See The Macdonalds and their Successors

This list is based, by permission, on one drawn up by Stephen Perkins after much research. It is necessarily tentative for the earlier years (the Victoria County History contradicts itself for one period in articles ‘Ludshott’ and ‘Chawton’!). A few changes have been made, in line with fresh evidence in these Ludshott Rolls – and Samuel Diggle’s name (VCH says he held the Manor 1704–12) has been deleted; he only held a mortgage on it.

Hugo de Port, Lord of Basing                                                  by 1086

Henry de Port, Lord of Basing

John de Port, Lord of Basing                                                   cl167?

Adam de Port, Lord of Basing

William St. John. Lord of Basing

Robert St. John, Lord of Basing                                              –1266

John St. John. Lord of Basing                                                  1266–1301

John St. John. Baron St. John of Basing [24/2]                        1301–1312

Sir Thos. Paynell was granted the manor for life 1312 by William St. John [24/2], date of death unknown. Manor reverted to St. Johns.

John St. John, Baron St. John of Basing                                   by 1331 [24/2]

Edmund St. John, Baron St. John of Basing                             1337–1355

Luke de Poynings, Baron St. John of Basing                            1357–1376

Thomas de Poynings (bro-in-law), ditto                                   1376–1429

John Bonville (grandson)                                                         1429–

Bonville died 1494 but Sir John Paulet held Court here 1462 [34/4].

Sir John Paulet                                                                        by 1462–1492

Sir John Paulet II                                                                     1494–before 1523

Sir Wm. Paulet, 1st Marquis of Winchester                              by 1523–1571 [46/2]

Richard Knight                                                                        1571–1577

Alice Knight, his widow 1577–1584

Robert Knight, their son                                                          1584–1603

Richard Knight, Robert’s son                                                  1603–1617

Robert Knight, Richard’s son                                                  1617–1638

Andrew Wall                                                                          1638–1665

Susanna Wall                                                                          1665–1675

Andrew Wall II                                                                       1675–1701

Dorothy Wall                                                                          1701

John Goodyer                                                                         1701–1712

Ellis Meux, took name St. John                                                1712–1729

Sir Paulet St. John, Bart.                                                         1729–?

Sir Henry Paulet St. John. Bart. [see 178]                                by 1766–1784

Sir Henry Paulet St. John-Mildmay, Bart.                                1784–1791

Sir Thomas Miller, Bart.                                                          1791–1816

Rev Sir Thomas Combe Miller, Bart.                                       1816–1825

Sir James Macdonald, Bart.                                                    1825–1832

Sir Archibald Keppel Macdonald, Bart.                                   1832–1901

Sir Archibald John Macdonald, Bart.                                       1901–1914

Mrs Charlotte Lyndon                                                             1914–1936

Dr Arnold Lyndon                                                                   1936–1946

The National Trust                                                                  1946–


(A note by Stephen Perkins)

With the advent of the Macdonald family in 1825 Ludshott once again had a resident Lord of the Manor. There is a local tradition that Sir Archibald Macdonald won the manor from Sir Thomas Miller over a game of cards at the Royal Anchor. Colourful as the story may seem, it is pure fiction. In fact Sir Archibald’s son James purchased the manor from Sir Thomas’s son, the Rev Sir Thomas Combe Miller, for £17,000, by an Indenture of Sale dated 21st October 1825. James was the son and heir of Sir Archibald (created baronet in 1813 on his retirement as Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer). James had entered the House of Commons on coming of age, in 1805, as member for Kirkwall Burghs, a seat in the gift of his uncle, the second Marquis of Stafford. After holding various other seats he broke away from the protection of his uncle in 1815 and, under the patronage of the Marquis of Lansdowne, sat for Calne 1816–31; in the Reform election in 1832 he contested and won Hampshire. Very early in his career he was appointed one of the Clerks of the Privy Seal (a sinecure) and on two occasions was Commissioner for the affairs of India.

