The great oak door is original to the building. The oak panelling and grand staircase are even older than the Lodge, coming originally from a local church.
In 1852 Minstead Lodge was sold to the Preston family and then to the Duncan family. Dr Duncan was a physician to Queen Victoria. It changed hands again in 1921, when it became the home of the Carnegie family.
The 6th Baron Congleton bought the Lodge in 1924 and lived here with his wife and eight children until his death in 1932, when he was succeeded by his son William Parnell. During the 1920s an east wing was built, making the Lodge much as we see it today. It doubled the size of the Lodge to 40 main rooms including 23 bedrooms. Lady Congleton was a very active member of the community. She was awarded an MBE in 1941 and was Minstead’s first female church warden.
Top banner image credit: Charly Woodhouse
William Parnell was also greatly admired in the village and was also a church warden. He sadly died in a car accident in 1967, when Minstead Lodge was sold to the Ward family and
subsequently fell into decline.
In 1974 Minstead Lodge was purchased by Tim Selwood, using money from his brother Peter’s Trust fund, after Peter tragically died in a light aircraft accident. Tim, an Anglican priest, had the vision of using the Lodge as a community house. Tim also owned Furzey Gardens, and during this time was responding to local needs by setting up opportunities for five or six people with learning disabilities to come and work in the gardens. As this work grew, Minstead Lodge became the home of Minstead Trust, a charity that was established in 1986.
Today, Minstead Lodge is still the home of Minstead Trust. The charity uses the Lodge to provide training in hospitality and catering for people with learning disabilities, who also tend the Victorian walled vegetable garden to provide fresh seasonal vegetables for conference lunches. The Trust as a whole supports more than 200 people as far afield as Portsmouth and also runs social enterprises Hanger Farm Arts Centre and Furzey Gardens.
In the last few years, the Lodge has begun hosting weddings, conferences and events. The income from these events supports the Trust’s work to help more people with learning disabilities live independent and fulfilled lives.