Will Hall Farm

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HCC Site ID: 1837 Parish: Beech
Designations: Farm LB II Area: 2.59 ha (6.4 acres)
Access: Historic site Ownership: Private/ converted to housing &
16th century barn offices

Location and site

The Manor of Will Hall is recorded in the Domesday Book, it lies to the west of Alton. The farm itself is in a valley near the source of the River Wey and the farmland of 600 acres rises gently away to the north, consisting of woodland, arable and pasture. It was notable for hop growing in the 19th century and well into the 20th.

Historic development

The farmhouse was built either in the late 17th or early 18th century and is sited where an earlier house existed, possibly incorporating part of it. Behind it are a range of four oast houses and a hop kiln, which form the west side of the walled garden. The farmyard next to the house is made up of a complex of buildings including a 16th century barn, granary and stabling. In front of the house is a small enclosed garden which borders onto Brick Kiln Lane, which led to a brick kiln in use in the 19th century, and was one of the main roads to Shalden before the turnpike up the New Odiham Road was created. Between the front garden and the road was a pond, which has returned during the wet autumn of 2000.
One of the longest tenancies was to the Gunner family who farmed there for 200 years from approximately 1700 to 1900. William Terrell Gunner kept a diary beginning in 1845 which chronicles the farming and social life of the times.
Fanny Adams was brutally murdered on the farm, in 1867 gave rise to the song Sweet Fanny Adams.

Current description

Little remains of the garden, but what makes it special is the setting. The main farmhouse and its’ juxtaposition to the farmyard with its’ range of buildings including a granary and a 15th century barn. The farmhouse, barn, oasts, granary and garden walls are Grade II listed. 

The land was owned by Winchester College from 1484 but in 2003 the farm complex of 2.59 ha (6.4 acres) was sold to Alton Building Preservation Trust in a back to back deal with a local developer. The main house was restored as a single dwelling, the oast houses converted into two residences and a further two houses made from converted farm buildings. The ancient barn is now an office and three new houses have been built. The site retains some of the feeling of a farm complex.

Summary

Recorded in the Domesday Book, it lies to the west of Alton on land that contains the source of the River Wey. The farm complex lies near the road in the valley and the 600 acres of farmland rise gently away to the north consisting of woodland, pasture and arable land, Noted in the 18th & 19th century for its’ hop growing. Although little remains of the garden, the relationship of the house and farm buildings which provide an enclosed yard of 15th century barn, granary and oast houses give it a special character.
HGT Research: January 2001 Updated March 2008, Amendments February 2014


Our address

Address:
Beech Historic site Click for Disclaimer & copyright
GPS:
51.147751207723005, -0.9922356603783555

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