Brooklands

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HCC Site ID. 1613 Parish: Fareham
Designations: House LB II* Area: 11.87 ha
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private

Location and site

The site of Brooklands is one of its major assets, lying on raised ground sweeping down to the River Hamble, between Southampton and Fareham affording magnificent views. The house is approached down a long drive off the road from Lower Swanwick to Sarisbury Green.

Historic Development

Sir (later Admiral)Thomas Williams built Brooklands shortly before marrying, Mary, his second wife in November 1800. The area had become more accessible following the construction of Burseldon Bridge in 1799. The original small house was possibly designed by Nash who was frequently associated with Humphrey Repton in creating small/medium-sized country houses (English Heritage). As the garden cottage (garden and billiard room) is attributed to Repton c1800 (EH), it is possible that Repton was responsible for the original garden layout. A service wing was added in 1807. The OS 1” map of 1810 marks a ‘Brickland House’ in the correct position for Brooklands (Old Hampshire Mapped); the grounds do not seem to be very developed. The Greenwood map, 1826, shows the house within a park which extends from Bridge Road to the river shore. (Old Hampshire Mapped). The house was advertised for sale in February, 1829, ‘…75 acres of land ……a genteel establishment, with farmhouse, lodge, cottages and offices …’; then in November it was advertised to let in the Hampshire Telegraph, 1829, (Times-on-Line) and leased by Mr Chicheley Plowden, MP (Rugby Register, 9.9.12).
Prosser paintings c 1830 show that the grounds have been developed with many trees and sheep grazing on grassland away from the house. There is a striking loggia-style 2-storey addition on one elevation of the house.
The tithe map of the area, 1838, gives a very clear picture of how the estate has developed. Plantations, park areas, lawns and stables and farm buildings are all indicated. The ‘farmery’ lies to the south, close to the river’s boundary and includes at this time a walled garden and orchard. To the east is a fishpond. Also noted in one of the plantations to the east of the main house is a Hermitage. The Tithe Apportionment notes 71 acres in the name of Sir Thomas Williams, (21M65/F7/234/1 and 3 HRO) which indicates that the estate had not sold.
1843-61 the Spencer-Smith family lived at Brooklands (www.carosfamily.com) and in 1858 ten doric columns were added to the loggia by Langdon of Isle of Wight (List of Historic Buildings, Fareham BC), giving this elevation an Italianate aspect.
The 25” 1st ed OS map, 1867, shows the house and turning area in the front, facing the river. There is a drive to the north leading to a Lodge on Bridge Road, with a lodge to the south east, beside the village green. Three lodges are referred to in the List of Historic Buildings, Fareham BC but it is not clear where the third one was situated. The extensive grounds are planted with groups of mixed trees with a belt along the river shore. The farm with a well-ordered walled garden is shown as it was on the Tithe map, to the south-west of the house near the banks of the River Hamble. It is accessed by pathways. The 2nd ed OS map, 1897, also shows extensive glasshouses in this area but not the fruit trees. The park is still liberally planted with trees. Kelly’s Directory, 1899, describes the estate, then owned by Lt Col Babington as a well-wooded park of 40 acres (16.18 ha).
The Babington family remained in residence until 1914 when the Estate by then of 114 acres (41.1 ha) was for sale (Devon Record Office). The gardens had been re-designed with substantial terracing to the south and rear of the house. Extensive park and gardens are described with two walled kitchen gardens, over a mile of shady walks and a sheet of ornamental water supplied from nearby springs (although there is no identifiable map evidence for this with the Devon record, it is likely to be the fishpond noted on the Tithe map). The park is profusely studded with ornamental trees. The de Selincourt family were the next direct owners after 1914.
In 1916 Lutyens was brought in to make small addition of a porch, (English Heritage listing); parts of the garden were redesigned, possibly to ideas or advice from Gertrude Jekyll (though no source evidence found). Other important designs were introduced by Sir Basil Ionides making the interior of the house very ornate. (Fareham Borough Council Listing).
The 4th ed OS map, 1932, shows little change to the grounds with the farm still part of the estate. In 1945, the house was used as a transit camp, near the end of WW2. Mr de Selincourt died in 1950 and the house was put up for sale, Mrs Selincourt moving into the modernised farmhouse which has been separate since this time. The main house was described as having 20 beds. 10 baths with charming grounds….lovely trees…a summer house and seven acres (2/8ha) with the possibility of a further 125 acres (50.5ha) (159M88/192 HRO).
Mr Gerald Joynson applied for planning permission to divide the house into three with an additional flat; an agreement with builder with G H Hackett was signed in July 1951 (210M85/164/10). Eventually, the three dwellings were sold, one with seven bedrooms and two acres of lawn and natural woodland, accessed from a long carriage drive. (51M76P/6/37 HRO). There appears always to have been trouble over the partitions and the builder describes the problems in extensive notes in 1969 (210M85/159 HRO). In a brief history he notes as first occupier, Mr G Joynson, the developer. Second occupier is Mr B Shorthouse, early 1950s. A third occupier, 1961 was Mr Ingram Poole, the owner of the largest of the three residences.
The house was listed Grade II* in 1976. In the 1980s Sir David and Lady Cooksey bought one of the three houses and eventually acquired all three, converting them back into the one original house. Many of the interior design features of the 19th century have survived.

