Friends of Old Wymering (FOW)


Timeline for the occupation / ownership of Wymering Manor

Date People / Events Comment
  General The year by year entries below reflect who owned the house but this does not mean they lived there and in fact few probably did. It would have been the house of the farm and probably occupied by a steward or rented out (eg around 1798-1805).
???? - 1066 Edward the Confessor Ancient demesne of the crown
1086-1167 William the Conqueror Ancient demesne of the crown §1. Land in Cosham and Portchester also belonged to the manor.
1085-1167 William Mauduit He held land in Hampshire at Domesday, the nearest at Portchester, but not in Wymering. Wymering was held by the king in 1086.
1168-1205 The Earl of Albermarle [sic - should be Albemarle] Refer to VCH page 166-7 for details of manor's history prior to building of present house (c. 1581.) VCH gives references which can be checked.
1449-1518 Edward Wayte
1518 Simon Wayte VCH wording makes clear it was Simon who died in 1518, so he had inherited some time before.
1519-1561 William Wayte
1562-1570 Wife of William Wayte The normal situation would have been that most of the estate would have been divided soon after William's death with his widow having dower rights until her death in 1570. Wymering was only one of the Wayte estates and it is not clear who got which parts of the estate as William's will is not extant.
Eleanor Bruning, widow of Richard and daughter of William and Anne Wayte, was resident in Wymering in 1586 when she was assessed for £20 but so also was William Cressweller (Wm Cressilawe,) who was assessed at £10. I have not seen evidence that Anne Wayte, widow of William, died in 1570 though she may have done. Her will was written in November 1570 and proved in 1571 (but I cannot decipher whether in March or May.)
VCH covers the history of the manor but it is not clear at times whether the estate or the lordship is being referred to, for example, it states that the manor was sold to Thomas Thistlethwayte in 1821 but this cannot be the estate, which was still in other hands up to 1859.
The statement that in 1610 Wymering was again reunited under the name Bruning, 'through the marriage of Richard to Eleanor Wayte' is wrong but it was back in Bruning hands. Eleanor and Richard were already married by the time of Anne Wayte's will in 1570 and both dead by 1593.
'From 1570-1613 ...' Dendrochronology has established that the house was built soon after 1581. It seems likely that it was built by/for Eleanor Bruning or her son as Richard was already dead by this date. She refers to her 'manor house at Wymering' in her will.
This period would benefit from further research using other records than simply those in VCH. The Brunings were recusants and there may be a possibility that some of the transactions in VCH were designed to evade dispossession under successive enactments against Catholics in the late C16, early C17 and into C18.
1613-1663 Anthony Bruning
1664-1701 Edward od Edmund Bruning This period needs further research in National Archives and at HRO. I have not tried to verify the statements made regarding the children of Anthony Bruning or that the later Edward died aged 98.
1708-1709 Rev. Joseph Walton It is true he was vicar of Botley but the rest needs clarification. His father John was vicar of Wymering and rector of Widley until his death in 1702. He left to Joseph the lands in Wymering he had purchased from John Hunt [in 1683]. These lands amounted to 2 acres only - not enough to be the manor and in the records are associated instead with Wymering Farm (now Jubilee House). Joseph later conveyed the same property to William Smith.
1710-1732 William Smith William Smith's will bequeathed the 'Manor or reputed manor of Wymering' which he says he bought from John Walton rector or vicar of Botley' but I have not checked the date. The documents recording this apply to Wymering Farm (where Jubilee House is) rather than the manor so it is not clear that he did own the manor.
1733-1768 William Smith He was formerly Glead of the IoW. (JH - I have not checked this.)
????-1768 Reverend Richard Harris This is where it becomes clearer again. He was vicar of Wymering and rector of Widley from 1749 to his death in 1768. His will was not witnessed but letters of administration were granted to Lovelace Bigg, his nephew and probably next of kin. Rev. Harris's will had given his 'farm at Wimering' to the second son of Lovelace Bigg, if any. In fact this was Harris Bigg-Wither, who became heir to the whole Bigg-Wither estate on the death of his elder brother before 1789. The widow of Rev. Harris was residuary legatee and I have deduced that she lived at the manor until her death in 1785.
