The grounds at Anningsley Park, Ottershaw, 1922

The grounds at Anningsley Park, Ottershaw, 1922

Anningsley Park is situated in the south eastern part of the parish of Ottershaw.

Spelling of Anningsley Park has changed with time. During the reign of Richard I it was usually spelt as Annynggleagh, meaning ‘a woodland clearing of the people of Anna’. Later, 100 acres of heath and wasteland in this area is noted as being part of the holdings of the Manor of Walton Leigh as purchased by Walter de Langton, and left at his death in 1321 to his cousin Edward Peveril.

By 1526 John Wheatley is noted as being admitted to ‘one piece of copyhold land and pasture called Annynley…lying within Windsor Forest’. He died in 1537, leaving his lands to his wife Joan and brother Robert, to be held in trust for his son Richard. The Wheatley family retained the holding well into the 17th century.

After this, the estate passed through a number of hands until Thomas Day took possession of it in 1779. He was actively interested in the ideas of Rousseau, the pioneering late 18th century thinker, and chose Anningsley for its isolated rural setting ‘out of the stink of human society’, and as a place to practice new agricultural techniques. This estate was indeed isolated and rural at this time, being surrounded by sandy heath land.

In addition to his farming interests, Day was also responsible for writing ‘Sandford & Merton’, a children’s book that was very successful at the time. Esther, his wife, was very active in looking after the poor of Brox. Thomas died in 1789 from a fall from his horse. On her death two years later, Esther left the estate to her nephew Milnes Lowndes and when he died young, it was left to his brother, Thomas Lowndes of Barrington Hall, Essex. It was let to Charles Downes and then to Robert Berney whose sister married Edmund Boehm of Ottershaw Park, and from 1824 to 1840, Lord and Lady Mountford were tenants.

When Thomas Lowndes’ only child Isabella married the Hon. & Rev. James Norton, the couple came to live in her father’s home in Anningsley, which was left to them in 1840. James Norton died in 1853 and Isabella 24 years later. In 1860 Isabella passed on ownership of Anningsley to her eldest son Robert, an officer in the Grenadier Guards, and as he did not live there himself he leased parts of Anningsley to tenants. After his mother died in 1877 the mansion and 28 acres were rented by Mr and Mrs Molineux Goldingham. When Molineux died in 1884 his widow, Louisa, gave Christ Church, Ottershaw a carved oak screen in his memory, and also founded the orphanage at Trelawn in Brox Road. The mansion and 28 acres were sold to Mrs Goldingham by the Lowndes family in 1900, and the remaining 52 acres of Durnford Bridge Farm were purchased by Sir Frederick Eckstein of Ottershaw Park in 1910.

Anningsley Park, Ottershaw, 1922

Anningsley Park, Ottershaw, 1922

Mrs Goldingham died in 1918 leaving her estate to her brothers and nephews. In 1922 it was purchased by Mr D. Petrie who sold it three years later to Mr Cecil Hextall. Mr Hextall pulled down the old buildings and revealed the remnants of a 16th/17th century house which had been modernised in the late 18th century. The architect Gerald Warren was employed to design the present Tudor style house.

In 1930 Anningsley was purchased by Mr Wilfred Vernon, chairman of Spillers Ltd., who was made High Sheriff of Surrey in 1960 and was knighted. From around 1936 the fields were used as a diary farm, and just before D-Day the woods of the estate were used to store vehicles. Sir Wilfred Vernon died in 1975, and Lady Vernon split the estate in to lots and sold them. The house and surrounding land on both sides of the River Bourne were purchased by Mr Gerald Burgess, a business man. In 1988 the house and its remaining land were sold again to a private buyer.

References:

Stratton, H.J.M., ‘Ottershaw through the Ages’, 1990