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Uppark

South Harting
Petersfield
Hampshire
Post Code : GU31 5QR
Telephone : 01730 825415
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Uppark was designed in around 1690 by William Talman for Lord Grey. The house owes its existence his grandfather's invention of an effective method of pumping water to great heights.

Without this building a house on the crest of the South Downs would have been impractical.

The red brick, two-storey house with stone dressings stands four-square with dormer windows in a hipped roof.

The south front is crowned with a pediment and the mid-18th century stable and kitchen blocks balance the composition on either side.

Humphrey Repton was responsible for pillared portico added later to the north front.

Lord Grey had an adventurous career and was involved in Monmouth's Rebellion against James II. However, he emerged unscathed and contrived to finish up as Lord Privy Seal under William III.

In 1747 Uppark was sold to Sir Matthew Fetherstonhaugh.

Sir Matthew was heir to a vast fortune from a distant relative and he and his wife Sarah transformed the interior of the house between 1750 - 1760.

They redecorated most of the principal rooms and furnished the house with a splendid collection of furniture, carpets and works of art, much of it collected on their Grand Tour in 1749 - 1751.

Their only son Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh succeeded to the estate in 1774. He shared his parents good taste and added to their collection.

However, in other respects he was a rake with a love of hunting and the turf, reflected in his sporting pictures and silver-gilt cups. He brought the young Emma Hamilton from London to Uppark for a year in 1780 - 1781.

Sir Harry entertained lavishly and his close friend the Prince Regent was a frequent guest at the house between 1785 - 1810.

In the Red Drawing-room there is a Carlton House writing-table given to Sir Harry by the Prince Regent.

In around 1813 Sir Harry withdrew from society and in 1825 he married his dairymaid, Mary Ann Bullock. They had no children and after he died at the age of 92 in 1846 she lived on at Uppark with her sister Frances.

It was largely thanks to these two women that Uppark survived the 19th century with little change. Frances lived there until her death in 1895 and employed H.G.Wells's mother as housekeeper between 1880 - 1893. Wells recollects his childhood at Uppark in his autobiography.

In 1954 Uppark was given to the National Trust by the late Admiral the Hon. Sir Herbert Meade-Fetherstonhaugh.

Uppark's fine collections of furniture, pictures and ceramics were rescued from a disasterous fire in 1989 and have been returned to the now fully restored 18th century interior.

The 'below stairs' rooms contrast sharply with the opulence of the family's apartments.

Much of Uppark's charm comes from its wonderful setting high on the South Downs.

There is a garden in the picturesque style and a great stretch of grass with mature trees sweeps away from the house towards the sea.

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Check the website for exact days and times. Generally open mid-Mar to Oct Sun-Thurs. Also open a few Saturdays in the summer, and some days in Nov and early Dec.
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