“The village of Wymering… lies about half a mile west of Cosham…. The church and vicarage are on the north side of the road, with the new churchyard opposite to them, and the manor house close by on the east. Both vicarage and manor house are old buildings, but much alteration has deprived the former of any features by which the date of its oldest parts can be determined; and the latter, though retaining more evident traces of age, owes its interest at the present day rather to its contents than its structure…. “
[From ‘A history of the County of Hampshire, Volume 3.’ (Published 1908) ]
Sometimes history lies just around the corner… if only you care to look.
Wymering Manor is the oldest building in Portsmouth and was the manor house of Wymering, a settlement which was mentioned in the Domesday Book. It is first recorded in 1042, when it was owned by King Edward the Confessor. The majority of the current building dates from the 16th century although there still exist 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.
From 1938 onwards the Manor slowly began to fall into disrepair. “…In 1938, the house passed into the hands of the British army, with whom it remained until after WWII. By 1959, with most of the grounds consumed by housing and the structure of the building needing urgent repair, consent was given for the house to be demolished to be replaced by a housing scheme. Local outcry led to the purchase of the house by the local authority, who having carried out repairs, leased the house to the Youth Hostels Association. The YHA remained in occupation until 2006 when a structural failure in the north west corner of the building caused them to surrender their lease”. [Source: Wymering Manor Trust]
The house lay empty from the time that it was vacated by the YHA until it was purchased by the Wymering Manor Trust in January 2013. It’s a work in progress, but the Trust was able to secure Big Lottery/People’s Millions funding to renovate and repair the Victorian wing of the Manor to provide a community hub for the people of Wymering. The aim is to create a function space for community groups and also a space for performing arts and education. They hope to turn the former refectory into a community kitchen to be used for teaching basic cooking skills and the promotion of healthy living.
The journey is just beginning….
I suspect I will be posting more photographs as things progress…