Lysses House (originally pronounced ‘Lizziz’) was built in the early 1800s by Stephen Barney. He was an attorney practising in the area and chose this spot because of the good view over the surrounding countryside. He had to pull down the ‘White Horse’ pub which stood on the site and in order to keep the drinkers of Fareham happy, he built the Golden Lion on the other side of the High Street.
Stephen Barney’s claim to fame was as Recorder of the Mutiny on the Bounty trial at Portsmouth in the late 1700s. His transcript of the trial was sold at auction in London in the 1980s for several thousand pounds.
Mrs Connie Barney, who died in 1992 just two weeks before her 100th birthday, was the widow of John Barney – the last direct descendant of Stephen. She lived next door at No. 50 until 1990. She graciously allowed us to hang a portrait of Stephen Barney in the entrance hall to welcome all visitors to Lysses.
The Barney family owned Lysses until 1946 when it was sold at auction for approximately £3000 to a schoolmaster, Mr Godefroy, who transformed the building into a boys’ private day school. The school ran very successfully for about 10 years, in conjunction with Heathfield House (now the Oast & Squire on the corner of the Avenue and Peak Lane). After this time, Mr Godefroy moved the school to Rhinefield in the New Forest. Several Lysses old boys and staff who are still in the area have made contact with us and visited Lysses House. Some old school photographs are on display in reception.
After Mr Godefroy left, developers adapted and enlarged Lysses which was then leased as offices for about 20 years. The final tenants were Vosper Thornycroft.
When Prosig Limited purchased Lysses in 1986, much work was done to restore the original Georgian ‘feel’ of the main building. Their aim was to create a unique business facility for Fareham where training courses and business meetings could be held exclusively in relaxed and comfortable surroundings, without suffering the day to day comings and goings of a larger hotel. The Richmond Restaurant offers superb cuisine and facilities for all types of occasions and functions – from a relaxing light meal from our Lounge Menu to a full Wedding Breakfast. The hotel itself has a 3-star recognition from the AA and boasts 21 en-suite bedrooms and a selection of conference rooms to cater for up to 100 delegates.
Lysses House Hotel was run successfully as a sub division of Prosig Ltd for many years. However, as from May 2001, due to the ongoing success of both businesses, Lysses House became a separate limited company, under the ownership of Dr Colin Mercer and Mrs Valerie Mercer, who continue to be involved and offer their ongoing support and advice.