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Roydon Manor

Roydon Manor
Roydon Manor

Roydon Manor, an elegant, brick built 17th century property, was purchased by Edward Morant in 1771, not long after his acquisition of Brockenhurst House. In its early years, though, Roydon Manor was what has been described as ‘a fine quality brick farmhouse’, known as Roydon Farm.

Roydon Farm was included by the Reverend Henry Comyn in his 1817 Directory of Life in the Parishes of Boldre and Brockenhurst, and shows ownership by Mr. Morant and occupation by John and Harriett Jeffreys, and their five children.  

W.H. Hudson (1841-1922), writer and naturalist, wrote Hampshire Days, first published in 1903 and one of his best known books, whilst staying at Roydon. He writes in the early pages of the house that gave me shelter: ‘A small old picturesque red-brick house with high-pitched roof and tall chimneys, a great part of it overrun with ivy and creepers, the walls and tiled roof stained by time and many-coloured lichen to a richly variegated greyish red. The date of the house, cut in a stone tablet in one of the rooms, was 1692.’

Hudson went on to say: '...the place, originally a manor, had been turned into a farm-house'; and to recall walks beside the nearby river: 'by the Boldre, or, as some will call it, the Lymington, a slow, tame stream in summer, invisible till you are close to it......'

Ordnance Survey maps up to 1913 continued to show Roydon Farm, whilst that of 1946 shows Roydon Manor. But whenever the change took place, Hampshire Treasures, published between 1979 and 1986 by Hampshire County Council, indicates that the eastern section had then been recently rebuilt.

Upon disposal of Brockenhurst Park in the late-1950s or early-1960s, the Morant family moved into Roydon Manor, and continues now in residence. Some of Brockenhurst House’s best fittings and transportable features, including beautiful inlaid doors and half the staircase, were, apparently, also moved to Roydon Manor before the old place was demolished.

The Morant family was amongst the largest of the local employers, and in the early years of the 20th century had over 60 outside men, including those in Roydon brickworks.

The late 1860s 1st Edition, 6” to the mile Ordnance Survey map shows the brickyard and kiln at the south-west edge of Newlands Copse, close to the bridleway, just across the Lymington River ford from Roydon Farm. The 2nd Edition of 1898 shows also an adjacent clay pit that no doubt provided the raw materials.

Today, the overgrown remains of another pit can be seen on the opposite side of the bridleway, a little further east of the river.

References:
Hampshire Days: W.H. Hudson
Before We Go, Brockenhurst Memories of Peace and War: compiled by Richard Taylor
Country House History around Lymington, Brockenhurst and Milford-on-Sea: Blake Pinnell
Hampshire Treasures: http://www.hants.gov.uk/hampshiretreasures/entries/v05p047e04.html

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Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley