|HCC Site ID:||1564||Parish:||Shedfield|
|Designations:||House LB I, Garden LB II, SMR||Area:||32 acres|
|Access:||Public Access to Hotel||Ownership:||De Vere Venues|
Location and Site
New Place lies north of Wickham on the Shirrell Heath road to the north east of the village of Shedfield. The village is located in a valley and as the soil is clay and sand, there is good drainage for pasture and keeping sheep and cattle.
New Place was designed and built in 1906 by E L Lutyens for Mrs A S Franklyn specifically to contain internal timber and plasterwork from J Langton’s seventeenth house in Bristol. In 1779 the Langton mansion had been converted into a tobacco factory; 14 years later the business became known as George Franklyn Company – (Tobacco Manufacturers). In 1905 the Bristol tobacco company moved to new premises. The old building with its ornate interior was due for demolition, and it was most likely this that prompted Mrs Franklyn, who had inherited the factory on the death of her husband in 1884, to build a new house close to her own property at Shedfield to where the family had moved in 1875, to house the Langton interior. In 1908 Mrs Franklyn gave the house to her son as a wedding present.
The house is symmetrical and constructed of fine red brick. Lutyens consulted Gertrude Jekyll about the layout of the garden, and notes she made imply that she may have also visited. Jane Brown, Garden Historian, has included in her book ‘The Gardens of a Golden Afternoon’ a plan of the garden, based on Lutyens sketches of the layout of the garden and on correspondence between Lutyens and Jeykll. The plan shows a formal garden layout with a terrace immediately in front of the ornate reception rooms on the main axis of the house facing southwest, with proposed summerhouses at both ends of the terrace and steps descending to a lower level. It was proposed that the area immediately below the terrace should be formal; with paths radiating from another terraced area, giving views to an orchard, and a ‘wilderness of low things’. A kitchen garden, orchard, nut alley, entrance court and drive flanked the other sides of the house. Jane Brown writes ‘the garden at New Place has been considerably altered, but the bones of these recommendations can be traced’.
However, according to Thomas Mawson’s autobiography, he was asked to advise on the layout of the garden by Mrs Franklyn in 1907. Mawson felt that Lutyens was extremely capable of providing a layout of the garden, but Mrs Franklyn insisted that they wanted him to do it. It was agreed that Mawson would contact Lutyens before he accepted the commission. At their meeting Mawson stated that ‘in the kindest way possible he (Lutyens) assured me that as he was not allowed to design the garden, there was no one he would rather co-operate with than me’. Mawson was never happy with his design, he felt that he was endeavouring to interpret how to complement the Lutyens style, rather than do his own thing.
The Franklyn family occupied the house and grounds until 1956. The property was sold and became a school. Since 1978 it has been a conference centre.
The gravelled fore court on the south side is approached through a pair of tall wrought iron gates supported by brick piers. On the west side of the house there is a formal garden of terraces, walls, steps and lawns at three levels symmetrically arranged in line with the axis of the house and leading to large mown grass field used for cricket, croquet, and providing a good view of the west elevation of the house. The terrace adjacent to the house has spaces at either end for the two summerhouses as proposed by Lutyens but never built, and a wide flight of stone steps leading down to the next level. The areas to the east of the house proposed by Lutyens for a kitchen garden and orchard have now been developed for accommodation and car parking and tennis courts have been developed in the surrounding grounds and fields. However, much of the original tree belt still remains and contributes to the special landscape character of the site.
A De Vere Venue Hotel and wedding venue. (2012)
Formal Jacobean style red brick house by Sir Edwin Lutyens, to house ornate early 17th century interiors from Bristol, set within formal Arts and Crafts style garden; design completed by Thomas Mawson with possible influence by Gertrude Jekyll. A hotel.
HGT Research: August 2003/2013