St Edward's School (also known as Melchet Court, Melchet Park)4957

Romsey, Hampshire, England, Hampshire, Test Valley

Brief Description

The site has an 18th-century landscaped park created over an ancient Royal deer park by owner John Osborne. Features include a lake, woodland and Hindu Temple. The estate was bought by the 2nd Lord Ashburton. The Jacobean-style house was designed by Henry Clutton. Terrace, balustrading and parterres were added. In the early-20th-century, the estate was acquired by Lord Melchet, who added a Dutch water garden. The site is now St Edwards School, which belongs to Clifton Catholic Children's Society.

History

At the time of the Domesday Survey Melchet Park, Wood or Forest was part of the Royal Forest of Clarendon. A Royal deer park was created, which was disparked in 1610. John Osborne purchased the estate in 1791-92. Around this time the grounds were laid out in the English Landscape style.

Detailed Description

A Report in 1992 stated that the park had been altered to produce a low maintenance park which was very functional. The same probably still applies in 2007. There are large areas of mown grass suitable for school purposes as well as large areas of meadow and pasture, also functional and fitting into the design principles of the park.

The woodlands with some oak and ash remaining required management in 1992 and the situation in 2007 is not known. The lake is somewhat overgrown, as are the paths around it, but it remains a feature of the estate. Closer to the school there are close-cut lawns and flower beds with the terrace, steps and small canal in part still remaining from its Victorian extravagance. The lower terrace no longer has any parterres.

The façade and the interior of the main house have remained as they were in Lord Melchet's era. The house is listed Grade II.

Hampshire Gardens Trust contributed to some maintenance work on the large walled garden, which remains unproductive.

Features
  • Parterre
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  • Garden Wall
  • Description: Hampshire Gardens Trust contributed to some maintenance work on the large walled garden, which remains unproductive.
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  • Lawn
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  • Lake
  • Description: The lake is somewhat overgrown, as are the paths around it, but it remains a feature of the estate.
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  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: The lower terrace no longer has any parterres.
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  • School (featured building)
  • Description: In 1863 the second Lord Ashburton, William Wyndham Baring, began the present house, built in Jacobean style and designed by Henry Clutton.
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  • Canal
  • Description: Small canal.
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Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Melchet Park and
History

Detailed History

At the time of the Domesday Survey Melchet Park, Wood or Forest was part of the Royal Forest of Clarendon. In the13th century, so much timber from Melchet Park was used by various Priors that the Hundred Court protested that ‘Melchet was being laid waste by gifts and sales to the King'.

In 1357 the Sheriff of Wiltshire received an order to make a Lodge in the King's Park of Melchet and about 20 acres surrounding the lodge were enclosed. Richard Audley, Chief Ranger, who lived in the Lodge in 1577, obtained leave from Queen Elizabeth I to enclose 240 acres of the Park. In 1610, Sir John Daccombe disparked Melchet of deer, turning part into pasture, part arable and part coney warren.

John Osborne purchased the estate in 1791-92. Around this time the grounds were laid out in the English Landscape style. The park was surrounded by a belt of trees through which small glimpses of further woodlands and field could be seen. Views towards the New Forest were an integral part of the design. In 1800 Osborne erected a Hindu Temple containing a bust of his friend, Warren Hastings. Though this is no longer there, the name Temple Park remains. Oaks and beeches were planted in clumps in the late-18th-century. Melchet Park Lake was also thought to have been constructed at this time.

In 1835, the park was conveyed to Alexander Baring, who the same year became the first Lord Ashburton. In 1863 the second Lord Ashburton, William Wyndham Baring, began the present house, built in Jacobean style and designed by Henry Clutton. It was completed by his widow in 1866 after William's death in 1864. A fire in 1873 destroyed part of the house which was restored again by Henry Clutton. The lower terrace and parterre were contemporary with the house and are typical of mid-Victorian formality. The entrance drive was through a Gateway and passed alongside a large lake with water lilies. In 1881 there was also a young avenue of limes which did not thrive particularly well.

Lord Melchet purchased the property in 1911 and added to both the house and garden. Additions included an area usually known as the Dutch Garden, which was designed by Darcy Braddell and built between 1912 and 1914. Figures designed by Carl Milles were placed around the garden. At the western extreme of the park was the Dingle and Dell and a walled garden. This Dingle had several exotic trees. The walled garden had 20 glasshouses in its heyday and was also a major flower garden.

Melchet Court was not always occupied and was sold in 1935.

The building and grounds were purchased for use by Pinewood School in 1939. Almost immediately it was taken over by the army at the outbreak of World War 2 and served as General Headquarters Southern Command. The Ministry of Aircraft Production later requisitioned the building and the aircraft firm, Saunders Roe occupied the premises. After the war the Sisters of Nazareth moved in. The Salesian Fathers were the next occupants, leaving in 1962.

The building was purchased by the Trustees of the Clifton Catholic Children's Society and a new school called St Edwards was established. Extensive classrooms, a swimming pool, gymnasium and stables were added. The school provides education for pupils with specific learning difficulties associated with behavioural problems.

Period

  • Late 18th Century
Associated People

Just one person associated to St Edward's School

Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here

Other websites

Owners

  • Clifton Catholic Children?s Society

References

Contributors

  • Hampshire Gardens Trust

  • Mary Jackson

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