Most of the Leigh Park area was originally farmland, so a large number of the houses on the estate today were actually built on land that had been farmed for many years, in fact back to the early part of the eighteenth century. Apart from 'Home Farm', the estate was well served by tenanted farmsteads and smallholdings as well as several cottages dotted round the estate.
At the time of Sir George Staunton's death in 1859, Havant Farm, near to where the curlew public house is now situated, and Middle Park Farm on Park Lane were the two most important tenanted farms. The rest of the estate was made up of smallholders and cottagers who farmed no more than an acre or two and these were mostly scattered arounf Stockheath Common and at Durrants to the north of the estate.
During the occupation by William Stone and the Fitzwygram family, more substantial farms developed. By 1936, when most of teh leigh Park estate was sold, sixteen farms were put up for sale. Of these, ten farms disappeared for new housing and, since 1980, a further two have been demolished. Of the remainder, Durrants Farm and Whitchers Gate Farm are now limited smallholdings, Little Leigh Farm has been a riding school, whilst at Prospect Farm only the farmhouse remains.
Is your house on land that was once farmland? Here are some of them with more to follow in the coming months:
Dunsbury Hill Farm was acquired along with 450 acres of land for the Leigh Park estate in 1877 by Sir Frederick Fitzwygram for £12,000. It was formerly known as Bedhampton Upper Farm with its origins in the Bedhampton Deer Park. Farmed along with Middle Park Farm until 1936 by the Whitbread family, and when sold in the same year it comprised 237 acres and surprisingly a large quantity of the land still survives. The farmhouse was demolished in 1994.
Stockheath Farm, standing on the eastern side of Stockheath Lane, near to the common and Riders Lane, this smallholding was originally a cottage and garden of less than one acre under the ownership of Sir George Staunton. By 1936, the smallholding extended to 36 acres. The farmhouse was demolished in about 1956 to make way for the new housing in Stockheath Lane and Blendworth Crescent.
Smith's Farm was otriginally part of the estate of the Lord of the Manor of Bedhampton, Lord Sherborne. Smith's Farm was acquired by Sir Frederick Fitzwygram after he bought the Leigh Park estate in 1874. Situated on the lower part of Park Lane in what is now Overton Crescent, the farmhouse and twenty-six acres disappeared under housing in the early 1950s.
Middle Park Farm was also originally part of the Bedhampton Deer Park, purchased in 1832 by Sir George Staunton from a Mr Brown. Then known as Bedhampton Middle Park Farm, its origins can be traced back to the 17th century. It comprised 196 acres. The farmhouse was demolished between 1962 and 1965 to make way for the Warren Housing estate.
Prospect Farm - The farmhouse has a date of 1776, which makes it one of the oldest buildings in the area. Prior to 1865 it was known as Leigh Farm. Incorporated into the Leigh Park estate under William Stone in 1863. By the sale in 1936 it comprised 134 acres. The farmhouse still survives, standing on the corner of Prospect Lane and Wakefords Way.
Little Leigh Farm - Confusingly, also known as Leigh Farm or Leigh Cottage. Originally part of Prospect Farm and became part of the Leigh Park estate after 1860. A small farm of no more than a dozen acres in size, it was renovated in the 1980s and turned into a riding school.
Westbrook Farm (Cowplain). Originally part of Bedhampton Upper Farm along with Dunsbury Hill Farm which was bought by Sir Frederick Fitzwygram in 1877. In 1860, William Westbrook was occupying a cottage with cowsheds, piggery and a dairy on the site. Came into being as Westbrook Farm in 1877 when the 450 acres Sir Frederick Fitzwygram bought was divided into Dunsbury Hill Farm and Westbrook Farm (65 acres by 1936). The farm in Park Lane was demolished in the 1970s to make way for a new housing estate.
