Chilworth Manor is a Victorian landscaped park fashioned from a much older deer park. The site was owned until 1946 by the Willis Fleming family. The house was brick built in stages and the garden developed. The site is now a hotel, conference centre and University of Southampton Science Park. There are fine views of the gardens, lake, collection of specimen trees and a Nature Conservation area.
The history of manorial lands at Chilworth can be traced from the time of the Domesday survey. Maps of the 16th and 17th century show deer parks on the land, but do not show any house. An estate map of 1755 is the earliest indication of there being a house on the site of the present manor.
Detailed DescriptionBy 1978 the Manor had not proved suitable as a hall of residence and was re-developed as a hotel and conference centre. Buildings were erected in the former large open field to the south forming a Science Park. A Chilworth Conservation Area was set up in 1989 covering an area of 27 acres of ancient and secondary woodland and unimproved meadow, to be maintained by a Management Committee and voluntary labour. The Science Park has been landscaped and the double avenue of limes renovated. The remainder of the grounds of twelve and a half acres are maintained by the hotel.
- Description: An avenue of lime trees was planted south of the farm buildings. The avenue has been renovated.
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- Manor House (featured building)
- Description: An estate map of 1755 is the earliest indication of there being a house on the site of the present manor. The house has since been re-built and enlarged.
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Detailed HistoryThe history of manorial lands at Chilworth can be traced from the time of the Domesday survey. Maps of the 16th and 17th century show deer parks on the land, but do not show any house. An estate map of 1755 is the earliest indication of there being a house on the site of the present manor, and beside it is marked ‘Garden'. It has not been possible to establish when this house was built, nor whether the vaulted cellars under the west side of the present house were part of it. No other map shows any buildings until the survey for the 1" Ordnance Survey made in 1806. However, in 1801, there is a contemporary reference to Chilworth, the seat of P Searle Esq ‘where the house is not seen from the road'.
In mid-19th century Chilworth House was owned by John Browne Willis Fleming, a substantial landowner in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, whose principal residence was North Stoneham. Chilworth House was let to tenants. A schedule of letting to Richard Pink in 1863 and map of an area of 35.5 acres, shows the layout of the grounds at that time. It includes a substantial house, adjacent farm buildings, a large open lawn (today the ecology meadow), a pond, woodland, a pleasure garden in front of the house, and a ‘new' garden (later the walled garden). There is a driveway to the Southampton road passing two round lodges, another to the village, a circular path round the open lawn, and a road from the adjacent farm to the Southampton road. In 1870 John Browne Willis Fleming and his wife Ida lived at Chilworth. John died two years later, his wife re-married and continued to live at Chilworth until 1890. Some alterations were made to the grounds but the general layout did not change.
In 1893 John and Ida's son, John Edward Arthur Willis Fleming, married and took up residence at Chilworth. He made changes to the garden near the house, and planted an avenue of lime trees across the big field south of the farm buildings, a deer ring of Thuja plicata, and other trees. In 1979 35 trees of exceptional merit were identified by Alan Mitchell. John Fleming and his son also substantially rebuilt and enlarged the house, which was re-named Chilworth Manor.
From 1913 to 1925 Chilworth Manor was again leased and parts of the estate were sold. Longsters Nurseries worked land north of the walled garden from around 1927 until 1939. During World War 2 the grounds were requisitioned and made into an army camp. In 1946 the Willis Flemings sold Chilworth Manor and approximately 90 acres to Mr John Malcolm Young, who set up a company Unity Heating, and lived with his family in the house. They made only small alterations to the layout of the garden.
In 1964 the University of Southampton bought the house and approximately 100 acres of land for a hall of residence. The walled garden was used by the Biology Department, and the factory building by ISVR and the Engineering Departments. All the grounds were maintained by the Sites and Buildings Department. Later, land to the south was taken for the M27.