Lee Manor and Lee Manor Farm

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HCC Site ID: 1476 Parish: Romsey Extra
Designations: Lee Manor LB II Area: c0.8 ha (2 acres)
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private

Location and Site

Lee is a small hamlet close to the east bank of the River Test, approximately two miles south of Romsey. A little west of the hamlet, Skidmore Bridge has featured on old maps as a crossing place of the river (Milne map online). Late in the 18th century a canal was dug, approximately half a kilometer to the east of Lee Manor, and roughly following the line of the river. It was planned to connect Southampton and Andover, with a branch to Salisbury, but the canal was never successfully completed, and was overtaken by the development of the railways. When built, in the 1860s, the route of the London and South West Railway was a little further to the east of the hamlet, but following a line very similar to that of the ‘old canal’. The old road between Lee and the Broadlands Estate is now a private road past Lee Park Farm, and parts of the present public road follow the line of the filled in canal. (OS 2nd ed map; Monkhouse 1964, 298).

Historic Development

Lee was in the possession of Romsey Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries when it was granted to William Paulet, but in 1572 reverted to the Crown. In 1603 the lands were granted to Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, and almost immediately were sold to Walter Godfrey, a wealthy clothier. The Godfrey family owned Lee Park for the next 150 years and built a substantial house.

Early in the eighteenth century parts of the Lee Estate were split off and a separate holding was formed. This was used by John Nowes, owner of several parcels of land near Lee, to set up a charity for the education of the poor of Romsey. (Brent 2009, 57) At some time in the 18th century a house and farm were built on the holding and given the name Charity Farm, (subsequently Manor Farm and now Lee Manor). On the Milne map of 1791, Lee House is shown as a small Estate, owned by William Fletcher, and just outside the southern boundary there is a small house marked, but not named. (Milne Map online).

By the nineteenth century the hamlet of Lee had grown, Lee House and Park lay to the north, and the Redbridge to Andover canal ran to the east. In 1808 the Nowes Charity Farm was let to Mr Nathanial Fletcher, son of William Fletcher. ‘He held the old mansion house and the lawn belonging to it consisting of 15a and 36p (app.6 ha)’, but was ‘… often calling upon the trustees for extensive repairs …’. A report of the Charity Commissioners confirms that, by 1820, owing to its poor condition, the mansion of Nowes Charity Farm had been demolished, leaving a small farmhouse and outbuildings on the site. (Charity Commissioner’s report 1820) The farm is marked on both the Greenwood and Tithe maps. (Greenwood online; HRO 1845 Tithe map).

As a result of the Romsey Inclosure Act in 1808, the larger landowners had taken the opportunity to buy and exchange parcels of land, to both increase and rationalise their holdings. (Brent 2009, 79, 95) This policy continued through the century and, in 1862, the 3rd Viscount Palmerston, who had bought Lee Park in 1853 and subsequently demolished that house, also bought land and property from the Nowes Charity which included Charity Farm. (Brent 2009, 97). By 1871 Charity Farm was renamed Manor Farm, and when the OS 2nd ed. was surveyed, the farm buildings had been rebuilt to a design for a model farm that had first been used on another of the Broadlands farms. (OS 1st & 2nd eds maps). It became a national model and the plans were reproduced in the leading agricultural journals of the day. (Brent 2009, 100) The farmhouse, which is claimed to have originally been built in the late 18th century, had a garden of approximately 2 acres with a kitchen garden and orchard (AHBR).

There seems to have been little change to Lee Manor in the first half of the 20th century and, during World War II, the house was rented from the Broadlands Estate by the Dunn family. One of the daughters, Bridget Annen (née Dunn), remembers the time they spent living there, and recalls that the garden was productive with vegetables and chickens, there was a tennis court and an orchard.

Current Description

Since 1962 Lee Manor has been part of the Broadlands Estate, and is tenanted. The house is listed Grade II, but needs a lot of attention. The garden is mostly open lawn with rough hedges, and the former orchard area is wooded. Parts of the walls of the kitchen garden and the foundation of a glasshouse are extant. The farm buildings were laid out late in the second half of the nineteenth century as a model farm and are tenanted separately. They look rather derelict and are no longer part of a productive farm.


Late 18th century farmhouse, rebuilt during the late 19th century as a model farm; with sheds in an E plan surrounding four open yards to the north, a walled garden to the east, and an extensive orchard to the south. Early 21st century, the house is now tenanted separately from the farm. The boundaries of the earlier walled garden and orchard remain and are now replaced by lawns and shrubs.

HGT Research: September 2010


Hampshire Record Office
1845 Tithe map 21M65/F7/197/1&2
1791 Milne Map online
1826 Greenwood Map online
1845 Tithe map
Ordnance Survey
1871 1st ed.
1897-8 2nd ed.
1962 1:25,000
Victoria County History Vol 4
Brent J., Goodwin P., 2009 Working the Land in Romsey LTVAS publications
Monkhouse F.J., ed., 1964, A Survey of Southampton and its Region. The British Association for the Advancement of Science University of Southampton Press 1964
Other Sources
1820 Abstract of Report of Charity Commissioners to House of Commons
2009 Conversation with Bridget Annen née Dunn

Our address

Romsey Extra No Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
50.95820866721381, -1.486249566078186

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