Fairthorne Manor

Fairthorne Manor History

With the first signs of occupation dating back to the Roman period, Fairthorne Manor is steeped in history.

From the first recorded occupant, William de la Hulle in 1294, the estate remained in a group of families for some 300 years before eventually becoming the home in 1805 to writer, reformer and MP, William Cobbett.  15 years on from his arrival, Cobbett fell on hard times and much of his estates were sold.

In the mid 19th century, the arrival of the railways and a station in Botley resulted in the construction of a large number of large country homes for wealthy town dwellers, including Fairthorne Manor in 1854.

Originally built for Clement Milward QC, the house and estate were purchased by the Burrell family in 1878 for £52,000 who became great supporters of the local community until the last family member passed away in 1924.  The Burrington family purchased the property and remained owners until mid-way through World War II, when the army resided in part of the house and the Manor was visited by Churchill, Montgomery and Eisenhower.  In 1946, the YMCA purchased the property to accommodate TS Warfleet for £8,500.

TS Warfleet trained young men to serve in the Merchant Navy and for 15 years Fairthorne became a “land ship”.  In 1950, sailing and canoeing courses started for young men from Southampton and its popularity meant the addition of dormitory accommodation and various camps.  But costs soared and in 1962 Warfleet ceased to exist.   The National Councils of the YMCA developed a plan which are the roots of today’s success; over time a new boatshed (1969), accommodation blocks (Heald House 1974 and Pembroke House 1980) and lake were introduced and the modern Fairthorne was born.  Development continues apace and over the last 5 years, Pembroke House has been replaced with Ben’s House, a modern, purpose built accommodation block for 72 children and 12 adults along with a new dining hall and woodchip fired district heating scheme.

Over 25,000 children and young people are fortunate enough to enjoy the Fairthorne experience every year.

For more information on this fascinating site you can view the Fairthorne History Booklet.


Fairthorne Manor is located a short 10 minute drive from Junctions 7 and 10 of the M27, approximately 1 mile from the village of Botley near Hedge End.

The full postal address is:

Fairthorne Manor, Curdridge, Southampton SO30 2GH

Tel: 01489 785228

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