1769-1804 Reverend Lovelace Bigg-Wither As noted above, Mrs Harris was residual legatee until her death. Lovelace was at that time only Lovelace Bigg, taking the additional name of Wither only when he inherited the Wither estates in 1789. He was also neither ordained nor did he have a living as a priest. As shown above he inherited the manor on the death of his aunt Mrs Harris in 1785 and he died in 1813 but it is not clear if he passed over ownership to Harris when Harris got married in 1804. He never lived at Wymering - his main residence was Manydown and I have not traced any record of who was living there between 1785 and c. 1798.
1798 Lieutenant Colonel Avarne He was Commandant Commander of the (Royal) Marines at Portsmouth from 1798 and probably moved his family to Wymering manor around that time. He died in 1805 and the contents of the manor at that time were sold at auction.
1804-1835 Harris Bigg-Wither Harris died in 1833. He had moved to Wimering House (as it was then) around 1805-6 and stayed there until he inherited Manydown in 1813. Several of his children were born there and are recorded in the parish registers. The house was again let out on his removal. In 1822 the house was leased to Thomas Boniface together with Upper Farm and 396 acres for a period of 14 years. (It was Boniface's men that William Cobbett saw reaping in the early 1830s). Boniface died in 1835. It is likely he had always sub-let the house and garden, probably to John Martin, who was later to buy it.
1836-1858 John Martin John Martin was resident in the 1841 census and the family were still in residence in 1851, though John Martin had died in 1850. He had been 'late of the Dockyard'. The house (Wymering House) was offered for sale in 1864 so it may be that Mrs Martin stayed on but I have not checked this. The sale in 1835 would have been by Harris's son, Rev Lovelace Bigg-Wither. [Check].
1859-1872 Reverend George Nugee He became vicar following the death of his brother Andrew. (His father had bought the avowdson earlier.) He may have lived at the Vicarage initially but when he introduced the Sisters of Charity to the vicarage he would have needed to find another home. By the 1861 Census the Sisters of Charity were living at the Vicarage and George Nugee was at Wimering House. It is assumed that he added a large brick wing at the rear of the house and to the south but I have not traced any confirmation that he bought the house though it seems likely if it was he who made substantial changes to the fabric. This is an area that could do with more research.
There is no evidence that they were used as a Chapel and refectory, though this was claimed by Leonard Metcalfe junior (last private owner) in 1960. The large room (often called Music Room) originally had fewer, gothic clerestory windows and the lower room (called Chapel on the plans in the Guidebook) had decorated glass in its gothic windows. Both have been considered as chapels at different times but there is no evidence that either was ever consecrated as such and the orientation of both is contrary to what would be expected. The so called Music Room was used as the drawing room during the early 20th century years when it was athe home of Mr Knowlys Parr and later Mr Metcalfe's workshop. The lower room was the kitchen between 1899 and 1938 and may have been also before this time as earlier plans of the house and grounds show a southward projection.
The presence of the Priory at the manor was short lived - the members arrived in 1867 but not initially at the manor. The group was not enumerated in the 1871 Census and when Rev. Nugee left Wymering in 1872 he set up St Austins Priory in London and expanded its work among the poor. The Sisters of Charity at the Vicarage, renamed St Mary's Home, were present in 1861 and 1871, but they, like the men, were transferred to London around 1872.
The Rev Nugee was a leading figure in the Anglican Revival in the mid C19 and his work at Wymering has not received proper consideration. Leonard Metcalfe, when researching his Guide to the manor in 1960, interpreted the evidence he uncovered disparagingly and this attitude has persisted almost without challenge. Based on the evidence I have uncovered a re-appraisal is long overdue.
1873-1900 George Peel He was tenant of Upper Wymering Farm until 1885 then moved to East or Lower Wymering Farm (now Jubilee House) where he was also only a tenant, not owner. I do not know the source for 1873 being the date he bought the manor except that it is the year after Rev. Nugee left. He is mentioned as owner in 1899 however in Abstract of Title 1946 for purchase of Wymering Manor. Although the Peel family believe he lived at the manor this does not seem likely to me as he was also reputed to have removed panelling to East Wymering Farm. He probably farmed the land and leased the house and garden and we do not know who was living there during this period apart from a few glimpses.
1873 Colonel Paxton of Madras Infantry At the manor he wrote a letter on 25 October 1873 recommending a saddle in Sporting Gazette, 20 December, 1873, 894.
