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Townhill Park

Townhill Park

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Townhill Park is a suburb of Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

, England, bordering Swaythling
Swaythling
Swaythling was once a village but over the years it has gradually become a suburb and electoral ward of Southampton in Hampshire, England. The ward has a population of 13,394....

, Bitterne Park
Bitterne Park
Bitterne Park is a suburb and Electoral Ward of Southampton, England, on the Eastern bank of the River Itchen, built on sloping parkland which once formed part of Bitterne Manor....

 and West End
West End, Hampshire
The Parish of West End in Hampshire is situated within the borough of Eastleigh, and to the north east of the city of Southampton. As well as the village itself, the parish contains the Chartwell Green suburb of Southampton....

. It is built on land which once belonged to the house which carries the same name.

History


The Manor
Manorialism
Manorialism, an essential element of feudal society, was the organizing principle of rural economy that originated in the villa system of the Late Roman Empire, was widely practiced in medieval western and parts of central Europe, and was slowly replaced by the advent of a money-based market...

 of Townhill was granted to Sir William Paulet by Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 in 1536 after the Dissolution of the Monasteries
Dissolution of the Monasteries
The Dissolution of the Monasteries, sometimes referred to as the Suppression of the Monasteries, was the set of administrative and legal processes between 1536 and 1541 by which Henry VIII disbanded monasteries, priories, convents and friaries in England, Wales and Ireland; appropriated their...

. The land was mainly used for farming, and became known as Townhill Farm.

Townhill Farm became part of the Manor of South Stoneham
Swaythling
Swaythling was once a village but over the years it has gradually become a suburb and electoral ward of Southampton in Hampshire, England. The ward has a population of 13,394....

, but was purchased in 1787 by Nathaniel Middleton, who had made his fortune in the service of the British East India Company
British East India Company
The East India Company was an early English joint-stock company that was formed initially for pursuing trade with the East Indies, but that ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and China...

. He turned the farmhouse into a private home, and the estate became known as Townhill Park. He enlarged the farmhouse, but a fire resulted in a complete revamp of the property in 1793. The property later passed into the hands of the Gater family, who also owned the nearby Gater's Mill in Mansbridge
Mansbridge
Mansbridge is a suburb on the northern perimeter of Southampton, England. The area is named after the Mans Bridge which spans the River Itchen. For a considerable time, this was the southern-most crossing point of the river, before the construction of Woodmill in Swaythling...

.

In 1897, Townhill Farm was purchased by Samuel Montagu, 1st Baron Swaythling
Samuel Montagu, 1st Baron Swaythling
Samuel Montagu, 1st Baron Swaythling was a British banker who founded the bank of Samuel Montagu & Co.. He was a philanthropist and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1900, and was later raised to the peerage.Montagu was born in Liverpool as Montagu Samuel, the second...

, for his son Louis (who became the second Baron Swaythling
Baron Swaythling
Baron Swaythling, of Swaythling in the County of Southampton, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1907 for the prominent Jewish banker, Liberal politician and philanthropist, Sir Samuel Montagu, 1st Baronet. He had already been created a Baronet, of Swaythling in the...

 in 1911). In 1912, extensive further modiciations were made to the building by architect Leonard Rome Guthrie. The gardens at Townhill Park were laid out by Gertrude Jekyll
Gertrude Jekyll
Gertrude Jekyll was an influential British garden designer, writer, and artist. She created over 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and the USA and contributed over 1,000 articles to Country Life, The Garden and other magazines.-Early life:...

 and were noted for their rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. The Montagu Family lived in Townhill Park until the mid 1940s.

The property was sold in 1948. 294 acres (1.2 km²) were sold to Southampton Borough Council for housing, and the suburb of Townhill Park came into existence. Meanwhile the house itself and the remaining 30 acres (121,405.8 m²) of land became a school for underprivileged girls, owned and operated by Middlesex County Council
Middlesex County Council
Middlesex County Council was the principal local government body in the administrative county of Middlesex from 1889 to 1965.The county council was created by the Local Government Act 1888, which also removed the most populous part of the county to constitute the County of London...

. The school closed in 1969 and the building was acquired by Southampton City Council. From 1971, the building was used as a hostel for Merchant Navy cadets, housing 75, until 1984 when the house became a conference centre.

In 1994, Townhill Park House was purchased by The Gregg School
The Gregg School
The Gregg School is a non academically selective independent day school in Townhill Park, Southampton, Hampshire, UK. It is currently situated in Townhill Park House, where it has been since 1994. Founded in Southampton in 1901 it now has a roll of over 300 and over 50 staff, it is open to...

. The Friends of Townhill Park Gardens was established in 1997 to restore the gardens, which are now open to the public on four days each year. The house, too, is occasionally open for guided tours. The house is a grade II listed building.

Townhill Park today


The local authority boundary between Eastleigh (borough)
Eastleigh (borough)
The Borough of Eastleigh is a local government district and borough in Hampshire, England, bordering the unitary authority of Southampton, Test Valley, the City of Winchester and the borough of Fareham. Eastleigh is separated from the New Forest by Southampton Water...

 and Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

 runs through the old Townhill Farm property, and the area is divided. The house and gardens, and the suburb of Chartwell Green
Chartwell Green
Chartwell Green is a suburb of Southampton, England, although it falls outside of the formal city boundary. Instead, Chartwell Green is part of the West End parish, within the Borough of Eastleigh....

 in West End parish
West End, Hampshire
The Parish of West End in Hampshire is situated within the borough of Eastleigh, and to the north east of the city of Southampton. As well as the village itself, the parish contains the Chartwell Green suburb of Southampton....

, lie within Eastleigh (borough)
Eastleigh (borough)
The Borough of Eastleigh is a local government district and borough in Hampshire, England, bordering the unitary authority of Southampton, Test Valley, the City of Winchester and the borough of Fareham. Eastleigh is separated from the New Forest by Southampton Water...

 while the suburb of Townhill Park is governed by Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

City Council.

The Townhill Park suburb consists mainly of blocks of flats, built originally as council housing. The hub of the area is Meggeson Avenue, where a small parade of shops, a public house, and a small community centre are located. It also contains the Townhill Infant and Townhill Junior schools.