Waterperry House is a 17th-century mansion, remodeled early in the 18th century for Sir John Curson and again around 1820.  It is now a house of seven bays and three stories with a balustraded parapet and Ionic porch.  

The house has a long history with earlier buildings before the work in the 17th century and there is evidence of some 12th century walls, believed to be part of a watch tower, still be be found incorporated in the original 17th century building, now the 'Jacobean' wing.  

Waterperry House spent much of its life owned by the Curson (or Curzon) family for around 200 years up to 1813, and this family was responsible for much of the house as we see it now.  The front of the building was added in 1713, replacing a substantial building 'of nine hearths', of which there is some evidence.  This put the structure in place much as now, with the remaining development undertaken in 1760. 

The Henley family took over in 1813, and the estate then had 2000 acres.  The family was in the shipping trade and Joseph Henley re-roofed the house using second-hand ship timbers.  He also re-furbished doors, floors and outbuildings at this time.

Waterperry House sold again in 1925 to Magdalen College, Oxford, but a Henley family member ('Aunt Addy') lived there, followed by Mrs Lily O'Connor.  Mrs O'Connor left Waterperry in 1932 and the college leased the house, gardens and some fields to Miss Beatrix Havergal and Miss Saunders, who between them had set up a horticulture school for ladies in 1927 and needed to expand.  This then became the Waterperry School of Horticulture.  In 1948 Miss Havergal purchased part of the estate back from Magdelen College to give a total of 80 acres.

With the 2nd world war opening up opportunities for ladies, including horticulture, the need for such a school declined, and in 1970 Miss Havergal decided to sell the estate to the School of Economic Science, who maintain a gardening centre and use the house for educational purposes as a residential centre for retreats, study days, study weekends and weeks.




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Last modified: 05/05/2017