|HCC Site ID:||1550||Parish:||Itchen Valley|
|Designations:||House LB II*, SDNP, SMR||Area:||Medium|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Prince’s Mead School|
Location and Site
Prince’s Mead School is situated to the north of the Worthys road from Winchester to Alresford. It overlooks the River Itchen Valley and is within the South Downs National Park.
The early history of Worthy Park is fragmentary but there is said to have been a house on the site since Saxon times. William Evelyn, cousin of the diarist Sir John Evelyn built a mansion in 1722, built on an L-plan. The fourth Lord Kingston lived there for nine years until his death in 1761. The house was inherited in 1816 by Sir Charles Ogle. The west wing was pulled down and a new house of Southampton brick and Portland stone was designed by Sir Robert Smirke and built over the foundations. It consisted of the main centre building with two wings in corresponding style, surmounted by a balustrade with an elegant main entrance portico, circa 1828 and remains largely unchanged in 2003. William Cobbett mentions the house in his Rural Rides.
Members of the Wall family lived there in the mid-19th century followed by tenants.
The last family to own the house was Lt Colonel James Butchart, the grandson of Captain Fryer who had married George Ellis Wall. During the World War 2, Worthy Park was taken over by the army and after it had been relinquished by the military it became Curry’s staff training centre. By the 1980s the land had been sold to a Mr Grey and the buildings were owned by National Express. The buildings were bought by Prince’s Mead School in 1999.
The first edition OS map, 1870 taken from the surveyors drawing of 1859, shows an icehouse in the wood but this had disappeared by the third edition 1909. A description at the time of Sir Charles Ogle reads ‘Below the south front of the mansion winds the river Itchin, on the opposite banks of which rise beautiful eminences, partly covered with wood, beyond which are the more romantic downs.’
The house remains a dominant white edifice clearly seen from walking in the Worthys as well as viewed from the M3. A house has been built in the old ornamental walled garden and one within the old walled kitchen garden, thereby destroying the original layout and designs of the gardens. The old walls remain as well as some specimen trees such as oaks, chestnuts, yews, and a magnificent Holm Oak, in the parkland and woods. However, little feel of the 19th century parkland.
Georgian house designed by Sir Robert Smirke; a few parkland trees remain with views across open farmland to the river Itchen. Land was sold off in the 1950s and the house became Prince’s Mead School in 1999.
Information from Story of Worthy Park by Pam Moore, 2003