|HCC Site ID:||1205||Parish:||Baughurst|
|Designations:||AONB, SINC, II* listed||Area:||c46 acres|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and site
Baughurst is located on the Baugurst road 7 miles north west from Basingstoke and 4 miles east of Kingsclere, with Wolverton Common on the western boundary of the park.
The recorded history of Baughurst begins with the Anglo-Saxon settlement. The name, probably meaning a hurst (wood) occupied by Beagga (a Saxon) or by badgers, first appeared at this time. There is no definite mention of the manor of BAUGHURST in the Domesday Survey. It was probably granted to the church of Winchester as part of Hurstbourne Priors by King Alfred, for the support of the monks of Winchester, and it is mentioned by name in his holding in 1259, and again in 1316. In 1298, William de Kenne and Joan his wife, alienated 13s. rent in Pamber, Ham and Inhurst to Roger de Coudray. Inhurst continued in the Coudray family until sold, probably in the middle of the 16th century, to the Palmes family, and was included in the sale of Manydown Manor in 1649.
In 1790, Inhurst was conveyed to Charles Pole, the owner of Wolverton, and from that date it followed the same descent as Wolverton. After the Civil War Baughurst became one of the biggest and wealthiest Quaker centres in Southern England. Following a visit in 1657 to Basingstoke by George Fox – one of the founders of the Society of Friends (Quakers), James Potter of Baughurst went to prison for standing up in Baughurst Church and reading a Friends’ paper which conflicted with established church thinking. When released, Potter established a Quaker meeting house at Browns Farm located just south west from Baughurst House, and conducted burials in the garden. The Toleration Act of 1689 reduced the importance of Baughurst to the Quakers. The Methodists John and Charles Wesley and their friend George Whitfield, also lived in Baughurst for some time around 1736.
In the British Directory of Trade, Commerce & Manufacture,1792/8, Baughurst House is described as ’a good house and pleasant gardens, the seat of John Potter-Harris’. The tithe map of 1840, and early OS maps indicate very little of the garden, although two of the fish ponds are recorded and areas of boggy ground associated with the drainage system that defines the fields in the wider park. By the 1870s the OS 25” County Series map and the OS 6” both show substantial tree belts around the park, along the streams and ponds, and a small garden around the house. The drive approaches the house directly from the east, with shrub borders between the entrance and the road, leading to a small wilderness in the south west corner. A lodge gate giving access directly into the stable yard and 19th century stables barn and other outbuildings behind the house is located east of the entrance to the house.
The map graphics used on the 19th century O.S maps indicate mixed planting of broadleaf and coniferous trees along the drives and in the wilderness. The kitchen garden of over ½ an acre has a simple layout of 4 large rectangular beds bounded by paths, and is located north west of the house and enclosed by hedges, and the walls of the farm buildings. A path leads north from the west lawn through the vegetable gardens to the fishponds.
During the 1870/80s the east facing wing was enlarged – by building into the west courtyard, and by 1911 the billiard room has been added to the north west corner of the house, and at the same time, 2 glass houses are indicated in the kitchen garden. From 1923 until 1945 the house was the residence of Brigadier General Gwyn Venables Hordern, and his family, and it is possible that the ornamental yews and other evergreen planting between the road and the entrance drive was carried out at that time, although there was a ‘wilderness to the west corner during the late 19th century. Lawns to the west front are retained by a wall with steps ornamented with large urns. They lead to a further lawn – defined on its western edge by one of the south west / north east flowing drains that are so important in this landscape – and into the grazing land beyond.
The current owners of Baughurst House are Mr & Mrs Walford, and the features of the modern estate include a swimming pool enclosed in a court created by the original 19th century farm buildings, and a tennis court located in the south west quarter of the well tended vegetable gardens (see aerial photo in Appendix II). The unusual hedge boundary of mixed deciduous and evergreen shrubs along the road frontage of Baughurst House is a significant feature of this road landscape. The boundary plantations of the park are substantial stands of mature native trees, but also including some exotic species such as the Caucasion wing nut Pterocarya fraxinifolius a relative of the walnut introduced into the UK in 1782.
Baughurst House built during the 17th century belonged to Potter-Harris Quaker family, and was the centre of an important Quaker community until the early 18th century. The estate was associated with the manor of Wolverton and its descent for much of its history, until the beginning of the 20th century when the great estates were broken up. Major improvements to the house were carried out at the end of the 19th century, but the estate boundaries its ponds streams and landscape are largely unchanged, except by maturity, since the early tithe map records were made in the 1840s.
Baughurst House is an important 17th century grade II* building with a unique cultural heritage in its connection with the Quaker movement in England, and the park demonstrates the importance of landscape continuity, and the significance of fish ponds and their change of status from the supply of fish to the 17th century household, to an important landscape feature – a Site of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINC), and part of the water management arrangements in this modern landscape.
Landscape Planning Status:
Baugurst house lies within the North Wessex Downs AONB. The woodland associated with the ponds and stream running north east across the parkland are designated as a SINC.
Research: EM Consultants for Basingstoke & Deane: June 2010
Click here to visit British Listed Building entry for this location