Martyr Worthy Minor

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HCC Site ID: 1983 Parish: Itchen Valley
Designations: SDNP, CA Area: Small
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private plant nursery

Location and Site

Martyr Worthy Minor was sold off from Martyr Worthy Place in 1978-79 as a separate dwelling including an Arts and Crafts garden. It lies adjacent to Marty Worthy Place along the Worthys’ road from Winchester, on the opposite corner to Martyr Worthy Manor. Martyr Worthy hamlet is about three and half miles north east of Winchester on rising land above the River Itchen.

Historic Development

The Tithe map, 1841, shows a modest house, garden and plantation with pasture to the north all owned by Charlotte Eyles. To the west of the house there are three tiny cottages with strip gardens which run down to the roadside. They are shown in the Tithe Apportionment as belonging to John Watson. The main house stands further back with two entrance drives, one circular to the right and one to the left which runs by the side of the strip gardens up to the back of the house. Planting, possibly a kitchen garden is shown as well as a perimeter belt of trees round to the north and east of the pasture land. The first edition OS map (1870-93) identifies the house as Martyr Worthy Cottage; the tiny cottages have disappeared although the strip gardens seem to remain and a small new building is shown at right angles. The circular drive from the main road is still there and the second driveway is now lined with trees or shrubs. The planted areas are more elaborate and more trees in the pasture area gives it a parkland appearance. To the east of the plot there is a meadow, shown as arable on the Tithe map.
In the early 20th century, the house was bought by Miss Christian who extended it considerably, built a gardener’s cottage and had the entrance drive changed to sweep past the gardener’s cottage and approach the house to the north with an entrance portico. The architects were Cancellor and Hill from Winchester. The parkland and perimeter belt of trees remained, however in the meadow to the east Miss Christian created a new walled garden in an Arts and Crafts style. The third edition 25” OS map, 1909, shows this garden and also identifies that the name of the house has changed to Martyr Worthy Place.
The Ffennell family bought the house in 1926 and made further additions to the Arts and Crafts garden and then sold the main house in 1978-9. However, the grounds were divided up so that the Arts and Craft garden, the small parkland area to the north and the gardener’s cottage were retained by a Trust set up by the Ffennell family. A new entrance drive to the main house was created away from the gardener’s cottage across the park leaving the old entrance drive to lead only to the old gardener’s cottage, now called Martyr Worthy Minor.
Part of these gardens are now run as a nursery supplying agapanthus commercially by a member of the Ffennell family. In 1986 restoration work was carried out to the Arts & Craft garden and further work was completed in 1994. There are no records of the original design of the Arts and Crafts garden but it appears that much of it remains in its original form including: the Yew hedges, brick walls, steps, a raised terrace with a brick piered pergola and summerhouse with white portico, similar to the entrance to the house. There are wrought iron gates and a raised semi-circular brick terrace ‘theatre’. An additional walled garden containing a swimming pool and arched brick ‘folly’ or seat was constructed in the 1930s. Closer to the gardener’s cottage there is a listed clock house built in 1912.

Current Description

The Arts and Craft garden is well maintained, following its restoration.
It has been suggested that the features of the Arts and Crafts garden here bear some similarity to those created in the early 20th century in the garden at Otterbourne House (sold off in the 1940s when two bungalows were built). Both Otterbourne House and Martyr Worthy Place were owned by members of the Christian family. It is not known who designed either garden, though the summerhouse at Martyr Worthy is stylistically similar to parts of the main house and therefore, this and other structures could be attributed to the architects, Cancellor and Hill The Arts and Crafts features of Otterbourne House are still to be seen in the gardens of the two bunglaows.


Eighteenth century house with later additions set within small park and pleasure grounds and containing interesting, restored and intact early 20th century Arts and Crafts walled garden, which is now in separate ownership. Part of Martyr Worthy Manor grounds stayed with the gardener’s cottage renamed Martyr Worthy Minor, including the Arts and Crafts walled garden with pergola and summer houses.

HGT research July 2003


39M73/BP376 1905/ 486 1907/ 589 1909/ 679 1591/ 747 1912

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Itchen Valley No Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
51.093561297471766, -1.2635913491249084

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