|HCC Site ID:||1509||Parish:||Twyford|
|Designations:||House LB II*, various features listed||Area:||23.95 ha|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and Site
Shawford Park is situated in Shawford in the Lower Itchen Valley on the western outskirts of Twyford Village, which is about three miles south of Winchester. The Park has an enclosed, sheltered feel in contrast to the open arable landscape to the east and west. Shawford lies along the valley plain, with braids of the Itchen running along the edges of the parkland.
Shawford House, in the parish of Twyford, was built for Sir Henry Mildmay in 1685 on the site of the pre-existing Dares House. Extensive Mildmay Estate accounts (1653-1728) detail planting, garden work and construction of banquet houses. Its gardens and orchards planted in 1683 were supplemented with paths, archways, ornaments and the whole encircled with a high garden wall. A Sales Map of 1811 shows a designed landscape with an ornamental canal which appears to have been short-lived. By the 1840 Tithe map the canal has disappeared leaving only a drainage channel in the same area, possibly to create a more natural landscape.
The Sales map in 1857 shows that what was previously called a Dove House is now a Pigeon House and the area to the south of the house The Park. The 1st ed 25” OS map of 1869 shows that an area on the eastern boundary has become a walled garden divided into four parts and possibly orchards. By the 2nd ed OS map 1897-98, the walled garden is shown but the orchard has gone.
The estate stayed in the Mildmay family until 1857 when it was sold to the tenant, Major General Frederick who later bought Langrish House. In 1912 and again in 1920, the house was re-designed by H H Jewell with a ballroom and arcaded loggia.. The gardens, too, were re-designed and when excavating for a sunken garden, an octagonal fountain basin or possibly an ancient cockpit was discovered suggesting that this might have been part of a medieval or Elizabethan house which pre-dated the present one. A wartime spell as a military maternity home (1940-45) left the house dilapidated and the gardens overgrown. After the war, Sir Brian Mountain restored much and cleared the back streams of the Itchen.
In the 1990s the then owner installed a helipad in the parkland and used the land for polo games. The present owner (2009) appointed Kim Wilkie to design and implement extensive works in the grounds which were carried out in 2008-09. Some of the parkland has been restored and the helipad removed. A small, new lake has been created in the area of the old fishponds and the land which had been flattened for the polo pitches re-formed, with tributaries from the lake through the parkland emulating the water meadows for which Twyford is renowned. Wildflowers have also been sown in the meadows..
The sunken garden created by Jewell was prone to attack by rabbits and deer so Kim Wilkie has designed raised grass banks or walkways on the two vulnerable sides, terminating at one corner with a small version of his trademark circular path up a grassed mound. Next to the sunken garden, Kim has created a new, part-walled garden for flowers and vegetables; impressive iron gates sit between low brick walls topped with railings so as to allow a view through to the parkland beyond. A hitherto untidy walled area behind the new walled garden and part of the house, has become an organised, equipment storage area. As an integral part of the garden re-design and in conjunction with Kim Wilkie, Max Miller designed a new spa building, new workshop and glasshouse which in effect redesigned the affected areas to be integrated in the new walling style. Miller also provided the detailing for the new main entrance gates and flanking wall.
The previous owner had moved the approach drive southwards, away from a direct route to the main house but this has now been put back as it was following the addition of the Jewell extensions to the house.
The estate has been reduced to around 24 ha (59 acres) with considerable stretches of single and double bank fishing. The house is Grade II* listed with a Grade II listed ‘folly’ (the Pigeon House) in the grounds. The folly roof had become overgrown with airborne seeds which had grown into mini trees dislodging many of the pantiles. Repair work was successfully carried out in 2009 but it is no decisive interpretation of what it was built as.
A Grade 2* listed building (1685) now in around 24 ha (59acres) of parkland and formal gardens, the estate is bounded by the River Itchen and Itchen Navigation giving rise to double and single bank fishing. A Grade 2 listed folly, repaired in 2009, stands in the grounds. Extensive, new landscaping and other garden improvements were carried out in 2008/09
HGT Research: August 2001/ updated October 2009 and 2019
Survey map of Compton 1735 46M72/E1-5
Plan of part of the estate for sale 46M72/E38
Plan from sales details, 1857, 58M71ME/B88
1st ed 25” OS map, 1869-71
2nd ed OS map 1897-98
3rd ed 6” OS map 1910
Tithe map and apportionment F7/237/1 and 2 1840-42 (HRO)
OS map 1990s Hampshire County Council
Hampshire Record Office
46M72/E74 sale of detached portions1857
The Mildmay Paper 46M72
10M79/173 Leases of Shawford House 1820-54
44M70/76/2 Sale details of plants and garden features 1906
44M70/OE76/1 Sales particulars 1923
Gale, M., 1994,Hampshire field Club Newsletter 21, Spring
Pearce, D., Crooks, S., 1999,Twyford: Ringing the Changes
Kitchin, G. H., Country Life7/8/1920
Architect and Building News, 30/3/1928
Information from Max Miller
Listings of Shawford House and Folly 1985