|HCC Site ID:||1276||Parish:||Upton Grey|
|Designations:||House LB II, CA||Area:|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private residence|
Location and site
Upton Grey House is located within Upton Grey village, some 5 miles south east of Basingstoke. It is one of a small group of buildings in the north-west of the Conservation Area, where the road north from the historic village core meets Cleves Lane. The Old Travel Way – the course of the old Roman road linking Silchester to Chichester, runs through the village just north of the park.
At the time of the Domesday Survey, there were two former Saxon manors that have since merged to create Upton Grey. The principal manor was Hoddington (Odingetone), held by St Swithin’s Church in Winchester. The other, Upton (in Old English ‘Aoltone’ possibly meaning ‘higher farm’) was held by Hugh de Port. The descendants of the de Port family remained the overlords of Upton for two centuries, by which time it had become the principal manor of the settlement. In the mid 13th century, Upton estate came into the de Grey family, when it was sold by William Arundel the younger to John de Grey, Lord of Codnor. It remained in the de Grey family until 1467 when it was bought by Sir Richard Illingworth.
The house dates from the 18th century during which a plan was drawn up in 1741 entitled ‘A survey of part of the Lordship of Upton Grey in Hampshire, the estate of Edward Horne, esqr, 1741’. A hare coursing scene is also shown in the border, indication of the importance of field sports on this estate. The map may have been commissioned to effect a sale since it passed to the Skinner family around this time.
In 1800 John Hanbury Beaufoy acquired the manor and in 1818 commissioned a plan of the Gardens and Shrubberies at Upton Grey which itemised the elements of the garden;
A & B. Kitchen gardens
C. Melon Ground
D. Pleasure grounds and Shrubberies
E. Dwelling House
F. Coach House stables & yards
G. Walnut Plot
H. Drying Ground
In the 1860s, Upton Grey House was sold to Admiral Sir William Fanshawe Martin, and remained with the Martin family until 1902 when the estate was sold by Sir Richard Martin to Charles Holme, textile manufacturer, entrepreneur and founder of the influential ‘The Studio’ magazine. Mr Holme moved to Upton Grey House in about 1902 from the Red House, in Kent that Philip Webb had built for William Morris. In addition to Upton Grey House, the estate also included several houses, a great deal of the surrounding land in Upton Grey, and the Manor House which was in a fragile condition at that time. He commissioned the local architect Ernest Newton to carry out the alterations at the manor, and Gertrude Jekyll was engaged to prepare designs for the Manor House garden, which today is a on the National Register of Parks and Gardens.
Charles Holme was widely travelled and his Upton Grey House was described (in Campion 1923)as having a beautiful landscaped garden, richly planted with evergreen trees including ‘Ravenna’ Pine (Pinus pinea) brought from Italy, and a ‘splendid Cedar’. On his death in 1923, maps were prepared for the sale of the property and many of the features recorded in the 1818 map are present in the 1923 map with the addition of land at the eastern end of the garden – an extension of the wilderness with serpentine walks and shrubberies.
Today, the entrance drive to the house has moved from its earlier location directly into the stable yard from the junction of Church Street and Cleves Lane, to the eastern end of the park at the junction of Church Road and Cemetary Lane. the kitchen gardens located on the opposite side of Church Road are now included in the gardens of a large modern house.
In the 1923 map the drying ground and walnut plot have been integrated into the garden creating new lawns at the south and west of the house. The north west vista across the south lawn to a fountain/sundial garden and the summer house beyond, was defined by ornamental conifers in recitilinear beds edged with box – reminiscent of Gertrude Jekyll designs. This garden – illustrated in the Campion 1923 publication – remains in a reduced form today. In 2000, a new pool house was constructed in the garden on the site of the tennis court by the owner Mr Alton Irbey. Today the property is leased to the Rathbone Trust.
The Upton Grey Conservation Area was first designated in 1973 and subsequently extended in 1989 by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council in recognition of the special architectural and historic interest of the village.
The house dates from the 18th century, illustrated in the plan drawn up in 1741 entitled ‘A survey of part of the Lordship of Upton Gray in Hampshire, the estate of Edward Horne. A later map for John Hanbury Beaufoy (1818) shows clearly the extent of the park and gardens associated with the mansion house, and in 1923, the the estate map clearly indicates the continuity of layout and elements within the garden. Circumstances in the 20th century have resulted in the erosion of the estate and today there are no kitchen gardens attached to the park. However, the pleasure grounds, shrubberies and lawns of the 19th century layout remain largely intact.
De Grey, Horne, Opie, Skinner, Beaufoy and Holme were among the significant Hampshire family names associated with Upton Grey House.
Upton Grey House and its associated coach house, stables etc. forms an important collection of buildings and significant green space within the Conservation Area of Upton Grey.
It is a fine 18th century house with 19th and 20th century modifications, and with the gardens largely intact in layout since the early 19th century.
Research: EM Consultants for Basingstoke & Deane: December 2009