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Northington Grange


Northington Grange has the remains of landscape gardens and a park of around 300 hectares. It dates back to the early-19th century on a 17th-century site.


The eastern third occupies the floor and rising slopes of a valley. To the west, the western valley side continues to rise at a relatively even rate to form a ridge which reaches its crest on the western site boundary.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

A mid-18th-century landscape park, extended and embellished in the early 19th century as the setting for a neoclassical house and its associated formal terrace gardens designed by C R Cockerell.

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

The Grange (the name is synonymous with both the site and the main building) is situated some 5km north-west of New Alresford off the B3046 and immediately to the south and south-west of the villages of Northington and Swarraton. The area registered covers some 186ha, of which c 3ha comprises formal terraced and walled gardens and pleasure grounds and the remaining 183ha parkland, farmland, and woodland. The eastern third occupies the floor and rising slopes of the valley of the Candover stream which flows from north to south through the length of the site to join the River Itchen.

To the west, the western valley side continues to rise at a relatively even rate to form a ridge which reaches its crest on the western site boundary. The western and eastern boundaries abut roads (Northington Road to the west, the B3046 and a minor lane to the east) but are enclosed from these by broad tree belts. A further tree belt encloses the northern boundary from a public footpath running along most of its length while to the south, a narrow, fenced fringe of trees separates the site from adjacent farmland. The surrounding landscape, of a similar topography, is largely open in character and under arable cultivation.

Entrances and Approaches

The principal entrance to the site is on the east boundary, on the B3046 at Swarraton Lodge. The drive enters between the rustic, flint nodule-faced lodge (early C19, listed grade II) and a single flint- and stone-faced gate pier. It runs westwards, crossing the river en-route, until, some 600m from the lodge, it turns sharply southwards to run down the southern 300m section of an avenue of mature lime trees (this also extends northwards for some 150m). The avenue is shown on Taylor's map of Hampshire of 1759 as forming the principal approach to the house, the entrance to which lay on the north boundary, in Northington village. This arrangement remained until the early C19 (OS 1817) when Swarrraton Lodge and its drive were built.

At the southern end of the avenue the drive, gravelled at this point, encircles a central grassed oval which forms the forecourt to the north, entrance front of the house. West of its junction with the avenue, a branch of the main drive continues westwards past The Grange Farm to emerge onto Northington Road at New Lodge, the lodge built in association with the farm buildings between 1870 and 1889 (OS editions). There are two further entrances, one at the extreme north-west corner of the park at Northington Lodge (listed grade II), a rubble-flint with Purbeck stone lodge of c 1809 sited some 200m off the road, and another, established in the late C19 (not present on Greenwood's map of 1826 but shown on OS 1st edition surveyed in 1869), at the most southerly extent of the registered area at Abbotstone. Drives from these entrances, now (1998) farm tracks over some of their lengths, serve, respectively, the house and the stables, the drive from Northington Lodge following the entire length of the lime avenue en-route to the north front. An extensive system of park drives was laid out in the early C19 (Greenwood, 1826), including a 3km extended approach to Northington Lodge from the north-west on the A33 (outside the site as here registered) through 'well-kept woods' and '2 miles of trimmed yew trees and the stately lime avenue' (Gardeners' Chronicle 1884). The present (late C20) system of drives survives from this period.

Principle Building

The Grange (scheduled ancient monument, listed grade I) stands south-east of the centre of the registered area, on the lower slopes of the west side of the stream valley and overlooking the lakes and parkland. The principal part of the house comprises a stucco-encased oblong, nine bays long on the north and south elevations, the bays defined by pilasters and the three central bays projecting in the form of four square piers supporting a massive entablature which hides an attic storey and the roof. The east end, seven bays in width, projects with a Doric portico six columns wide and two deep.