1875 Frederick Becket Late of Oxford, he died of paralysis after a few days' illness, at Wymering Hall, Cosham, on 3 September as recorded in Jackson's Oxford Journal, 11 Septebmer, 1875.
1881-1900 Richard William Ford He had been Mayor of Portsmouth in 1864-5, when he visited the manor on several occasions, etc. [I have not checked the other references. He lived at the manor at some time but I have not been able to pin down exactly when. As they also had a house in Portsmouth they may not have been in residence full-time.] He was in Portsmouth in the 1891 Census but his wife Emma was buried in Wymering in 1892. He moved to Portchester afterwards but was also buried at Wymering when he died so this cannot be used as proof of residency.
???? - 1894 Richard Henry Hayward Son of a wealthy manufacturer from Somerset, who was examined at the manor in 1894 and judged to be of unsound mind and unable to manage his own affairs. I have not found when he moved in. (I suspect that Mr Hayward's mental illness is the probable source of the legend that a visitor dreamed of a man hanging from a tree in the garden and woke to find it true. Something must have triggered the Insanity examination.) 1899 stated late residence of Major General Byam.
1899 Major General Byam In TNA §2 it states that the manor is the late residence of Major General Byam.
1900-1938 Thomas Knowlys Parr and Lady Fleetwood He bought the manor in 1899 with his aunt Mrs Nightingale but Lady Fleetwood did come to live and died at the manor in 1900. Lady Fleetwood did bring pictures etc which had belonged to the Hesketh family, to which her husband belonged. Bold Hall near St Helens in Lancashire, Its lands and its contents had been sold in the mid nineteenth century (from 1858 onwards) but it was 'taken down' in 1899-1900 and fireplaces and other fixtures were brought to Wymering Manor. Mr Parr inherited a wealth of family pictures, furniture and memorabilia relating to the Parr, Knowlys and Hesketh families (to which he was related) as his great aunt, his aunt and his cousins died. He was unmarried and when he died in 1938 the house and many of the contents were left to his Hesketh relatives at Meols Hall in Lancashire.
1939-1945 World War II years The house was probably requisitioned for war service but this has not been checked at TNA. Some graffiti dating to wartime was discovered in the manor but not recorded and photographs gathered by Peter Rogers and now in Bedhampton Historical Collection show military personnel reputedly at Wymering Manor during WWII.
1947 John Day John and his brother George A Day bought the manor and 5 acres and 3 roods of land in 1946. They sold the house and some land (date not verified though could be traced in Portsmouth Evening News, but may be based on Peter Rogers's friendship with Leonard Metcalfe junior). They retained most of the land for building development, building houses along Southampton (now Medina) Road, Greenwood Avenue and Winterhill Avenue.
1946-1958 Leonard Metcalfe senior He had retired from his company Warwick Aviation Company in the midlands when he moved to Wymering. There he co-founded a new company, Cape Engineering Company, manufacturing iron lungs and other medical appliances. He turned the (so called) Music Room into a workshop and the lower room into a garage. He invented and marketed a manually-propelled car.
1959-1960 Leonard Metcalfe Trust This paragraph may be based on Peter Rogers's knowledge of the family. Leonard Metcalfe senior died in December 1958. The manor has never been listed as Grade 1 (as far as I know). It is currently Grade 2*. Leonard Metcalfe had a career in London, was married and so was unlikely to stay at Wymering. In 1960 Leonard Metcalfe applied for and was granted a demolition order, provoking an outcry and campaign to save the manor. Portsmouth City Council bought the manor and, to reduce the burden, sold off most of the remaining land to Ralph Bailey who built Wymering Manor Close.
1960-2006 Portsmouth City Council (PCC) As owners PCC granted as long term lease of the manor to Youth Hostels Association who operated it as a youth hostel until 2006. In 2002 the collapse of a major structural timber in the north west corner required support and led to the complete closure of the youth hostel facilities and withdrawal from the lease by 2006.
2006 - Portsmouth City Council A further campaign was launched to save Wymering Manor led by Friends of Old Wymering, Portsmouth Society and Hampshire Buildings Preservation Trust. PCC found a tenant to take on the building with a view to creating a boutique hotel but plans foundered. Two attempts to sell the house at auction in 2010 also failed to meet the asking price.
2013 - Wymering Manor Trust An asset transfer from PCC to Wymering Manor Trust