Tunworth Old Rectory is an attractive country house set in an immaculate 20th-century garden which incorporates a designed garden within a natural landscape of trees and parkland, and by the introduction of a recent lime avenue it reaches into the wider landscape of parkland. Some of the stone work in the garden originates from the old Royal Horse Guards Barracks in Knightsbridge.
The site had been owned by the church authorities for many centuries and there is some evidence of a stew-pond close to the church. At the end of the 19th century the glebe land around the house was classified as ‘parkland’ on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map of 1871. Some improvements were made to the garden from 1934 by Wm. Wood of Taplow, but most of the existing garden was created from the 1960s to the end of the century. A much earlier resident of Tunworth Rectory of some note was Joseph Warton, 18th-century poet, critic and essayist.
Location and site
Tunworth is a small hamlet located 5 miles south-east of Basingstoke. It lies in a conservation area within an open farmland setting in undulating countryside. To the north-west lies Hackwood Park (Grade I) and to the south-west and immediately bordering this site lies the Herriard Estate (Grade II). The Old Rectory lies in a hollow beside the ancient church of All Saint's; it is bordered on the west by the woods of the Herriard estate. It is approached by a short drive under mature trees and the garden lies chiefly to the west and south of the house. Part of the property lies within the Conservation Area but not the lime avenue which extends into the pasture-land to the south (Tunworth Conservation Area Appraisal).
A site visit was made in March 2011. The designed garden lies on the west side of the house. This comprises two main areas each delivering a strong statement of order and control as witnessed by the clipped yew hedges, stone paths, balustrades, obelisks and topiaried evergreens. Outside these gardens is a softer, more natural setting of trees, some young, some very old, underplanted with great drifts of spring bulbs. The large field to the south of the property is natural pasture-land in which deer were seen grazing and which is mown once a year for hay but it is linked to the main garden by a recently-planted lime avenue which stretches some two hundred metres uphill into the wider landscape. The nature of the site is low-lying and so there are not extensive views out of the garden except up the lime avenue to the south. The site is protected, calm, rural and idyllicly situated beside the Norman church of All Saints and the seventeenth-century Manor Farm with its listed barns and granary.
HGT Research: March 2011
Paterson, A. Gardens of England Volume III Hants and the Isle of Wight, 1978
All other maps from HCC/HGT database
Times Digital Archive 1785-1985: http://www3.hants.gov.uk/library/reference-online/ref-newspapers.htm
Victoria County History: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=56766
Tunworth Old Rectory Website: www.tunwortholdrectory.co.uk
Detailed description contributed by Hampshire Gardens Trust 17/04/2015
In 1765 the Reverend Joseph Wharton, the poet and essayist was the resident rector. By the time of the tithe maps of 1840 the glebe lands around the rectory measured about seven acres with more extensive agricultural holdings bringing the total land held to some forty acres and in 1845 the rectory was considerably extended. The living was then in the gift of the Jervoises of Herriard (Victoria County History). In the early twentieth century the rectory and most of the glebe land passed into private ownership and in 1952 was purchased by a descendant of Lord Camrose of nearby Hackwood Park. The garden was created by these owners and it has stayed in their family until today, 2011 (Tunworth Old Rectory Website). In the HRO there are slides of the garden taken by Robert Lawrence during NGS visits in 1978 and 1998 (HRO:92A03/105). In 1978 it was featured in the series Gardens of England, Vol. III, Hants and the Isle of Wight (Paterson 1978).
Detailed history contributed by Hampshire Gardens Trust 17/04/2015
Hampshire Gardens Trust