|HCC Site ID:||1477||Parish:||Romsey Extra|
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). Late in the 18th century a canal was dug, to the east of Lee Park 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 of Lee, but following a line very similar to that of the ‘old canal’. Parts of the present public road follow the line of the filled in canal and the old road between Lee and the Broadlands Estate is now a private road past Lee Park Farm (OS 2nd ed; Monkhouse 1964, 298). Before Lee Park Farm there is a T-junction to Skidmore Bridge, Lee Park House was set back a little way from the road, to the east of this junction. The park occupied the area between the private road and the minor public one west of the current railway line.
The tithing of Romsey Extra was in the possession of the nuns of Romsey Abbey until the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The land having been given to the Henry Wriothesly, Earl of Southampton, it was sold in 1603 to Walter Godfrey, and remained in the possession of the family until c.1750. The Godfrey’s built Lee House and developed a garden and landscaped park. It was bought by William Fletcher in the mid eighteenth century and the land was farmed. (Brent 2009, 57, 96)
As a result of the Romsey Inclosure Act in 1808, the larger landowners exchanged parcels of land to increase and consolidate their holdings. Lee Park, owned by William Fletcher, Broadlands by Lord Palmerston and the Nowes Charity all gained considerably. On the death in 1853 of Nat Fletcher without an heir, the 3rd Viscount Palmerston bought Lee Park, including the house. He was unsuccessful in finding a tenant, two years later the house was demolished and the land cultivated as part of the Broadlands Estate (BR115/1/7). The name Lee House was later used for a new house, built for the land steward within the boundary of Broadlands Park.
An historical site – early 17th century house, landscape park and garden remaining until mid-19th century when the land was bought by the Palmerstons and incorporated into the Broadlands estate. Lee house was demolished and the parkland has been cultivated since that period.
The site of Lee Park is an open cultivated field. There is no indication that there was ever a house and garden. There is a line of trees extending into the field but it does not match any of the features shown on nineteenth century maps (Aerial photo).
HGT Research: September 2010
1897 OS 2nd ed.
2005 OS Millennium Digital aerial map
Brent J. Working the Land in Romsey LTVAS publication 2009
Monkhouse F.J. ed. A Survey of Southampton and Its Region. The British Association for the Advancement of Science University of Southampton Press 1964
Broadlands Archives BR115/1/7