Find out about the history of Wintershill Manor and the Bishop’s Waltham Fair.

The Garden Fair was started in 1992 by Lady Inchyra and held at Rookley Manor, Up Sombourne, Hampshire. When Lady Inchyra retired in 2003 the Garden Fair moved to Bishop’s Waltham Palace Ruins by kind permission of the Hon. Mrs. Virginia Lovell, National President of St. John Ambulance.

However, largely due to our success, we have “outgrown” The Palace Grounds and have very kindly been invited by Jamie and Carolyn Balfour to hold the Fair in the beautiful grounds of their house, Wintershill Hall. This is only 1.8 miles from The Palace Grounds.

Wintershill Hall is a large mansion surrounded by magnificent trees and gardens, standing at the top of Wintershill in the South Hampshire village of Durley. The village is mentioned in the Doomsday Book.

The Wintershill Estate is first recorded in 1420 and in the 1500’s was elevated to the status of a manor.

In 1852 a programme of strategic planting was started, creating the parkland very much as we see it today.

During WW1, it was used by the Hampshire Ambulance Services as their base, and in WW11 as the Headquarters of the Hampshire Fire Service.

For a short time immediately after WW11 it was used as an orphanage for refugees from Germany, and was bought by the Balfour family, the current owners, in 1948.

Much of the woodland around the house is part of the old Forest of Bere and is a site of importance in Nature Conservation.

It is in these surroundings that we are holding the Bishop’s Waltham Garden Fair, in an area boarded by Rhododendrons and Azaleas. These will be in full bloom at the beginning of May, and will be a stunning backdrop for the Fair.

In 2013 we started supporting St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital in Jerusalem, part of St John Ambulance.

We are very grateful to Jamie and Carolyn Balfour for inviting us to hold our Garden Fair at Wintershill Hall. We do hope you will come along on the day to visit us at this beautiful new venue.

As well as being able to buy plants there are arts and crafts and accessory stalls.

Cuff Billett’s New Europa Jazz Band provides the entertainment and there is a children’s corner where little ones can plant seeds and colour pictures.

The Bishop’s Waltham Garden Fair will be on Sunday 30 April 2023.

For more local garden fairs see

In aid of St. John of Jerusalem Eye Hospital Group.
Charity Number: 1139527

The Eye Hospital provides expert eye care to patients in East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, regardless of ethnicity, religion or ability to pay.