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HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Henry Sturmy, whose family had held the manor of Elvetham from the mid-13th century, was granted permission in 1359 to inclose land to make a park, which was further enlarged by his nephew William in 1403. William's grandson, John Seymour, inherited in 1464. Elvetham passed to his grandson, Edward Seymour, in 1536, who used it as a summer residence for his children. Edward was created Earl of Hertford and later, in 1547, Duke of Somerset, but following his execution for treason in 1552, his estates were forfeited. Elvetham was returned to his son, another Edward, who was created Earl of Hertford in 1558-9 (Victoria County History 1911). In 1591, Queen Elizabeth visited Elvetham and was entertained by the Earl 'in magnificent style' which entailed the erection in his small park of buildings to accommodate the Queen's retinue and the creation of a new landscape for her entertainment comprising a crescent pond set with three ornamented island pavilions (Earl of Hertford 1591).

The Earl died in 1621 and his successor, his grandson William, sold Elvetham in 1650 to Sir Robert Reynolds, whose daughter married Reynolds Calthorpe. The estate passed to the Calthorpe family, a descendant, Henry, being created Lord Calthorpe in 1796. The house was remodelled by the family in 1740, the series of garden enclosures and formal canal shown on a plan of 1791 possibly dating from this period (Inspector's Report 1988). In 1792, the landscape designer William Emes (1730-1803) took a twenty-one-year lease on Elvetham and lived there at least until 1796 and possibly until 1802. He altered the form of the park (Inspector's Report, 1988) and may have carried out landscape works. J C Loudon's Encyclopaedia of 1822 records Emes as having 'laid out the park', but although memoranda (Hampshire Records Office) record planting activity in the park at the end of the 18th century, there is no clear evidence that Emes was involved. The Calthorpes continued planting and landscaping into the 19th century (Elvetham Papers) and by 1871 (Ordnance Survey) had canalised a section of the River Hart, constructed a lake on its course, enlarged the park with the addition of the New Park (north-west of the house), and planted a grand Wellingtonia avenue. The house was destroyed by fire in 1840 and rebuilt, with a formal terrace, to a design by S S Teulon (1812-73) between 1859 and 1862 (Country Life 1970). A further formal terrace was added in 1911-12, as was an azalea garden, to designs by William Goldring (1854-1919). In 1953, Elvetham Hall and its surrounding gardens were bought from the Calthorpe family by ICI, from whom Sir Emmanuel and Lady Kaye in turn bought them in 1965. The house and gardens have been run since then as a conference centre while the registered parkland, part of which is laid out as a golf course, remains (1999) in private ownership.

Site timeline

1591: In 1591, Queen Elizabeth visited Elvetham and was entertained by the Earl 'in magnificent style' which entailed the erection in his small park of buildings to accommodate the Queen's retinue and the creation of a new landscape for her entertainment comprising a crescent pond set with three ornamented island pavilions.

1840: The house was destroyed by fire in 1840.

1859 to 1862: The house was rebuilt, with a formal terrace, to a design by S S Teulon.

1965: The house and gardens have been run since 1965 as a conference centre.

People associated with this site

Designer: William Emes (born 1729 died 13/03/1803)

Designer: William Goldring (born 1854 died 1919)

Architect: Samuel Sanders Teulon (born 02/03/1812 died 02/05/1873)

Features

terrace

Feature created: 1859 to 1862

Creator: Samuel Sanders Teulon (born 02/03/1812 died 02/05/1873)

terrace

Feature created: 1911 to 1912

Creator: William Goldring (born 1854 died 1919)

planting

Feature created: 1911 to 1912

Creator: William Goldring (born 1854 died 1919)

Azalea garden

river

The River Hart runs south to north-east through the centre of the site.