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Woolton House

The area around Woodhay and the Cleres was part of a vast royal hunting forest which probably accounts for the pattern of settlement, with small hamlets set in forest clearings. The Manor of East Woodhay was the property of the ‘See’ of Winchester (ie the official seat – sedes- of a bishop) and confirmed by Edward I in 1284. In 1648 East Woodhay was included in the sale of the bishop’s lands, the manor purchased by James Storey and the manor house and land by John Goddard and Tichborne Long. On the restoration of Charles II the manor was restored to the bishopric. Eventually the whole estate was acquired by the Earl of Carnarvon. The original 18th century house was a rectangular 3-storey block with its main front facing north east. The Grade 11 building (listed in 1995), was remodelled and extended in the 1930s. The mansion house now faces south west across a wide expanse of parkland with long views up to Farm Copse and south towards Woolton Hill. Access to the park, has changed in recent times. Today the main driveway crosses the grazed land to the north west, joining the original drive across the lawns beside the old pond. A serpentine path encirles the lawn, joining the service drive to the walled gardens and production areas from Fullers Lane. The formal pleasure gardens to the south consist of a large grass terrace contained by a retaining wall, leading up to a long grass plat. Access into the potager is through a formal garden contained by evergreen hedges and the gate in the high kitchen garden wall. Garden buildings and walls contain the unusual shaped kitchen garden. In May 2004 the owner of Woolton House commissioned Pascal Cribier, a French designer, to create a new design for the garden inspired by the artist Mondrian. The garden is described in an article from The Times June 12, 2004
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