|HCC Site ID:||1317||Parish:||East Meon|
|Designations:||House and game larder LB II, SDNP||Area:||Estate 1011 ha Hse/grnds 11.73 ha|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private residence|
Location and Site
Bereleigh is situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty on the South Downs 12 miles east of Winchester and 1mile from East Meon. It is situated at 500–600 feet above sea level from where there excellent views. The subsoil is clay and chalk, though also noted that the Bereleigh Downland is a small area on the edge of E Hants where there is a reduction in the extent of clay with a high proportion of ancient woodland (EHLCA).
A medieval deer park is recorded at East Meon extending to area of Park Hill to North (EHLCA 101) Drayton House lies on the south west edge of the estate and Westbury Park to the west.
Early 14th century: The manor of Burley was a sub-manor dependent on the manor of East Meon and in the early 14th century which was held by a family called “de Burlee”. In 1569 the manor of Burley was settled by fine on Sir Thomas Sackville Lord Buckhurst who in 1582 sold the estate to John Baker for £200. His heir, Sir Richard Baker obtained a licence for a free warren, and to stock his land with stags, does, hares, rabbits, pheasants and partridges in 1620. The manor was sold again in 1631 to William Coldham of Sussex. Then it is surmised that about the middle of the 17th century, it was again sold to Bartholomew Smith of Winchester. (Page, 1908)
The Milne map,1791, (OHM) notes Bierly Farm with access from the south. The 1” OS survey map, 1810, (OHM) also notes Bierly Farm, now with an access track from the east. Greenwood’s map, 1826, (OHM) shows Bierly House, slightly south of Bierly Farm. There are two tree-lined entrance drives to the house from both east and west, as at present. However, the access from the west is slightly further south than the present entrance drive of West Lodge. No lodges are shown.
Mr. R. Eyles of East Meon built the ‘modern’ Bereleigh House at the beginning of the 19th century. He probably bought up the whole estate, including the old manor house, which by this time had fallen into decay (Page, 1908). The tithe map,1840, (HRO) notes the house and substantial buildings (the stable block), a walled garden, an orchard and a lodge to the west. A cottage is shown where East Lodge is now. A dwelling called Dog Kennel Cottage is also noted to the south of the house in a clump of trees. (The two lodges are noted by English Heritage as mid-19th century).
The estate was gradually added to during the 19th century and a wing projecting to the south side of the house was added mid-century (E H). By 1859 (Directory) George Forbes was living there and his widow continued residence after his death until 1898. The OS maps of the second half of the 19th century note grounds that are mainly wooded parkland with many pathways through, a walled garden which by 1909 has glasshouses, an octagonal-shaped building to the north of the house (the game larder). (1st ed 25”, 1867, 2nd ed 25”, 1897, 3rd ed 25” 1909). A very small shape is also shown in the position of the summerhouse in the wooded area to the south of the house. A path is shown leading directly south to the church in East Meon.
From 1899, the estate changed hands several times until Mr H Curtis Gallup bought it from Col. Hudson in 1906. (Page,1908).
Gallup’s first son, Peter recalled that his father had removed sarsen stones from War Hill to insert into a water garden. Curtis Gallup was imprisoned in Mesopatamia in 1916 and never fully recovered. (HRO58M99/24)
The house was put up for sale in 1918 and the Sales Details indicate that during Gallup’s ownership. the grounds included gardens with a productive kitchen garden. “The grounds, though inexpensive to keep up, are extensive and most picturesque. Mostly wooded shady paths set amidst beech, yew, oak, sycamore, copper beech and conifers, forming a great attraction … In a fine old walled-in kitchen garden is a nearly new iron framed double Hot House.”. (HRO147M85/134). The 3rd ed 25” OS map, 1909, (HCC) notes changes to the rear of the house with sunken and raised areas and a sun dial in front of the house; the parkland remains.
1918/19 Major Reginald Nicholson bought the estate. Nicholson built a second wing to the north of the house (EH). Reginald Nicholson died in 1952 and his wife continued to live there until her death (Times on-line). Nicholson must have further developed the gardens as shown by the Sales Details of 1958, when his son, Lt Colonel Gerald Nicholson, put the house up for sale. The Estate was auctioned in 18 lots, totalling 790 acres in all. The description states ‘At the front of pleasure gardens there is a circular garden in the sweep of the drive with stone pergola and rose garden; adjoining the SW elevation there is a stone terrace. There are broad lawns to the S&E, and beyond rock and heath gardens an ornamental pond, herbaceous borders, shrubberies, two summer houses and a hard tennis court. A walled kitchen to the east of the house includes fruit trees, a fruit cage, a 3 to 4-span green house in three sections with heating pipes. The rest of the grounds comprise protective woodland with many fine trees intersected by sheltered walks, and on the north is a grass field of some seven acres’.
Residence and Gardens/ 5.246 acres: Garden and grass field/8.708 Drive and grounds/ 2.584 (147/M85/28). The whole estate was bought privately by Mr Tyrwhitt-Drake of Amersham, Buckinghamshire (Times On-line and personal communication).
A landscape survey by Hampshire County Council in 1981 noted many features including an 130-yr old Wellingtonia and a small thatched summerhouse or folly.
In 1986, the house and the inpressive mid-19th century game larder to the north of the house were both listed Gr II by English Heritage.
The grounds are now low-maintenance with woodland and lawns; few herbaceous borders. The pergola and rose garden have gone, as has the circular island at the front of the house together with the pergola; replaced with a horseshoe-shaped island. The water garden has been cleared though the water feature is not working. The beech-lined entrance drive had deteriorated and has been replaced with a lime avenue. There has been extensive re-planting in the wooded grounds but the 130 year old Wellingtonia (HCC visit) had to be removed. The small, thatched summerhouse now has a tiled roof. Nearby is a gate which leads through to the path to East Meon. The early 19th century stable block remains together with the earlier walled garden, which is in use but with a wall at the SW end screening a swimming pool. There is one remaining glasshouse, which requires attention. The Grade II mid-19th century game larder at the front of the house is still well-used, as it is a shooting estate. There are splendid views over to Hen Wood, in the west.
In the ancient East Meon Deer Park, an early 19th century house built on old farmhouse/manor house site, gradually enlarged. Eminent position with long views to the west, Parkland created and enclosed with woodland,19th century, within a large estate including two farms.
HGT Research: February 2013
Hampshire Record Office
147M85/134 Sales particular 1918
147M85/28 X and 117M91SP58 – Sales Details 1958
147M85/189 Plan of estate 1898
Tithe map and apportionment 21M65/F7/66/1 & 2 (HRO)
1st ed OS map 25” and 6”, 1869 and 1871-80 (
2nd ed OS map 25”, 1897, (HCC)
3rd ed OS map 25”, 1909 (HCC)
Page, W Victoria County History Vol 3 1908
English Heritage listing
EHLCA East Hampshire Landscape Character
Assessment (4A) Meon Valley p101
http://find.galegroup.com Times on Line and 19th century newspapers:
1898 House for sale various: Morning Post July and August/ Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle July and Animals only, October
The Times 1902 and Dec 1906 and 1958
The game larder and the house
OHM http://www.geog.port.ac.uk/ (Old Hampshire Mapped)
Milne, 1791; 1st ed Survey 1” OS map, 1810
Greenwood map 1826
AHBR for Game larder Hampshire County Council
Personal communication 01/2013