When sold in 1952, the site was listed as having ornamental grounds with cedars, a Wellingtonia, Mulberry and Fig trees, a revolving thatched summer house and a walled garden with glass houses and vines, peaches and nectarines. Progressive redevelopment as offices and research laboratories since the 1950s, leaves little of the garden remaining. All buildings apart from the main house have been demolished and the parkland has become playing fields with tennis courts and a pavilion.
In 1956 the estate was divided when Plessey's acquired the mansion, entrance drive with lodge, walled garden, stable block and cottages amounting to 22 acres. Progressively the site has been developed for the needs of a research company. Employees were allowed to use the walled garden in the early years until it was built over and redesigned. Major developments took place in 1998 and not a lot of the grounds remain.
Roke Manor Research Ltd., its buildings, laboratories, car parks and playing fields cover three quarters of the site.
- Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts
Roke Manor lies to the north-west of Romsey on the brow of high land above the River Test, in a commanding position at just over 50 metres about sea-level. There are several early references to the land, the Manor of Roke (Oke or Oak) being linked with the Manors of Stanbridge and Ranvilles. The Victorian County History of Hampshire refers to Roke as being in the possession of the Dean and Canons of Windsor in the 15th century. This is incorrect and has been confused with Roke Manor, Odiham in East Hampshire. From 1550 the three manors of Roke, Stanbridge and Ranvilles were owned jointly. The Kirkeby family were in possession from the mid-1500s until 1652, followed by the Gollop family, from whom John Fifield acquired Stanbridge in 1702 and Roke in 1709.
The first appearance on any map of the existence of Roke is in 1796 when Job Fifield built Roke Farm, a similar distance south of the Winchester to Salisbury road, directly south of his brother's farm, Stanbridge. On the death of Job Fifield in 1840 his son Job inherited Roke and his daughter Catherine/Katherine, who married Charles John Hall, inherited Stanbridge. Job junior set about rebuilding the farm and improving the grounds to the east of the house which became known as ‘The Park'.
The Tithe Map of 1844/45 shows Roke Farm, a house, garden, yard, buildings and land amounting to 209 acres, Stanbridge Farm, 239 acres and another 162 acres in joint ownership between Job Fifield and his brother-in-law Charles Hall. The cottage at Roke Farm is shown as being owned by a John Fifield and let to a tenant.
In 1857, Roke Farm was sold by Job shortly before his death to Thomas Wingate-Henderson who made major changes. The farm was moved to a new site next to the lodge, the house greatly enlarged, formal gardens laid out, a walled garden and stable block built and the site was named Roke House. John Derby Allcroft bought Roke House at auction in 1895, when it was described as ‘a site of great natural beauty', a mansion with six reception rooms and fifteen bedrooms, stabling for eleven horses and 270 acres. From this date the property became known as Roke Manor.
William Buckley Gladstone was the next owner, buying the 360 acre estate in 1919. The house was surrounded by pleasure grounds, a large croquet lawn, rose pergola and summer house. It also had a well-stocked one and half acre walled garden, a range of glass houses, a 30 foot. vinery, peach house and plant house. Captain Green-Wilkinson bought the estate of 407 acres in 1922 and then in 1935 it was sold to Albert Edward Ansell.
- Features & Designations
- House (featured building)
- Now Offices And Laboratories
- Latest Date:
- Key Information
Part: standing remains
Open to the public