Wymering Manor

Wymering Manor

A Roman Settlement existed at Wymering from c. 43 to 408 - a marshy coastline ran close to the present site of Wymering Manor and a Roman outpost camp was likely to have been sited there to defend Portchester Castle [ Fryer,J "Wymering Manor: a brief history" Portsmouth, Friends of Wymering Manor, 2006] .

In Saxon times, c. 409, a tribal leader named Wimm lived near the shore of Paulsgrove Lake and may have included the land of Wymering Manor in his village. Attributed with the origin of the name of Wymering as a hamlet at the crossroads of the Portchester to Cosham and Portsdown Hill to Paulsgrove Lake tracks.

Wymering Manor is the oldest building in the city of Portsmouth, England and was the manor house of Wymering, a settlement mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is first recorded in 1042, when it was owned by King Edward the Confessor. After the Battle of Hastings it became the property of King William the Conqueror, until 1084.

The first recorded occupant of Wymering Manor was William Mauduit who probably came across with the invasion of 1066 from his home in Normandy and was involved in local research for the Great survey of 1086 - known as the Domesday book. He held other Manors in Hampshire and married a Portchester girl named Hawyse in 1069 with whom he had 3 children.

The majority of the current building is 16th century in construction. However, there still exists parts that contain Roman and medieval materials. The cellars are reputedly Saxon in origin. The early origins of the site are supported by archaeology of the area that implies that the area has been inhabited since at least the Roman period.

Inside the manor is a spacious hall which is dominated by twin Jacobean staircases and gallery with barley sugar twist balusters. The panelled walls and pilasters are in building styles associated with the Tudor Elizabethan period. Two priest-holes are also located in the house.

Wyymering, which came to the Bigg-Withers on the death in 1768 of Rev. Richard Harris, brother of Jane Harris, whowas the mother of Lovelace Bigg, is of special interest to the family as the home of the Rev. Charles Blackstone (Vicar ofWymering 1774-1804) and of Harris Bigg-Wither from his marriage (1804) to the death of his father, Lovelace Bigg-Wither,in 1813. Here Harris Bigg-Wither's six elder children were born.

The history of the manor has been sketched by Mrs. Andrew Davies in her History of Cosham (pub. 1906). At the time of the Domesday Survey (1086) it was held by William the Conqueror in demesne as it had been by King Edward the Confessor, in connection with Portchester Castle.

In the thirteenth century the manor was granted first to Fulkes de Wymering and afterwards to William de Fortibus, and was held of the King by military service at Portchester.

In 1285 Edward I granted the manor to John le Botelier, in whose family it remained for a century; it then passed to the Waytes, from whom it passed in 1570 by marriage to the Brunnings, a well-known Roman Catholic family. On the death of Edward Bruning, aged 98, in 1707 the manor changed hands several times until in 1761 the Rev. Richard Harris (great-grandson of Warden Harris), Vicar of Wyrmering and Rector of Wydley, bought a moiety of the manor from Sir Edward Worsley, and in 1768 the rest of the manor from William Smith.

The Rev. Richard Harris died without issue and intestate in 1768, and the manor went to his nephew and heir at law,Lovelace Bigg, who in 1783 added to the property convert|127|acre|km2 by purchase from Lord Dormer.

In 1835 the old manor house and sixty-eight acres was sold by the Rev. Lovelace Bigg-Wither for £5000 to Mr. John Martin, who had long been tenant, and the rest of the property, comprising about convert|336|acre|km2 with house, was sold in 1858 to Rev. G. Nugee and Mr. Thos. Thistlethwayte for £14,827. 14s. 8d.

Wymering Manor is linked with St Peter & St Paul Church and churchyard, which is the last resting place for Jane Austen’s brother Vice Admiral Sir Francis Austen and his family. Sir Francis (1774 - 1865), served on one of Nelson’s ships and eventually became Admiral of the Fleet.

A distinguished visitor during Victorian times was Queen Emma of The Sandwich Islands Her son Andrew was a godson of Queen Victoria. [ Her bedroom is in imminent danger of collapse and (when visited in March 2007) was heavily supported by scaffolding. ]

In the 1930s the owner was a designer, Mr Metcalfe, for Airspeed, and during this period Nevil Shute the novelist and Amy Johnson both visited the Manor.

The manor then passed into the ownership of Portsmouth City Council, who leased it to the Youth Hostel Association for this period [Pevsner,N "The Buildings of England: Hampshire and The Isle of Wight" Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1967 ISBN 0140710329] . During this time the Manor became a favourite of ghost hunters from across the UK, the houses History and Hauntings were greatly publicised by Paranormal Investigator David Scanlan, resident from 2002-2006, who is credited with truly putting Wymering Manor on the map, who visited regularly in the hope of seeing one of the many ghosts claimed to patrol the house.

In 2006 the manor was sold to a private organisation after the cost of the upkeep became too much for the council. The purchasers intend to restore the manor and turn it into a hotel, trading on the historic and paranormal links after a visit by Most Haunted Live in May 2006.


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