|HCC Site ID:||1449||Parish:||Longparish|
|Designations:||House LB II||Area:|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Photo: Middleton House 1912 Sales catalogue
Location and Site
Once three settlements, Longparish is a classic example of linear settlements joining up to become one village. Middleton House lies near western entrance to the 2- mile long village.
There is a record of a farm, Middel Mearce, in the early 11th century and the manor was held by Wherwell Abbey. During the Reformation the estates changed hands twice before being purchased Richard Widmore of North Oakley in 1698, whose heirs held it until quite recently. A house is shown on the Taylor map (1759) and one named ‘Middleton H’ sitting in a square ‘garden’ on the Milne map (1791)
By 1810 the ‘garden’ had been extended with an L-shaped extension to the north west stretching almost to Harewood Forest, a Saxon royal hunting forest, to form a small park. The 1” OS map Old Series also shows a small parcel of land with trees to the east which is a feature of all the later maps. There is discrepancy over the dating of the house but the most likely interpretation is that it was an early C18 building rebuilt in the 19th century. James Widmore died in 1825; thereafter the Trustees of his estate are shown as principle landowners. The Tithe Apportionament (1841) notes Henry Beaumont Coles as the house owner and the Tithe map notes aspects of the park and garden.
The 1st ed OS map (1872) indicates development of the gardens, tree planting and shelter belts, orchards, an ice house and a distinctive horizontal line of deciduous trees between the pleasure grounds and the pasture to the north. The grounds have been extended and are now rectangular. By the 2nd ed OS map (1897) the ice-house has gone and the pasture is named Middleton Park. By 1911, there is a cricket ground in the NE corner of the park.
Sales particulars of 1912 indicate that the property now has many of the attributes of wealthy Victorian estates with substantial fishing rights on the River Test. In the period from 1914-1921 there appear to have been substantial improvements and additions to the house and the building is described as brick with stone quoins and dressings with a cement compo to resemble limestone ashlar.
The house was bought in 1925 by Captain A S Wills and in the inter-war period the cricket pitch was moved down to the village. During the war the house was taken over by the RAF but the Wills family returned in 1955 with whom it has since remained. Listed Grade II in 1960, the conservatory was removed in 1966 and a second storey added to the south wing. A new tennis court was built just before the Millennium.
The Middleton and Portway Estates have offices in the buildings to the south west side of the main building but the form of the earlier formal gardens remains with the belt of trees dividing the gardens from the park still in place together with the shelter belt, the pasture in front of the house and the parcel of land to the east. From the air, Middleton Park is remarkably the same as it was on the 1810 1” OS map.
A site named in Domesday belonging to Wherwell Abbey; probably 18th century house extended in 19th century, Grade II listed (1960). Pleasure grounds and small park, extensive Test River fishing rights, site remains substantially as on 1810 1” Old Series OS map.
HGT Research: July 2005