North Stoneham Park

From Wikishire
Jump to: navigation, search
The Avenue portion of North Stoneham Park
North Stoneham House

North Stoneham Park, also known as Stoneham Park, was a landscaped parkland and the country house which stood within it to the north of Southampton at North Stoneham, Hampshire. It was the seat of the Fleming (subsequently Willis Fleming) family.

The park was remodelled by Lancelot Brown in the 18th century. The Avenue created by Brown has been described as 'a very high grade Brownian landscape'.[1]

The remaining park is listed in the Hampshire Register of Historic Parks and Gardens.

In 2011, controversial plans were announced to build 1,300 new houses on the surviving portion, Avenue Park.[2]


The deer park at North Stoneham was probably part of a Saxon ecclesiastical estate in the early Middle Ages.[3] Later it belonged to Hyde Abbey. Following the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the manor was acquired in 1545 by Henry Wriothesley, 2nd Earl of Southampton. In 1599, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton sold the North Stoneham estate to Sir Thomas Fleming, whose descendants owned it until 1953.

Stoneham War Shrine

The restored war shrine in 2011
Remains of the war shrine in 2009

The Stoneham War Shrine was built in 1917–18 in the Avenue Park portion of the parkland by John Willis Fleming, in memory of thirty-six local men killed in First World War, including his own son Richard. An identical shrine was built at Havenstreet on the Isle of Wight. The Stoneham War Shrine was sited on Cricketers' Hill, facing towards St Nicolas' Church along the line of the former Avenue. The monument was designed by the architect Christopher Hatton Turnor, who had designed the Watts Gallery in Surrey. The Shrine was dedicated on 28 July 1918. During the late 20th century, the Shrine fell into an advanced state of dereliction. In 2011, it was restored to its original condition, and was re-dedicated on 22 May 2011.

Preservation of the Avenue portion of the Park

The tower of St Nicolas' church, across the Avenue

In 1967, Pevsner described how the parkland formed "a narrow but effective green belt between Eastleigh and Southampton".[4] From 1991, the council determined that efforts should be made to conserve, restore, and enhance North Stoneham Park as a viable historic and natural landscape, and commissioned a number of surveys and evaluations.[5]

[North Stoneham Park’s] landscape is almost unique at present in that it is one of the few ancient manors in England where development can be traced in an almost uninterrupted line for two thousand years. … It should be afforded greater merit as part of [Southampton's] heritage than its present status affords. Efforts should be made to prevent any future deprivations, and attempts should be made to bring as much of this landscape into public ownership as possible for use as a recreational, and above all, unique educational resource that it represents. There are few other places in the United Kingdom where such unbroken continuity in the landscape can be demonstrated to the public.
—Christopher K. Currie, North Stoneham Park: its origin and development (1992).[6]

Following these surveys, the need to protect and restore the remaining parkland was built into local and regional plans.

North Stoneham Park is a site of considerable historic and landscape interest which has become severely degraded ... Nevertheless, it retains a large number of historic features worth safeguarding, is a significant element in the Eastleigh Southampton urban fringe, and has great potential for future use if ownership problems can be overcome. It is at the centre of the Eastleigh Southampton Strategic Gap and an improvement of its present landscape character is essential to the improvement of the environmental quality of the gap. Although parts of the original landscape have been degraded or destroyed ... the parkland character of the landscape survives over a considerable part of the area, together with a number of historical features. The most important of these features are the remnants of The Avenue (which pre-dates Capability Brown’s work), three man-made ponds, the walled garden and a shrine ...
—The Eastleigh-Southampton Strategic Gap Planning and Management Framework (1993)[7]

Restoration of Avenue area took place in phases between 1995 and 2011. In 1996, the southern portion (61 acres) of the Avenue was bought by the council. In 2000, the Southern Daily Echo reported: 'The huge restoration project of the vital green lung on Easteigh's southern boundary with Southampton has been made possible through a partnership of Eastleigh council with local people.'[8]

Plans to build 1,300 houses in the Avenue portion of the Park

In 2011 however, the local Council published a local plan incluing a recommendation that up to 1,300 houses plus community facilities be built on the surviving Avenue area of North Stoneham Park, noting that "it is acknowledged that it forms part of an historic landscape, but much of this has now become degraded" and that "whilst the site was previously part of the strategic gap separating Southampton and Eastleigh, it is considered that the contribution that development on this site would make to addressing housing needs outweighs the limited erosion of this gap."


  1. Harry Willis Fleming (February 2010). The Restoration of the Stoneham War Shrine, and discovering North Stoneham Park. Southampton: Willis Fleming Historical Trust et al. 
  2. "Destruction fear as 4,700 homes plan is approved by Eastleigh Borough Council". Southern Daily Echo. 14 October 2011. '
  3. C. K. Currie (April 1992). "North Stoneham Park: its origin and development; fieldwork and research undertaken for the Planning Department, Hampshire County Council". Hampshire County Council. 
  4. Nikolaus Pevsner: The Buildings of England: Hampshire & The Isle of Wight, 1967 Penguin Books ISBN 978-0-300-09606-4page 357
  5. Blandford Associates (1991). North Stoneham Park: Historic Landscape Survey. ; C. K. Currie (April 1992). "North Stoneham Park: its origin and development; fieldwork and research undertaken for the Planning Department, Hampshire County Council". Hampshire County Council. ; J. Edgar (1993). The Restoration of North Stoneham Park. .
  6. C. K. Currie (April 1992). "North Stoneham Park: its origin and development; fieldwork and research undertaken for the Planning Department, Hampshire County Council.". Hampshire County Council. 
  7. County Planning Officer (26 July 1993). "Report of the County Planning Officer, Eastleigh-Southampton Strategic Gap Planning and Management Framework - North Stoneham". Hampshire County Council. 
  8. "'Uprooted trees fit with the past'". Southern Daily Echo. c. 2000.