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The manor of Embley belonged to the abbey of Romsey in the 10th century, passing into Norman hands in 1087. John Shottere was recorded as owner in 1431 but by 1500 it had passed to the Kirby family in whose hands it remained until passing by marriage to the Ashley family in the early 17th century. During the 18th century, Embley passed by marriage and in divided ownership to the Wyndham family and to John Thorpe until the two parts were reunited in 1783 under the ownership of Sir William Heathcote of Hursley Park, Winchester (Victoria County History 1908). He and his son Thomas enlarged the estate, added to the house, and laid out drives and gardens (Chapman 1995). Following Thomas’ death in 1825, the estate passed to William Heathcote who sold Embley to William Edward Nightingale, the father of Florence Nightingale. The family made extensive alterations and enlargements to the house in 1837 and laid out a formal terrace to the south. Embley remained with the Nightingales until the death of William’s nephew in 1894 after which it was sold, in 1895 to Mr Archibald Coats, in 1898 to Major Spencer Chichester, and in 1921 to John Joseph Crossfield, the last two owners further developing both the formal and the woodland gardens. After the Second World War the estate was divided and sold, a school being established in the house and surrounding grounds; in the late 1940s this was replaced by the present Embley Park School. Subsequent division and sale in the late 20th century has enabled the school, which is a registered charity, to purchase the lease on the house, gardens, and a part of the adjacent park, and the Wellow Golf Club to build the present course which lies both within and to the south-west of the park. The remainder of Embley is now (1998) in the hands of more than a dozen private owners.

Site timeline

1825: The estate was bought by Edward Nightingale, father of Florence Nightingale.

After 1945: After World War 2 the estate was divided and sold, a school being established in the house and surrounding grounds

People associated with this site

Designer: Mr Joseph John Crosfield (born 11/04/1866 died 09/05/1940)



There are mid-19th-century and early-20th-century formal terraces.