History of the Manor
The Manor Park and Copse is all that is left of the original Holbury Manor. It was first created from Forest Waste land (open forest land) in the 12th Century in about 1180, and stretched from Rollestone Road to the south, Long Lane to the east and to just beyond the Hardley roundabout to the north. In the mid 13th Century in about 1260 it was taken over by the Beaulieu Abbey as one of its Granges. It was used as a farm growing wheat, oats, vetch and peas. They also created ponds to farm fish, mainly Carp which was used as currency and gifts.
In 1538 following the dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII the Manor reverted to private ownership. Although the previous Manor buildings were in the Moated Area, the new owner in 1543 Thomas Pace, built a new house on the present site on higher ground which was finished in about 1550. It was rebuilt in the 17th Century much looking as it is today, although the new building was rebuilt again recently in the old style, but as three houses.
In 1951 the new tenant Mr Wiltshire began to farm the 53 acres that was left of the farm, and he lived in the Manor House. He had an interest in the history of the site, and with the help of the Southampton Museum Service undertook test pit archaeological investigations around the farm and the moated area. Pottery from the later Iron Age, New Forest Ware and Coarse Ware from the later Romano/British period was found. In addition some broken medieval encaustic tiles and pottery were found from the period when the area was part of the grange of Beaulieu Abbey. There may have been occupation in the area from the Iron Age, followed on after by the Roman occupation. The route of the Roman Road from Lepe to Dibden may have crossed the Holbury Manor site. It has not yet been established when the moated area was constructed, but as the private ownership only lasted 60 years before it was taken over by Beaulieu Abbey, it was probably constructed by the monks to enclose their accommodation.
Very little is known of the history of Warren Copse, although there is evidence that it has been used in the past, possibly to supplement the farm activities. On the lower banks there is extensive hazel that probably was coppiced over the years to make fencing and wattle etc.
It is an ancient and semi-natural woodland with many veteran oaks, extensive ash, birch and wild cherry dominating the canopy. The understory is mainly of hazel with hawthorn, holly, elder and field maple also present.
The landscape has been shaped by human involvement over the years, with the creation of the moated area, and the pond system. Even the grassed areas have had varying degrees of building remains, and ancient drains have been damaged by ploughing over the years.
Holbury Manor Pond
Fishing licences can be obtained for use at the fish ponds at Gang Warily and Holbury Manor. Licences can be purchased for fishing daily, weekly or for the season and are available from Reception at Gang Warily.