The parish of Oakley lies 2.5 miles west of Basingstoke, and Malshanger Park is located 1 mile north of the village. In the early 20th century changes in the fortunes of English landowners resulted in the breakup of many great estates including Malshanger, but the woodland persists as a backdrop to this fine parkland landscape. The house is no longer a single private residence, but is maintained to a high order, providing a ‘home in the country’ for weekend courses and activities planned by pastorates of the HTB foundation.
Malshanger has a long history dating back before the recording of the Domesday Book, and was the birthplace of William Wareham Archbishop of Canterbury in the early 16th century. Only the tower survives from this period – integrated into the new building project of Edward the First Lord Thurlow in the early 1800s.
Malshanger House lies 5 miles west of Basingstoke, standing in a well-wooded park to the west of the village of Church Oakley, and commanding extensive views over the surrounding countryside. It is approached from the west along Hook Lane that connects the mansion with Summerdown Lane and Sheardown Farm - once part of the wider estate. A fine brick and flint gate lodge built in 1859 marks the entrance to a long private driveway (public right of way) running north along the eastern boundary of Home Farm. The main access to the house is from the west.
The Georgian grounds (illustrated in the tithe map and later in the 1872 OS 6" map) included stables and outbuildings built around a courtyard guarded by the Tudor tower at the north west entrance, and well appointed kitchen gardens beyond the south west facing stable walls. Lean-to glasshouses were ranged along the southern boundary (modernised by the end of the 1870s). The pleasure gardens lie to the south west of the mansion and included a formal garden with circular walk leading to a focal point with views across the park to the south east, and back into the potager through the kitchen-garden wall. Long walks and carriage drives through shrubberies and down to the lodge gate are indicated. Tree belts are shown in the tithe map along with specimen deciduous and coniferous trees planted in designed clumps and informal groups in the park. The estates of Malshanger, Manydown and Tangier have common boundaries and part of Tangier park lies within the Church Oakley parish. The suggestion that an avenue of Lime trees was planted between the Tangier estate and Malshanger is indicated in the tithe map - a line of specimen trees is shown along the boundary between Tangier Park and Manydown Park into Witch Hazel Copse. More recent maps - 1872, 1896 confirm this, and recent aerial photographs suggest that many of the trees still survive. No tree survey was possible during this assessment.
During the latter half of the 19th century, the property was owned by Wyndham Spence Portal, whose family was noted for the Portals Ltd banknote manufacturing company in Laverstoke. He was created Baron Portal of Malshanger in 1901, and was Chairman of the London and South-West Railway Company, a local benefactor and very active in the affairs of the county. On his death in 1905 his son William sold the property to Mr. Godfrey Walter. The estate was on the market in 1927 and again in 1933 when it was broken up and the farms sold in separate lots, with Malshanger House sold to Mr Jeremiah Colman. It was after this time that a new Home Farm was built to the south of the mansion, as the estate farms were sold off.
Today the elaborate gardens to the southwest have largely disappeared, but the kitchen gardens with three large glasshouses remain. Vestiges of the 19th century tree planting remain within the park, and new infill plantations at Wych Hazel copse have been planted. The park is reduced to the south where land has been taken into production on either side of the south drive to the east of Home Farm. Originally donated in 1983 by the Coleman family for the use of Holy Trinity Brompton Church (HTB) in London, the house and estate is now run by a religious trust and is used for conferences and retreats and seminars by members of this very active Christian community. Recent planning approvals have been granted for the modification of the house to accommodate this extensive occupation.
The park retains the elements of an 19th century landscape - open parkland, small wilderness, and mature trees, with the main phase of development laid out between 1810 and 1870. It forms the setting of this fine Georgian mansion, as much of parkland landscape survives although the extent of parkland is reduced, and no recent replacement of mature parkland trees has been carried out.
Landscape Planning Status:
SMR Record No: 31327 Remains of polygonal brick tower
TPO etc No
Research: EM Consultants for Basingstoke & Deane: November 2009
Detailed description contributed by Hampshire Gardens Trust 13/04/2015
The manor of MALSHANGER (Gerlei, xi cent.; Gerdelai, xii cent.; Gerdeleigh, Gerlega, Yardesleye, xiii cent.; Maylsanger in Yerdele, Mailleshangre, xiv cent.; Maleshanger, xv cent.; Malsanger Yereley and Dyngley, xvi cent.) The 3 hides in ‘Gerlei' in Chuteley Hundred at the time of the Domesday Survey were in the possession of Walter the son of Other, governor of Windsor Castle and the ancestor of the baronial house of Windsor. The place is first documented in 1086 as ‘Mals(h)anter', 4 acres of land held by William Eu. In 1166 Robert de ‘Yerlega' held a knight's fee of William de Windsor. At the beginning of the 13th century the estate came through the de la Bere family to the Dyneley family and since then has been associated with many of the prominent families in Hampshire including Kingsmill, Fiennes and Spencer Portal.
In 1504 the estate was bought by the most distinguished member of a family which had already been established for many years at Malshanger - William Wareham, Chancellor of England and Archibishop of Canterbury, which office he held until his death in 1532. He was born at Malshanger and it was during his tenure in the early part of the 16th century that the Tudor Manor was built - a relic of which remains today. This octagonal shaped 4 storey gate tower of red tudor-type brick probably formed part of the gateway to the Tudor Manor House. No evidence remains of the manor house. In the late 16th century the estate came into the Kingsmill family and remained until 1806 when it was sold to Edward, First Lord Thurlow who was responsible for the building of the Georgian mansion house, leaving the tower as a feature of the original.
Detailed history contributed by Hampshire Gardens Trust 13/04/2015
Hampshire Gardens Trust