Hampshire Magazine, Itchell Manor – past and present