|HCC Site ID:||1075||Parish:||Copythorne|
|Designations:||2 Bridges & Sawmill LB II, NFNP||Area:||Park c60 ha; Golf Centre c66.6 ha|
|Access:||Public Access – see opening times||Ownership:||Richard Mancey & Bennelong Golf Partners|
Engraving: Prosser c1833
Location and site
Paultons is situated on the northern border of the New Forest, approximately 3½ miles west of Romsey. The land is mostly low lying and spans the River Cadnam, a small meandering tributary of the River Test. The ground rises gradually to the west where the Home Farm and the modern Golf Club house are sited; there may be archaeological remains in this area. The park was always valued for its timber.
The site of Paultons can be traced back to the Domesday survey, when it was in the manor of Ower held by Gislebert de Breville from the Abbot of Glastonbury (Campion). By the 14th century the manor of Wade and Ower was settled on John de Palton, it was sold to Henry VIII in 1512 and granted, by the crown, to William Lord St John in 1547. It stayed in the Paulet family until 1646 when all the messuages of the manor of Wade and Ower were sold to William Stanley (Campion). Over time the estate was enlarged. There is little evidence of any sizeable house until the mid 18th century, when the Taylor map shows a house on the east bank of the northward flowing river. The site is close to where the river swings sharply to the east. The land was well wooded and was crossed by several avenues (Taylor).
In 1772 Hans Stanley commissioned Lancelot Brown to improve the park. Brown built weirs on the river which subsequently formed into a crescent shaped lake (OS 1807/8). He also thinned the woodland to make a boundary of trees (Stroud).
In 1802 ownership passed to Hans Sloane, cousin of Hans Stanley, who later added Stanley to his name; Paultons remained in the ownership of the Sloane-Stanleys for one and a half centuries (Campion). Soon after inheriting, Hans Sloane extended the house and later commissioned C H Tatham to design further additions to the house, and a new bridge to cross the lake further upstream, making the approach drive lead to the new porticoed entrance on the south west front (OS 1st ed.). By this time a walled garden had been developed on the southern arm of the lake (undated sketch map).
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries Major Roger C H Sloane-Stanley redesigned the pleasure gardens on the south east and south west fronts of the house in a more formal plan, and added many ornaments (HRO 32M71/E38). The parkland and agricultural areas were not altered (OS 3rd ed). At that time the estate was 230 acres (96 ha ) (VCH). The house and gardens were featured in an article in a 1938 Country Life (CL 17.09.1938). When Major Roger Sloane-Stanley’s died in 1944, the house and grounds were inherited by his daughter Mrs Everett, and the estate was run as a hotel, with facilities for fishing and shooting.
In 1955 the house was put up for sale and the contents, including garden furniture, were auctioned (HRO 32M71/E38). The house did not sell, it was left empty and gradually deteriorated until, in 1963, it was destroyed by fire. Although the park was in agricultural use, the gardens became very overgrown. In 1979 the whole estate was divided into Lots and auctioned again, with parts zoned for recreational use (HRO 43M93/45). John Mancey bought Lot 2 that included the site of the mansion and its gardens, and the parkland north of the lake designed by Brown, and began to develop it as a family attraction. The lake was dredged, the water wheel and the saw mill rebuilt, and a new weir and tailrace made to try and solve the problem of the lake silting up. There were aviaries of exotic birds, water fowl, and some animals. Another attraction was the Old Village Life Centre (Hampshire Chronicle 20.5.1983). Since then the park has been developed with fun fair attractions and rides. In 1992/3 the land was subdivided again, two golf courses and a golf range were designed north of the lake, the area of the park designed by Brown (RTA LA), and the walled garden was cleared and developed as a residential area, renovating some of the old buildings and building new ones. The golf Centre opened in 1994 as a separate commercial enterprise. Home Farm is in private ownership, and much of the remaining land is let out for agricultural use.
The major part of the former estate of Paultons is divided between two commercial enterprises. The Family Theme Park, opened in 1983, occupies the site of the mansion and its gardens, and a Golf Centre with a new Club House, the park on the northern side of the lake. Little remains of the former designed gardens, except a lawn and mature cedars. Some vases, urns and a pair of gates have been repositioned. The river and lake are no longer outstanding features; they have decreased in size owing to the problem of silting up, and a thick line of self sown trees and undergrowth obscure the banks. Home Farm is no longer part of the estate and the land is let out for agriculture. Modern housing, including Paultons House, has been built, or created from old buildings, along the bank of the southern arm of the lake and the area of the old walled garden. Three of the former estate lodges are extant and occupied.
Paultons estate was owned by the Stanley family from 1646-1780, and then the Sloane-Stanleys until 1979. The park of 230 acres (96 ha) was landscaped between 1772 and 1774 by Capability Brown. The small Georgian mansion was enlarged at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and subsequently a designed garden developed on the south and west fronts. The estate was put up for sale in the 1950s, it did not sell and in 1963 the empty mansion was destroyed by fire. In 1979 the whole estate was divided into Lots, and auctioned successfully. Today part is a family theme park, part a golf centre and the rest privately owned. There are remains of formal gardens, but few of the former landscape features survive.
HGT Research: April 2010