James, or Sir James, as he became on the death of his father in 1826, commissioned P.F. Robinson to build a new home for him on the site of the old manor house at Ludshott. Robinson, although he had supervised the building of the Brighton Pavilion, designed a ‘Norman villa’ for Macdonald, plans and sketches for which appear in his Designs For Ornamental Villas, 1827. However only one large wing was built, and that in the ‘old English style’ [ie Tudor], tacked on to the existing Georgian house. Sir James called his new home Woolmer Lodge [though the manor includes no part of Woolmer Forest]; his work in London and frequent trips abroad for his health meant that he spent little time here. In spite of his wealthy relatives he was always short of money; in his will, dated 20th September 1828 and written in Switzerland, he mentions debts and mortgages which his estate could not cover unless various holdings in Headley and Norfolk were disposed of. His health had always been poor; on 2nd June 1832 he was appointed High Commissioner of the Ionian Isles, then a British possession, as it was hoped that the climate would be beneficial to him – but was taken suddenly ill and died on the 29th of the same month. There is a fine memorial tablet, by Richard Westmacott (junior), to him and to his first son (d. 1831), in Bramshott church.

Sir James was succeeded by his only surviving son, Sir Archibald Keppel Macdonald, then aged eleven. In due course he was commissioned into the Royal Scots Fusiliers and was for some time Equerry to the Duke of Sussex. He took up residence at Woolmer Lodge in 1849, was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire 1853 and served as High Sheriff in 1865. Upon his second marriage, to Catherine, the widow of the Hon. Thomas Stonor, he built a Catholic chapel onto the house, dedicated to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception; this was destroyed by fire in 1908 (Liphook Catholic Church, Headley Road, with the same dedication, was built on land given by his son). Sir Archibald and his wife presided over a live-in staff of twelve; from their obituaries they seem to have been a well-liked couple who cared for their tenants. Lady Macdonald died in 1894 and her husband in 1901.

The fourth and last baronet was another Archibald, Sir Archibald John Macdonald. In 1900 he married Constance Burgess, the daughter of a Nonconformist minister; the marriage was not happy and they separated in 1914. What was left of the heavily-mortgaged estate was now sold; Sir Archibald was declared bankrupt in 1917 and died in a nursing home in St John’s Wood in 1919, aged 48 (his wife died in a mental institution in 1921). This was the sad end of the family which had ruled the Manor for some ninety years.

Sir Archibald’s departure marked the end of the Manor as a unit of property and lordship which had existed since Norman times. The Lordship was purchased by Mrs Charlotte Lyndon, a doctor’s wife from Grayshott; besides the title she also acquired Ludshott Common, Passfield Common and part of Conford Moor. By her will the lordship and commons were left to her husband for life – and upon his death (1946) to the National Trust, in whose ownership they remain to-day.

Woolmer Lodge, the manor house, together with the Home Farm was bought by Roy Upton Litton, who later made extensive internal alterations to the house (1926); the old ‘Business Room’ became the entrance hall – the old hall being divided for use as staff quarters. The remainder of the Macdonald lands were sold off to neighbouring farmers or for development.

The Littons retained the house and farm until after the second world war, when they sold to the Polands, then at Downlands; the farm was added to the Downlands estate, the house and ten acres were passed by the Polands in 1954 to an order of Carmelite nuns. The nuns built a little cloister, a novices’ wing and a printing shop and extended the Drawing Room for use as a chapel. Sadly, they also sold the fine carved staircase. In 1968, after many difficulties, they sold up and joined another group of Carmelites in Norfolk.

From 1968 Mrs Bushall owned the house; she renamed it ‘Ludshott Manor’ (the forgotten pre-Macdonald name had been ‘Ludshott Place’) and ran it as a retirement home till 1974, when she retired owing to ill health. From 1974 to 1980 was perhaps the strangest period in Ludshott Manor’s long history, when it became a hospital for ‘alternative medicine’, known as the Ramana Health Centre, under the wing of a Dr. Sharma, who had consulting rooms in Cavendish Square. The Beatles were among its patrons but the venture was not a success and it closed in 1980.

For two years Ludshott Manor stood neglected and forlorn. In 1982 it once again became a residential home for the elderly, accommodating some 35–40 residents. [The house is (was in 1997) most attractively decorated and furnished and the fine gardens lovingly restored after years of neglect – L.C.G.]

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