|HCC Site ID:||1779||Parish:||Rowlands Castle|
|Designations:|| SDNP, SINC, Dovecote LB II,
St Hubert’s Chapel LB I
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and site
Old Idsworth House overlooked its parkland in Idsworth valley and was surrounded by its tenant farms, with Markwell’s Wood east and Idsworth Down west. West of the house, leading up the Down, was a lime avenue and a walks area. It is within the South Downs National Park.
The original Idsworth House was an Elizabethan courtyard house built south of a medieval village and an 11th century chapel. A dovecote, stone-lined pond and two icehouses supplied the household. By the 1830s the parkland was ornamented by clumps, with acacias and a beloved Red Cedar near the house. The lime avenue, which was planted around 1725, was destroyed at the beginning of the 19th century but soon replanted..
In the 1840s the avenue and walks area were separated from the house by the London to Portsmouth railway. The Clarke-Jervoise family, who had bought Idsworth in 1790, built a new house about a mile west. The old house was stripped of materials, its coach house was converted into a farmhouse and the site became the productive area for the main house – the walled garden may date from this time.
The farmhouse and its immediate grounds are now a private home.
Despite late 20th century reduction for safety reasons, the lime avenue is now regenerating. Old Idsworth Gardens, contain the pond, one of the icehouses, the walled garden, donkey well and dovecote. The parkland is divided between surrounding farms. The chapel originally dedicated to St Peter and St Paul but now called St Hubert’s, contains 14th century wall paintings described by Pevsner as “the most important series in a Hampshire church”.
Farmhouse with walled garden, icehouse, pond and dovecote, near top of valley, overlooking former parkland; 11th century chapel, site of medieval village, avenue. Parkland intact despite its division between different owners.
HGT Research: July 2001