Havant Farm was purchased by Sir George Staunton in 1821 from William Holloway, a member of a prominent local family that had farmed in the area for years. The Havant farm was the first land purchased by Staunton in his enlargement of the Leigh Park estate, after buying the estate two years previous. The farm was situated near Havant Railway Station, with the farmhouse fronting on to Leigh Road, near to where the Curlew Public House now stands. During the nineteenth century the farm was mostly in the tenure of the Clarke family and comprised approximately 135 acres. Into the twentieth century the farm was used as a dairy under the control of the Russell family until the early 1950s when the farmhouse was demolished and the Curlew Public House and the nearby Oak Park School were built.
Riders Lane Farm. A smallholding that was described in the 1860 'Sales Catalogue' as a 'cottage and garden of less than one acre', Riders Lane is probably one of the oldest roads in the tything of Leigh, and cottages were scattered along its length, from Stockheath Common to the Thicket. The site of this smallholding was probably the site of an earlier farmstead. By 1936, the farm is described as an old fashioned brick and tiled farmhouse with 39 acres of land. In its later years the farm was farmed as a pig farm until its demolition in about 1951 when it disappeared under the new housing estate.
Poplar Farm (Stockheath). Originally a cottage and garden on the north-west side of Stockheath Common under the ownership of Sir George Staunton. By 1874, the smallholding amounted to11 acres, with access to the right of feed over Stockheath Common. The house stood behind the flats in Purbrook Way and was demolished in 1856.
Stockheath Villa Farm. The farmhouse, known as Heath Villa, stood on Riders Lane, adjacent to Stockheath Common near to where the Cricketers Public House stood. Formerly part of the Bedhampton estate of Lord Sherborne, the farmhouse and 28 acres of pasture land were acquired by Sir Frederick Fitzwygram after 1874. Heath Villa was demolished to make way for the Sunnyheath housing estate.
Durrants Farm. Purchased originally by Sir George Staunton in 1845 from William Pearson, when he acquired the farmhouse and land of 14 acres. For a time, after 1874, the land was incorporated into Prospect Farm but later reverted back to a smallholding of 14 acres.
Dog Kennel Farm. A smallholding situated in New Lane, which took its name from a farm situated near to Stockheath Common under Sir George Staunton. Although there were barns and other agricultural buildings attached to the farm, there was no farmhouse. By 1936 the smallholding amounted to 12 acres and later disappeared under the developments around New Lane.
Whitchers Gate Farm. This smallholding of 13 acres was acquired by Sir Frederick Fitzwygram from Admiral Michael O'Callaghan, of neaTrby Deer Leap, after Sir Frederick bought the Leigh Park estate in 1874. The flint-built slated farmhouse still remains, standing close to the corner of Prospect Lane and Whitchers Gate Road.
Park View Dairy. Possibly standing on the land bought by Sir George Staunton in 1835 from William Pearson. Staunton also bought land in this area in 1844 from William and Richard Marshall. The small, compact dairy smallholding, lying on the eastern side of Durrants Road, Park View Dairy comprised an attractive brick farm house and one acre of paddock. By 1936, the tenant, Henry Doel was also renting further land from the Leigh Park estate. Although the farmhouse had disappeared, the name remains, an attractive housing development now stands on the site.
Ingledene Farm (Bedhampton). A smallholding situated in New Road, Bedhampton, close to the level crossing which was acquired by Sir Frederick Fitzwygram in 1878. By 1936 the land extended to 9 acres. all of which went for housing along New Road and Ingledene Close.
Locks Coppice. A small pasture holding of 3 acres, situated off Whitchers Gate Road, close to the Railway bridge leading to Comley Hill. The name probably derives from John Lock, who was left property and land in the will of Joseph Franklin in 1805. By 1874 the land belonged to Prospect Farm, but later became a smallholding of its own.
Royal Oak Dairy. Formerly the Royal Oak Public House until 1925, when it was converted into a small dairy farm. Situated on Whitchers Gate Common, it was farmed by Mr F. Pescot who later rented Whitchers Gate Farm. The farmhouse was demolished in the 1970s to make way for new housing.