|HCC Site ID:||1018||Parish:||Boldre|
|Designations:||House LB II, NFNP||Area:||c160 ha|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and site
Newtown Park lies approximately two miles east of Lymington. It is included in the National Park, and lies just outside the boundary of the New Forest. The land is mainly flat with a slight slope southwards. There were extensive sea and land views from the circuit walk and the observatory sited on the roof of the mansion; during the 20th century this was in poor condition and was removed, but has now been rebuilt.
There was a mention of Newtown Park in 1670 when a claim for Forest Rights with 76 acres (30.5 ha) of land was made (Pinnell 1987, 137). By 1716 a house had been built and, while in the ownership of the Mitford family, the estate was enlarged and a pleasure garden and kitchen garden were developed (Exbury Estate). Later in the century the estate was bought by Sir John d’Oyly who had made a fortune while serving in India. Sir John made changes to both the mansion and grounds, but in the process overspent, and at the same time was unfortunate enough to lose money on his investments. It is not clear exactly when the ownership of Newtown Park changed; the Milne map of 1791 carries the name of Henry Chicheley Plowden, and it is known that he was the owner at some time before 1803, when Sir John d’Oyly returned to India.
Plowden had also made his wealth while serving in India (Pinnell 1987, 137-144). By this time the estate had been increased to 340 acres (13.5 ha), much of it farmland (Tithe map). The acquisitions had allowed the creation of a circuit walk round the perimeter of the western half of the estate. The walk begins from the garden door on the east side of the mansion and proceeds between two cedars, with a view across a ha-ha and farmland to a distant clump of trees. Along the southern section there were gaps between the trees and shrubs to provide striking views of the Solent and Isle of Wight, or back across grassland to the mansion’s south front. From the south west entrance drive the walker has a choice, either to turn back north-east towards the mansion whose grandiose portico is lined up on the path, or to continue north round the perimeter of the estate, and return to the mansion through the woods. The paths are now overgrown but are to be restored.
Early in the 19th century the Plowdens continued to improve the grounds, but by 1818 they were living in a smaller house on the estate, Newtown Grove, renting out the mansion and much of the farmland. When Henry Chicheley Plowden died in 1821, Mrs Plowden continued to live in Newtown Grove and the mansion was let. On Mrs Plowden’s death in 1845 there was no direct heir, her only son had been killed while serving in India, and there was a protracted legal dispute regarding her will which complicated the sale of the estate. A sketch sale plan of 1858 shows the walled garden with glasshouses north of the mansion, and marks Newtown Grove in Home Copse (Channell 2010).
Newtown Park estate was eventually bought by Jules Hyacinthe du Plessis (anglicised to DuPlessis), and remained in the ownership of the DuPlessis family for a century. Jules DuPlessis spent his life improving the estate. He bought more land, planted woodlands and a large orchard north of the walled garden, and demolished Newtown Grove (Pinnell 1987, 149). Early in the 20th century the old farm buildings adjacent to the mansion were demolished, and Newtown Park Farm was built on the road bordering the eastern half of the estate (OS 1st & 3rd eds maps).
During World War 2, the mansion was used to store furniture and fittings removed from the Cunard liners, and an airfield was sited in the grounds. (Channell 2010) In 1956, Newtown Park was inherited by Hugo DuPlessis, the grandson of Jules. He and his wife were living in Newtown Cottage, built 1907 (Channell 2010), and the mansion was empty. Hugo found it impossible to maintain the estate, and sold to Robert Pretty who had been a tenant of the farmland. Pretty began restoring the mansion and grounds until, in 1968, Newtown Park was sold again, to John Howlett (Pinnell 1987, 154). The mansion was not occupied continuously, and was put to various uses, including that of a film set. In 1974 John Howlett died, and the estate was split in two, the farmland being sold piecemeal. The mansion and 26 acres (10.5 ha) were bought by an architect, Victor Syburn, who converted part of the mansion into three self contained flats. In the late 1980s it was up for sale again and was bought by Wensley Haydon-Bailey, he began restoring the gardens and also managed to buy back the farmland to reunite the whole estate (Channell 2010). Ten years later it again changed ownership and is now occupied by Charles Burnett III under a Trust. Charles Burnett began a major refurbishment of the mansion, rebuilding an observatory on the roof, and improving the grounds. Various events have been held at Newtown Park concerned with his hobby of collecting old military vehicles (Channell 2010).
Over the years the total acreage has changed several times ranging from approximately 340 acres (138ha) at the beginning of the 19th century, to 26acres (10.5ha) in 1974. Since 1996 the mansion of Newtown Park has been reunited with the grounds and farmland of the 18th century estate, in 2010, making an estate of nearly 160ha (400 acres). A programme of tree planting and maintenance has been started, the perimeter walks are being restored, and a wild flower meadow planted. The house is again in single occupancy.
An 18th century grade II listed house, about 2 miles east of Lymington. The house is in parkland and farmland setting of approximately 160 hectares. There are extensive sea and land views from an observatory sited on the roof and from various points on the perimeter path. Improvements to the estate were made by Henry Chicheley Plowden in the early 19th century, and further work was done by Jules DuPlessis later in the century. Since 1958 ownership has changed several times. At one time Newtown Park house was in multiple occupancy, and much of the land had been sold. The estate was reunited in the 1990s and since 1996 has been owned by a Trust, and major restoration work has been initiated on both the house and grounds.
HGT Research: July 2011
Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
Misc fiche 609-613 Exbury Estate
21M65/F7/26/2 1841 Tithe map of Boldre
21M65/F7/26/1 1841 Apportionments of tithe map of Boldre
1791 Milne map Section 32
1855 OS 1st Series Hampshire
1858 Sale plan
OS 1st ed 1871, 3rd ed 1909
Pinnell, Blake,1987 Country House History around Lymington, Brockenhurst and Milford-on-Sea Pub. Blake Pinnell
Channell, Richard 27 May 2010 Newtown Park Estate Visit by the Boldre Historical Society (compiled from Notes taken from DuPlessis family records & estate maps of 1730 & 1858)