Twyford House

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HCC Site ID: 1586 Parish: Twyford
Designations: House LB II*, Garden Pavilion LB II, SDNP, SMR Area: c0.6 ha
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Multiple Private

Location and Site

Twyford House bordered on the south by Old Rectory Lane and on the north by Berry Lane is located on the western side of the approach road to Twyford from Winchester (B3335) and is within the South Downs National Park.

Historic Development

Mulberry tree

Mulberry tree

The manor of Twyford passed to the Mildmay family in the 17th century (HRO 46M72). Twyford House was built in the Tudor or Jacobean period. Around 1700, William Davies (1658-1726) then a tenant, acquired the copyhold from the Mildmays and made substantial changes to the house, giving it its Queen Anne style. His son, William Davies (1683-1764), inherited and added a wing and also two fine semi-circular bays from ground to parapet on the original west front of the house (Crooks, 2008, p159). It is thought that the garden pavilion, which is still there, was built around 1700.
Mrs Smith Dampier who had associations with Twyford House all her life (FMP online 2015) recalls in an article for the Twyford Parish Magazine of 1902 that the house stands on the site of an older house, as a Mulberry tree in the walled kitchen garden is older than the present building. She wrote of a parson walking across the ‘bowling green’ to the closely adjoining Vicarage (HRO 71A05/1).
(Note: The bowling green is now part of Mildmay House (which had been the Vicarage)(HGT Research online).



On Davies death, 1764, Dr Jonathan Shipley (later Bishop of Asaph), inherited Twyford House, formerly known as Shipley House. Apart from the painting showing the garden, 1746, one of the first references to it is in 1771, when Dr Jonathan Shipley’s’ friend Dr Benjamin Franklin, best known as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, visited and wrote the first part of his autobiography in the Garden Pavilion. In 1813, the new turnpike from Winchester to Gosport, now the B3335 and B3354, was driven through the grounds separating the house from a part known as The Grove, which consisted of an avenue of horse chestnut trees and an area of conifers and deciduous trees. As a consequence, the owner reversed the front and rear entrances of the property (Crooks, 2008, 163).
The house passed through several hands until 1838 when it was to let, with ‘…good garden and pleasure grounds, 14 acres of pasture land (which in 1807 had been 18 acres) included. It is also referred to as a sporting residence.’ (HRO 2A10/H72.83T)
In 1840, Charlotte Shipley and Conway Mordaunt Shipley (Naval Officer) are noted as owners in the Tithe Apportionments; a plantation, pasture, house, stables and garden, boathouse mead as well as The Grove, are all itemized on the Tithe map (HRO 21M65/F7/237/2).
In 1857 Conway Mordaunt Shipley, great-grandson of Jonathan, bought the freehold of Twyford House, following the death of Dame Jane St John Mildmay. However, he chose to build a new house, Twyford Moors, and Twyford House was let for several years. Its listing in White’s Directory of 1859 is “Twyford House an old brick manor, with finely wooded pleasure grounds, near the river and village.”
A photograph of 1865 in the Hampshire Museum service shows gardeners laying turf in the garden. The text about the photograph references features of the garden which ran down to the River Itchen, including a bowling green, an ancient Mulberry tree, Beech, Ilex, Horse Chestnuts and Yew (WINCM:PWCM 4526 online).
The 1869 OS map 1st ed. shows:- Trees screening vicarage and St Mary’s church. An avenue of trees on other side of road (The Grove) bounded on the east by conifer trees. Two walled gardens, mature trees, 4 conifer trees and deciduous trees, a raised terrace, orchard, turning circle on front drive, glass houses, garden pavilion and a well.
About 1872 Jonathan Shipley’s Great Grandson refers in a book ‘The Glorious Elms’ to the meadows between Twyford House and the river (HRO 26M89). On the 1896 OS map 2nd ed. the only change is that the walled garden on the south side is now one garden. By 1909 there is a double sized tennis court on the south side of ‘The Grove'(OS Map 3rd ed. 25”).
The 1922 sales brochure of Twyford Estate describes gardens of 5.5 acres, gently sloping lawns, fine old specimen and timber trees and shrubs, a wide, level terraced walk along the western front of the house, with a 45 ft heated span-roof greenhouse at the northern end and a quaint summerhouse at the Southern end. Also noted are a walled kitchen garden, three open kitchen gardens and a charming Chestnut Avenue (HRO 44M70/E87/3 1922).
Twyford House passes through several occupancies and in 1947 Twyford Estate was sold and the house and garden divided up into 3 dwellings, Twyford House, Wing House and Well House with respective gardens. The mature gardens incorporated the walled garden, kitchen garden, spacious lawn, gravelled terrace with flower borders and beds. The 200 yards of fishing, pasture land of about 18 acres are separated from what is now Twyford House (HRO 200A07/276). The woodland, known as The Grove, on the opposite side of the main road was sold to Twyford School (Crooks 2008, 163). In 1951 ‘The Grove’ was felled in 1951 due to decay (HRO 26M89/16).
In the 1960’s the garden is described at various times as containing:- “fine lawn with Beech and Pine trees and an avenue of Hornbeam tree, gravelled terrace with Rose border and flight of stone steps, flowering shrubs and Yew hedges, and a gravelled terrace leading to an attractive Georgian Summer House, (pers. comm. Owner 2014) walled garden, Mulberry tree, and a wood on the western perimeter (HRO Copy/8/1). In all it provides an interesting combination of formality with picturesqueness (HRO 51M89/174).
Mildmay House was granted and given permission in 2003 for alterations to existing garden wall giving access to part of what was Wing House garden (WCC 2003).

