|HCC Site ID:||1260||Parish:||Sherborne St John|
|Designations:||SINC, AHBR||Area:||4 ha|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private residence|
Location and site
Beaurepaire stands on the site of a medieval manor house enclosed by an ancient moat. In 1353 the then dilapidated house and small run down estate were sold to Master Bernard de Brocas, a Gascon cleric, who in turn settled the manor upon his nephew, Sir Bernard Brocas, Master of the Royal Buckhounds. His descendants held it for over five hundred years.
In 1369 Edward III gave permission to enclose Beaurepaire Park, a privilege followed by a charter of 1388 granting Sir Bernard licence to enlarge it by adding 100 acres of land and wood in Bramley, Sherborne St. John and Monk Sherborne.
Beaurepaire is illustrated on a plan of the estate that was drawn up for Edward Savage (a family member) in 1613. It shows a house on a moated site with a Tudor façade and two corner blocks. Entrance is by a single bridge from the house across the south side of the moat, and, beyond it, a stable yard. East of the house was a large extent of parkland.
Beaurepaire existed as little more than an ordinary manor house until 1738 when it was demolished and replaced by a much larger house of three storeys with battlements, corner towers and a spire topped by a weather vane. It remained the property of the Brocas family until 1870 when it was sold. Beaurepaire has since had a number of owners. Fire damaged the manor house in 1941 and then again in 1950. The fire in 1941 completely destroyed the main house, leaving only the 18th century Tudor style servants wing to the north that is the body of the current house. In the 1960’s the well-known architect, Colonel Tom Bird added a Tudor-style tower to the existing building, and in doing so converted the servants wing into the house that it is today. It would be wrong to say that the building was “replaced” – it was merely brought back into use by the addition of the tower. The area occupied by the larger, main house has not been rebuilt or replaced.
The gardens surrounding the house boast many specimen trees, formal lawns and herbaceous borders. A pagoda like structure (pavilion), north east of the house, is apparently the centrepiece of an early 20C Arts and Crafts garden with remaining stone flags, brick terraces and other associated structures.
Evolving from a medieval deer park, the estate became a country gentleman’s residence with pleasure and productive kitchen gardens. The park land today is situated to the south of the house, around the fishponds. The original parkland to the east of the house is believed to have been ploughed to create arable land during WWII and is still farmed by the owners (2008).Throughout its history the management of the woodland and the sale and use of timber from the estate has been important. The park land beyond the moat has been expanded since the early nineteenth century with softwood and hardwood plantations. There is mature and recently planted woodland that has been commercially managed for a number of years. A blanket tree preservation order (2008) covers the estate (TPO 29).
The estate was sold in 2001/2 into divided ownership. House parkland and large part of the farm land in single ownership (2008). House, gardens and parkland (c. 246 acres) for sale (2013)
The home of the illustrious Brocas family for over five hundred years. The boundaries of the estate have altered little since medieval times. It is a close neighbour to The Vyne and historically as, if not more, important. Beaurepaire has evolved from a medieval deer park to parkland on a country gentleman’s estate to today’s ‘special landscape quality’. House, gatepiers, pavilion (LB II). Medieval moat within which the modern house now stands, fishponds, an early C20 Arts and Crafts garden, early C20 well head, range of outbuildings, old garden walls, bridges and piers.
HGT Research: March 2004
Updated, 2008, 2013