Current Description

A visit by the Research Group of Hampshire Gardens Trust in 2003 noted that the grounds were very well kept with interesting features such as brick bee-hive shaped ice-house (note: no reference to an ice-house was found during the research), a sunken area with lawned terraces encircled by herbaceous and shrub borders to the south of the house, as well as grass terraces falling to the river to the west. There were woodland walks and in the Spring carpets of daffodils to the north and impressive views to the river from most aspects. Lady Cooksey stated that Sir Roy Strong had designed the pond and water feature (note: this is not the fishpond shown on the Tithe map and we have not been able to verify the Roy Strong design). The estate was put on the market in 2005; the Sales details note an ornamental temple as well as a water feature and fountain; photographs show colourful herbaceous borders as well as the lawned terraces, river views and woodland area. Reference is made to a recently-built coach house and flat, as well as staff accommodation as separate flats within the house, entered from the rear. There were two Lots for sale, Lot 1 of 12.4 acres and Lot 2 with approx. 20 acres, leasehold. It is not clear exactly how much land remains with the house.
It has not been possible to view the property since this sale but an application was made to Fareham Borough Council in 2006 to include a formal terrace on the entrance side of the property. It is understood that the owner has been keen to restore or upgrade some features of the grounds.

Summary

A small Georgian house built around 1800, possibly designed by John Nash in association with Repton, then enlarged 1807 and 1858. A farm, walled garden, orchard and fishpond were added as well as extensive woodland and lawned terraces sweeping down to the River Hamble. Though reduced in size, much of the structure of the gardens remain, including the terraces, the views and the woodland.
Research HGT 2010

References

Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
HRO 159M88/192, HRO 210M85/159, HRO 210M85/164, HRO 159M88/192, HRO 70A00/14/23, HRO 51M76/P/6/37
EH List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest: post 1974;
Borough of Fareham
Devon Record Office
Record no 1394 *
Maps
Tithe map (21M65/F7/234/1 and 3 HRO)
Old Hampshire mapped: 1810 1″, 1826 Greenwood; 1791 Milne
OS Maps- HCC:
1867 1st ed. 25″; 1870 1st ed. 6″
1897 2nd ed. 25″; 1898 2nd ed. 6″*
1909 3rd ed. 25″; 1909 3rd ed. 6″*
1932 4th ed. 25″*
Books
Kelly’s directory 1899
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight pg. 495 Nikolaus Pevsner & David Lloyd
Other Sources
Prosser photos *
Frank Knight Estate Agents sales details.*
Planning application, Brooklands, No. P/06/0606/LB, June 2006
Electronic Sources
Old Hampshire Mapped
Fareham Planning Applications
www.hants.gove.uk/hr/hamble
Jane Austen her life and letters www.gutenberg.org.ebooks
Ancestry.com
Times on line
www.carosfamily.com
British History on line
English Heritage
BBCWW2 archives ID A4159361
Sarisbury Green www.fareham.gov.uk


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