Current Description

Twyford House (Grade II* listed) consists of three dwelling the most significant of which is Twyford House, consisting of two of the bays mentioned above. The front of the house has a drive way with a planted turning circle. The largest part of the garden including The Garden Pavilion (Grade II listed) where Benjamin Franklin wrote part of his autobiography, has remained with Twyford House.
The last sale brochure when Twyford House was sold in 2012, notes a walled garden, vegetable garden and orchard, a west-facing terrace with steps leading down to an elegant hornbeam avenue. It also refers to mature trees and a rare foxglove tree, an ancient mulberry tree, in all 1.7 acres. There are also extensive outbuildings and the historic summerhouse favoured by Benjamin Franklin (Hambledon 2012 online).
However the garden of Twyford House had gone into decline and suffered from much neglect. The current owners are very keen to restore the garden to its former glory (2015) and in 2013/14 they were granted planning applications to remove and prune several trees for good tree management.
Currently the walled garden is under reconstruction, its orchard is being replaced, the large greenhouse will be completely restored; a potting shed has already undergone restoration. The ancient Mulberry tree (reputed to be the second oldest in Hampshire) and Yew tree wood have been pruned in the hope that they will recover. The avenue of Hornbeam’s has been replanted and a replacement Paulownia tomentosa (Foxglove) tree is planned. It is hoped that in time the remainder will be restored.

Vegetable garden looking towards the greenhouses

Vegetable garden looking towards the greenhouse

Summary and Significance

A Tudor or Jacobean house originally with ‘a bowling green’, altered in the early 1700s in Queen Anne style with a garden pavilion added. The gardens became more developed in the 19th century with kitchen gardens and specimen trees. The significance of Twyford House is the connection with an historic bowling green (now in the neighbouring property) and a link to Dr Benjamin Franklin who wrote part of his autobiography in the Pavilion, 1771.

HGT Research: April 2015


Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
2A10/H72.83T Hampshire Chronicle, 1946, 150 Years Ago Article
21M65/F7/237/2 Tithe map 1840
26M89/16 Twyford W.I. Scrapbook 1951
44M70/E87/3 The Twyford House Estate Sale Catalogue 26th June 1922.
46M72 Mildmay’s of Shawford
51M89/174 Twyford House article by Clifford Musgrave for ‘The Connoisseur Magazine’
71A05/1 Typescript copy of articles concerning Twyford local history, originally written by Revd. M E Hoets (Vicar of Twyford, 1895-1900) for the Emmanuel College Magazine, 1899-1900, including a history of Twyford House contributed by Mrs Smith Dampier
200A07/276 Twyford House Estate Sale Catalogue 1947.
Copy/8/1 Plans of Twyford House showing building alterations.

OS 1st ed. 25″ 1869
OS 2nd ed. 25″ 1896
OS 3rd ed. 25″ 1909
Tithe map HRO 21M65/F7/237/2

Crooks, Stanley ed. 2008, ‘Twyford 20th Century Chronicles’, HRO 942.2735
White, William, 1859 ‘Directory of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1859’ HRO 942.227

Electronic sources
FMP 2015: Find my past –
Hambledon 2012 March 2012.

Other sources
HGT Mildmay House, Twyford online
pers. comm. Owner November 2014; Sales catalogue, 23.04.1965 James Harris and Son – Owner’s copy
WCC 2003: Winchester City Council Planning Department, 10 Jan 2003, reference no. PE2046 & PE10298

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