Upwey House is an integral part of the village of Upwey. It is a classic country manor house, which has become a part of the fabric of the area. For example, the village fair, an impressible large event that takes place once every two years, is traditionally held in the paddocks and fields of Upwey House.
The house itself, comprising 6,000 square feet over two stories, was built in two stages, the older part to the north side of the central courtyard dating back to the 1830s, whilst a later section was added to the south in the 1880s.
However records dating back far earlier to the 17th Century suggest that the house was originally sited around 100 yards away at the bottom of the hill adjacent to the River Wey, and was later moved brick by brick to its current site when its owners felt it would benefit from the superior views towards the sea. This lithograph dated 1793 shows the house in its original location.
The house belonged for most of its life to the Gould family, wealthy merchants and landowners who owned much of the land in and around Upwey and Dorchester. The road rising above Upwey towards Dorchester still bears their name (“Gould’s Hill”), as does the department store in the town centre. Records suggest that the Goulds built Upwey House as their country retreat, despite the fact that their main home was Upwey Manor sitting a few hundred yards away at the other end of the village.
The village of Upwey is very old: the St Laurence Church within walking distance of Upwey House dates back to the 13th Century.
But it’s clear that the village of Upwey had become a very desirable place to live by early Victorian times, located as it was at the very source of the River Wey (hence the name “Upwey”, where the Wey first springs up). The well that was built at its source was thought to bring health-restorative powers, and the Wishing Well in Upwey remains to this day a popular attraction. The large number of imposing houses that line either side of Church Street (which you will be able to see if you turn right out of the gates and continue for half a mile) are testament to the wealth that the village must have enjoyed partly as a result of this spa.
St Laurence Church, Upwey
Coat of Arms, Upwey House