|HCC Site ID:||1354||Parish:||Greatham|
|Designations:||AHBR, SDNP, SINC, SSSI||Area:||4 ha|
Location and site
The address is alternatively referred to as Empshott, Greatham or Liphook, the site lies to the East of Emphshott and the B3006 and to the N of the Petersfield Road. It adjoins the Blackmoor Estate to the North and NE. Recorded in the 13th century as arable land, pastures and woodland, the site of Le Court is on an eminencence with views of exceptional beauty. The main area for the new development on the site of the Victorian house and grounds, is to the north of Empshott-Greatham Wood.
Le Court has the distinction of an entry in Domesday Book as the manor for Greatham. It was a royal manor but since that time has had many different owners. Farming the land was the most important activity of the manor but in the mid-nineteenth century while William Butler was the owner the emphasis changed. More land was acquired and a small park was created. New farm buildings were situated away from the manor house which were then surrounded with gardens. The final act in this transformation was the replacement of the old manor house, then owned by Sampson Foster, by a 19th century mansion commanding scenic views over the park. Other attributes of a 19th century estate added, such as an icehouse, a kitchen garden and glasshouses.
In the twentieth century there was little change until after World War II when the estate was acquired by Leonard Cheshire VC, who had distinguished himself by his service in the RAF in World War II. Le Court entered into a new phase in its history for Leonard Cheshire decided to use it as a home for the sick and needy, which opened in 1948. This required major changes for the estate to be adapted to the new function. New housing suited to the needs of the disabled took the place of the mansion; roads were widened for transport; and ancillary buildings were constructed for staff. The Home closed in 2007.
A part of the garden was redesigned as a Memorial Garden dedicated to the former residents and to Leonard Cheshire the founder of the charity, Leonard Cheshire. The garden was opened to the public in August, 2008. Much care was taken of the site to include a formal pool garden and a colourful flower garden with roses dominating the planting. The remaining grounds were sold off in large plots, for development as single dwellings. The site retains its eminence over the surrounding countryside and some of the parkland planting remains.
An Anglo-Saxon manor possessed of land for farming. Nineteenth century developed, with parkland and a new mansion. 20th century Leonard Cheshire Home, closed in 2007. Some parkland trees remain and a public Memorial Garden created with most of estate sold as large housing plots.
HGT Research: January 2007, updated 2010
Hampshire Record Office
Conveyance of Le Court 1803HRO 10M50/58
Greenwood map, 1826
Tithe map 1840 21 M65/F7/100/2
Conveyance of Le Court 1863 10M50/159
Sales Particulars 1884 10M50/171
Sales particulars 1892 10M/176
Aerial view photo 1944
Hampshire County Council
1st ed OS map 25″ 1881
2nd ed OS map 25″ 1986
3rd ed OS map 25″ 1910
Undated map post 1954
Photo 1977/1-3 How the Cheshire Homes started by Frank Spath
1987 Letter from S Hocking to Mr Hild
1988 Historic buildings study
Cheshire by Richard Morris
A HIstory of Greatham by P Gripton, special collection library
2005 Newsbrief from E Hampshire DC web site
2006 personal communication by the mother of a Le Court residen
2011 site visit