The house appears as a two-storey structure with attic as the basement is concealed on the south and east sides within an equally massive podium with in-built flights of steps, its walls encased, like the house, in stucco and topped with stone copings. The west elevation consists of a brick face with stone dressings. Some 25m south-west of the house and raised on a similar podium with a flight of steps up to its west front stands a stucco-faced conservatory (listed grade I). Its west front projects in a tetrastyle Ionic portico. Encased within the present house is a former brick house, designed and built in 1670-3 by William Samwell for Sir Robert Henley (copy of plan in Ashmolean Museum; sketch reconstruction of its elevation in CL 1975). Its remodelling, to form `one of Europe's principal neoclassical monuments' (CL 1975), was carried out in 1805-09 by Sir William Wilkins for Henry Drummond. Its inconvenience as a family house caused its subsequent owner, Alexander Baring, to engage Robert Smirke to build a single-storey wing onto its western end. This wing was later extended at right angles and terminated by the conservatory by Charles Robert Cockerell in 1826 while a major remodelling of the principal interiors and the addition of a bachelor wing west of the conservatory by John Cox followed in 1868-70.

The conservatory was converted to a ballroom and picture gallery c 1890. All the C19 additions, with the exception of the conservatory, were demolished between 1969 and 1972 and the fitments from the main house sold. The shell of the house and the conservatory were given into guardianship in 1973, the house being reroofed and stabilised by the Department of the Environment from 1980 to 1983. The western elevation of Samwell's house, revealed by the demolition, was restored, with some modification, to its original appearance. The conservatory has been in use since 1998 as the venue for Grange Opera and is currently (2001-2) being extended northwards to create a new auditorium.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

The immediate surrounds to the south and east fronts of the house are laid out formally in a series of terraces built by William Wilkins in association with the remodelling of the house. A broad flight of steps from the south and east sides of the podium and a further flight from the conservatory lead down to a lower terrace, some 12m wide and laid to mown grass. On the east front, this lower terrace extends some 40m north beyond the house to terminate in a semicircular stone seat, probably designed by Cockerell (Redmill 2001), set between a pair of stone piers and backed by clipped yew hedging. The piers, reduced in height, were formerly gate piers associated with Samwell's C17 house. The lower terraces are supported by grass banks which drop down eastwards to open grassland and the lake.

The grassland, now (late C20) open, was planted with trees as a pleasure ground in the C19 (OS). Southwards, the terraces drop to further, fairly level ground, now subsumed into the adjacent arable farmland, which formed the site of two parterre gardens. These were laid out by Charles Robert Cockerell in 1826 in association with his building of the conservatory. They were enclosed from the park by balustrading and embellished with topiary trees, fountains, and formal bedding; they had been removed and grassed over by 1900 (watercolours by William Leech, 1864; photographs, C19 and C20). On the north, entrance side of the house, west of the carriage drive, an area of informal grass with a large loose clump of mixed trees at its southern end extends some 70m west of the forecourt and drive towards a fenced boundary with the park.


The park surrounds the house and formal gardens on all sides and is enclosed from the boundaries by tree belts largely comprising mixed deciduous species. To the north, west, and south the undulating ground is open in character and under arable cultivation, the tree cover restricted to a few large clumps and occasional individual trees including, on the south front, cedars of Lebanon. Some 350m north-north-west of the house, standing within an iron-railed enclosure and framed by trees, is the Stables or Carriage House (listed grade II). Constructed in brick with stone dressings and ranged around four sides of a courtyard with a tower topped with a baroque dome and vent turret on the south side, it was constructed to a design by John Cox in 1868-70 (Redmill 2001).

The former stables stood immediately west of the house and 'when the conservatory was built were of necessity removed' (Eyre 1890). Some 400m further west, on the north side of the drive from New Lodge, is The Grange Farm, built in 1878 by the fifth Baron Ashburton (LUC 1987). East and south-east of the house, the ground slopes gently towards the pair of narrow, sinuous lakes which wind the length of the valley from the bridge carrying the main drive (600m north-east of the house) to their outflow some 1.5km to the south. The outflow is spanned by a pair of early C19 bridges with parapets of rustic flint nodules and brick (listed grade II). An associated early C19 folly (listed grade II), consisting of a two-storey battlemented tower cased in flint, stands adjacent. The shores of both lakes are largely fringed with trees, including exotics, and an understorey of shrubbery, which screen views from the house to the water. A diagonal dam, with a waterfall below and a walk along its crest, separates the two lakes 250m south-east of the house; in the C19 and early C20, this walk, ornamented by planting, linked the terraces with the walled kitchen garden 600m to the south-east.

