Witley Park

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Coordinates: 51°08′50″N 0°40′49″W / 51.147165°N 0.680255°W / 51.147165; -0.680255

Not to be confused with Witley Court, Worcestershire.

Witley Park was a 19th-century house and estate in Surrey, between Godalming and Haslemere.

History[edit]

The estate named Lea Park between Godalming and Haslemere, Surrey, and the adjacent South Park Farm were purchased in 1890 from the Earl of Derby; the title to the estate included the titular Lordship of the Manor and control of Hindhead Common. Lea Park was developed by J. Whitaker Wright, as part of extensive land – approximately 9,000 acres (36 km2; 14 sq mi) – that he purchased in the Haslemere and Hindhead area.

The preexisting house was developed into a 32 bedroom mansion, adjacent to artificial lakes and landscaped grounds. Beside three lakes,[1] Whitaker Wright built an underground conservatory/smoking room, with aquarium windows.[2]

Whitaker Wright committed suicide and his lands were auctioned, with much of Hindhead Common, Witley Common and Thursley Common passing into the hands of the National Trust.

Lea Park was sold to Lord Pirrie, notable for his role in the building of RMS Titanic. The letter P with a crown above can be seen on metal gates in the estate and previously-owned lands.

The estate was renamed Witley Park by later owners the Leigh family, perhaps to avoid the confusion with Lea.

Present[edit]

The Witley Park mansion burned down in 1952 and 'Witley Park House', a Modern movement home designed by Patrick Gwynne,[3] was built elsewhere on the estate in 1959. Permission for a new house on the site of the old mansion was granted around 2004. The landscaped park remains,[4] but the houses and park are private and not open to the public.

References[edit]

External links[edit]