Avington shown within Hampshire
|OS grid reference|
|Civil parish||Itchen Valley|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
It is located on the banks of the River Itchen to the northeast of the city of Winchester. Administratively it forms part of the Itchen Valley civil parish that, in turn, is part of the City of Winchester district.
It has the honour of being mentioned in a folk song title "Avington Pond", which can found on the CD "Folk Songs of Hampshire"
The house in Avington Park dates back to the late sixteenth century, but was considerably altered in 1670 by the addition of two wings and a classical portico. The owner of Avington at this time was George Brydges, one of Charles II's courtiers. On the death of George Brydges's son in 1751 Avington Park passed to his cousin James Brydges, Marquess of Carnarvon, who became 3rd Duke of Chandos in 1771. He carried out major alterations in the late eighteenth century, and was also responsible for the building of the parish church which overlooks the park. The house is now privately owned and is Grade I Listed. Parts of the house can be visited in the summer months and Bank holidays between 2.30pm and 5pm due to the Historical Houses Association. Apart from original painted frescoes and sublime gilding (redone with an English Heritage grant in 2000) there is much to see including a Grinling Gibbons mirror, a William de Morgan jug and several mementos from the Battle of Trafalgar.
The parish church of St. Mary was built in 1768-71 by James Brydges of Avington Park, 3rd Duke of Chandos. As well as containing memorials inside to the Brydges family and Percy Bysshe Shelley's brother, John, there are also some unusual box pews reputedly made from Spanish mahogany taken from one of the Armada fleet.
In Adventures Among Birds (1913), the naturalist W. H. Hudson describes the last of the "inland-breeding" ravens in Hampshire. These birds lived in the trees of Avington Park. Hudson relates that at some time in the 1840s the family who lived in the house contracted a man ("a champion tree-climber") to climb a tree and gather some fledglings that could be kept as pets. These birds were tamed and, although they were not pinioned and often left the confines of the park, always returned to roost. These young birds were unfortunately all killed by their jealous parents. Hudson claims that ravens continued to breed in Avington until around 1885, at which time – following human persecution – there were no remaining breeding pairs.
- legal record of public rights of way in Hampshire - sheet 1314 (PDF) (Map). 1 : 10,000. Cartography by Ordnance Survey. Hampshire County Council. 2008. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
- W. H. Hudson, Adventures Among Birds, London: Hutchinson, pp. 253–6
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