Sir Robert Henley, first Lord Northington, is credited with laying out the first park and creating the lakes at The Grange in the mid C18 (Hampshire County Magazine 1974), although details of these are not recorded until the early 1790s when Milne's map of Hampshire, published in 1791, shows the eastern half of the present park as parkland, laid out either side of a long, narrow lake. The woodland belt along the western estate boundary (along Northington Road) had also been planted. The Prince of Wales' lease in 1795-6 described the parkland as within a pale and `by estimation 660 acres [c 276ha]' with a `stock of deer 400 head' (Royal Archive Deeds 6/172).

By the early C19 (OS 1817), the parkland had been extended over agricultural land to Northington Road and planted with continuous tree belts on the north and west boundaries, and by 1826 (Greenwood), with an extensive pattern of tree clumps over its entirety, this last the work of Alexander Baring, first Baron Ashburton. Baring is also recorded as having 'the piece of water enlarged' (LUC 1987) which appears to be confirmed by the increased size of the southern lake on Greenwood's map. The early C19 pattern of tree planting, shown in detail on the OS 1st edition map along with remnants of two further formal avenues radiating west and south from the house (the latter recorded 'as of some age' in the Gentleman's Magazine in 1788) survived into the mid C20 (OS). Extensive clearance of the parkland trees took place in 1933-4 in the brief period of ownership by Messrs Fox and Sons.

Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden lies some 600m south-south-east of the house. It comprises a rectangular brick-walled enclosure some 100m x 50m in size and is laid out with formal and ornamental gardens, a vegetable garden, and a swimming pool. It is surrounded by further ornamental woodland. The kitchen garden is recorded as being built in 1824 when the previous '2 acres of land devoted to horticultural purposes were thrown into the park and a new area of 6 acres walled in' (LUC 1987). It is shown as occupying a 100m square on OS editions from 1869 to the mid C20, the northern half being subsequently demolished. This is now (late C20) the site of a new building, Lake House, for which the surviving walled enclosure forms the private garden.


  • Isaac Taylor, A Map of Hampshire, 1" to 1 mile, 1759
  • Thomas Milne, Hampshire or the County of Southampton ..., 1" to 1 mile, 1791
  • C and J Greenwood, A Map of the County of Southampton ..., 1" to 1 mile, 1826
  • OS Surveyor's drawing, 2" to 1 mile, surveyed 1808 (British Library Maps)
  • OS Old Series, 1" to 1 mile, published 1817
  • OS 6" to 1 mile:
  • 1st edition surveyed 1869, published 1870
  • 2nd edition published 1897
  • 3rd edition published 1910
  • OS 25" to 1 mile:
  • 1st edition published 1872
  • 3rd edition published 1910


  • William Leech, watercolours of the formal terrace gardens at The Grange commissioned by Francis Baring third Baron Ashburton, September 1864 (private collection)
  • The Hon Caroline Wyndham, 3 watercolours of the Grange 1825 and 1827 (reproduced in E Banks Assocs 1990)

Archival items

  • Lease for the Grange, 19 October 1795 (Royal Archive Deeds 6/172)
  • William Samwell, Plan of The Grange, c 1670 (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
  • Jones and Clark, Order books with references to the conservatory (MS 1056/249), (Birmingham City Archive)
  • Photographs of The Grange, nd (pre 1868) (Winchester City Museum)

Description written: June 1999 Amended: January 2002

Register Inspector: VCH

Edited: January 2004, February 2022

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The grounds are open most days throughout the year but may close early in June and July as The Grange Festival takes place on site, or be closed all day occasionally at other times for private events.

