Lyss Place (also known as Liss Abbass, Place House)4886

Liphook, England, Hampshire, East Hampshire

Brief Description

Lyss Place has pleasure grounds containing a walled former kitchen garden, now filled with a swimming pool installed in about 1970. To the south is a parterre with four grass plats and cruciform paths in early-17th-century style. In the west courtyard, there is a small formal garden in 17th-century antiquarian style with yews, lavender walks and turf seats. South of the pleasure grounds are the two medieval clay-bottomed fish ponds. New gardens have been added, including a glasshouse in 19th-century style, a range of frames with lights and raised beds. The stables have been repaired and the yard magnificently re-laid with ironstone cobbles.

History

Lyss Place has a house dating from the 14th century monastic structure, with early-17th-century alterations. Re-building and encasing took place in the early-19th century.

Detailed Description

The house and garden stand to the south of the Liss to Hawkley medieval road in a wide valley. The site is protected by sandstone hills to the south and closer hills of sandstone with higher chalk hills rising above to the north. The underlying soil is alluvial with spits of sand and clay. Indeed there is a brickfield on the Hawkley Road just before Hurst Gate. The presence of local clay would have made puddling the medieval ponds more cost-effective. Springs emerging beneath the hills to the north provided water. The streamlet canalized beside the ponds is a tributary of Batts Brook, part of the headwaters of The Rother.

There is no avenue (contrary to HCC AHBR Parks and Gardens Listing) and Mrs. Bashford (1922) thought there is an approach drive which was in place by 1870. The landscape park mentioned in the aforesaid listing is very small but there is a ha-ha, estate railings and veteran trees including a Cedar of Lebanon and two splendid Planes. A shelterbelt of mixed deciduous trees and conifers stands to the north of the house.

In the pleasure grounds is a walled former kitchen garden now filled with a swimming pool installed in about 1970. To the south is a parterre with four grass plats and cruciform paths in early-17th-century style. However, this is more likely to date from the early-19th-century, when the house which formerly projected further east was radically reconfigured.

Further enhancement is in the west courtyard where there is a small formal garden in 17th-century antiquarian style with yews, lavender walks and turf seats. There is an oblong cistern here, possibly originally a fish holding tank but certainly part of the domestic water management system directing overflow down to the ponds. As part of this system there is a storage tank below the courtyard paving. The large gargoyle beside the cistern was found in one of the sluices at the medieval ponds and is presumed to have come from the monastic building.

South of the pleasure grounds are the two medieval clay-bottomed fish ponds. The north-west pond is L-shaped and the southern half cleared and filled with water, while the south-east pond is choked with self-seeded trees and scrub though even in dry 2006 there were patches of muddy water. The form is clearly defined by the substantial causeways which are in good condition.

To the south of the causeways is the canalized straight cut of the feeder stream fed by springs and drains. This includes sluices from the ponds, only one of which is marked on any map. One sluice drained the smaller pond and three, as on the sketch map prepared in 2006, the bigger one. They are well-built from large ironstone slabs but decaying. There is no sign of either boat house or landing stage shown on maps from 1870 to 1910.

A hump marks the position of the islet which may have begun as a swan nest. The earthwork shown on the Milne Map of 1791 and the 2002 Ordnance Survey Map does not appear to be part of the medieval ponds and is very unlikely to be foundations of buildings or even a garden feature as this is the most low- lying part of the northern field and prone to flooding. Current research suggests there were withy beds here.

New gardens have been added, including a glasshouse in 19th-century style, a range of frames with lights and raised beds. The stables have been repaired and the yard magnificently re-laid with ironstone cobbles bought from a sand-pit near Puttenham, Surrey. Finally, Hurst Cottages on the Hawkley Road appear to be on 18th-century foundations on the site of the ‘rooms' and ‘gate' mentioned by Charles Cole in his will (1752). The ‘yew' at Whetham mentioned by Mrs. Bashford (1922) no longer exists, if it ever did. It is possible that it was mistaken for a huge still extant larch.

Though the medieval ponds were the primary target for examination and are even better preserved than initially supposed, this site has proved of wider-ranging interest from the restored and reconstructed pleasure grounds to the water management system associated with the house. Research into the history of the house and owners is on-going.

Features
  • Fishpond
  • Description: South of the pleasure grounds are the two medieval clay-bottomed fish ponds. The north-west pond is L-shaped and the southern half cleared and filled with water, while the south-east pond is choked with self-seeded trees and scrub though even in dry 2006 there were patches of muddy water. The form is clearly defined by the substantial causeways which are in good condition.
  • Ha-ha
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Parterre
  • Description: To the south is a parterre with four grass plats and cruciform paths in early-17th-century style. However, this is more likely to date from the early-19th-century, when the house which formerly projected further east was radically reconfigured.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Glasshouse
  • Description: There is a glasshouse in 19th-century style.
  • Stable Block
  • Description: The stables have been repaired.
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: Veteran trees include a Cedar of Lebanon and two splendid Planes
  • Tree Belt
  • Description: A shelterbelt of mixed deciduous trees and conifers stands to the north of the house.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: In the pleasure grounds is a walled former kitchen garden now filled with a swimming pool installed in about 1970.
  • Walk
  • Description: Lavender walk.
  • Garden Seat
  • Description: Turf seats.
  • Cistern
  • Description: There is an oblong cistern, possibly originally a fish holding tank but certainly part of the domestic water management system directing overflow down to the ponds.
  • Canal
  • Description: To the south of the causeways is the canalized straight cut of the feeder stream fed by springs and drains.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Liss
History

Detailed History

Lyss Place has a Grade II (343) house dating from the 14th century monastic structure, with early-17th-century alterations. Re-building and encasing took place in the early-19th-century. Attached are pleasure grounds set in a small park, a model farm and two medieval fishponds. The latter are partially silted up and scrub-filled, though one still contains water. Both have causeways, sluices and a canalized stream. The current owners have added garden features in a sensitive antiquarian style. It is thought that the name Lyss derives from the designation of ‘chief' or ‘main' place in the district.
Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

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