There is no access to the interior generally except during Heritage Open Days.

Parts of the site are uneven and there are steep steps up to the terrace. Not suitable for unaided wheelchairs or buggies


The site is off the B3046, 4 miles north of New Alresford.


The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

14th - 16th Century

Hyde Abbey held lands forming the present estate of The Grange in the 14th century. After the surrender of the abbey at the Dissolution in 1538, its land passed to the Crown.

17th - 18th Century

In 1641 it was in the ownership of Sir Benjamin Tichborne who in 1662 sold it to Sir Robert Henley. By that date, Henley had already acquired the adjoining estate of Swarraton and between 1665 and 1673 had a house designed and built for himself by the architect William Samwell (born 1628).

On Henley's death in 1692, The Grange passed first to his son, Anthony, then to his grandson, another Anthony, in 1711. The house was described in 1718 as 'pleasantly situated.. being surrounded by trees so that it cannot be seen till you come close to it' (quoted in E Banks Associates 1990). In 1745, The Grange passed to Robert Henley, a descendent of the first Sir Robert, who became Lord Chancellor in 1761 and was ennobled as the first Lord Northington in 1764. In that year he employed Robert Adam (1728-92) to design a kitchen block and a bridge and also laid out the park landscape and created lakes by damming the river (Hampshire County Magazine 1974). Robert, the second Earl, succeeded in 1772 but on his death in 1787, his sisters sold the estate to Henry Drummond. The park was described in 1788 as enclosed by 'well-planted' boundaries and did 'not look beyond its own demains which are beautifully laid out' (Gentleman's Magazine 1788). Henry Drummond was succeeded by his young grandson, Henry, in 1795 and during the following two years The Grange was leased as a hunting box by George, Prince of Wales. The architect Henry Holland (1745-1806) was employed to carry out minor repair works (Country Life 1975).

19th Century

On reaching his majority in 1805, Henry Drummond commissioned the architect William Wilkins (1770-1837) to remodel The Grange in the Greek Doric style. In 1817, Drummond's extravagance and a loss of interest caused him to sell up and the estate was bought by Alexander Baring (a cousin of Sir Thomas Baring of Stratton Park - see the description of this site elsewhere in the Register) who employed first Robert Smirke (1780-1867) to build a west wing, then in 1823 Charles Robert Cockerell (1788-1863) to extend the wing and add a conservatory. Cockerell also supervised the construction of the formal terraced gardens, completed by 1826, while Baring worked further on the park by extending its boundaries and planting many more trees (Eyre 1890). Created Baron Ashburton in 1835, Baring was succeeded by his sons and grandson.

Alexander Hugh Baring, fourth Baron Ashburton, extended the house further and improved the estate, adding new farm buildings and trees to the park while the fifth Baron Ashburton, inheriting in 1889, converted the conservatory to a picture gallery.

20th Century

The Grange and its estate was sold in 1933 to the agents Fox and Sons and many of the trees were felled before a resale in 1934 to Lewis Wallach who unsuccessfully offered the house and its contents to the nation. The buildings were occupied by the army during the war and offered again to the nation on Wallach's death in 1962. In 1964, the Hon John Baring, son of the sixth Baron, bought back the estate for the Baring family to farm and in 1969 he obtained planning permission to demolish the now-empty house.

The 19th-century additions, except the conservatory, were pulled down but public outcry saved the main building and in 1973 the house, conservatory, and a small surrounding area of pleasure ground were given into the guardianship of the Secretary of State. Since 1983, these have been in the care of English Heritage. The remaining areas of terrace gardens and the entire park are privately owned while in 1998, a lease was granted to Grange Opera to run summer seasons of performances in the conservatory.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1229
  • Grade: II*


  • Mansion House (featured building)
  • Description: Greek Revival style
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential





Open to the public


Civil Parish