Dean House

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HCC Site ID: 1547 Parish: Kilmeston
Designations: SDNP, House LB II, SMR Area: 2.8 ha
Access: No Public Access. See NGS Ownership: Private

Location and Site

The parish of Kilmeston lies on chalk downland about 8 miles south-east of Winchester. Soil is clay, loam and chalk; with subsoil chalk (Kelly’s Hampshire). Dean House sits in a hollow of the South Downs on low ground which can form a frost pocket (J Blackwell).

Historical Development

Dean Farm estate was acquired in 1517 as a foundation endowment for Corpus Christi College in Oxford by Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester. At the time of acquisition, it comprised of a group of closes in the south-east corner of the village, together with about 50 strips in the open fields of Kilmeston (Waight).
During the medieval period, Kilmeston was divided into two manors, Kilmeston Plunkenet and Kilmeston Gymmings (VCHH III), the major part of Richard Fox, Bishop of Winchester’s purchase comprised of 86 acres assemblage of open-field strips and closes wholly within the manor of Kilmeston Plunkenet. After the Inclosure Act of 1803 where exchanges of land were made, the current Dean House Estate was formed and with very few changes still stands on almost the same footprint today (FLAG).
Over approximately 500 years there were about 15 tenants who would have regarded the whole of the Dean House estate as their own during the term of their tenancy (FLAG). Dean House Estate remained in the freehold of Corpus Christi College until 1920 when it was sold to Mr G. K. Peto(Waight).
No research has been done on ‘Dean House’ itself (, but the square central block suggests Queen Anne or early Georgian origins, which would indicate it was built during the tenure of the Spencer Family who leased it from Corpus Christi College between 1677-1735 (Waight).
Dean House with its driveway, belt of trees and parkland is clearly shown on Greenwood’s map of 1825. Charles Graeme’s lease of 1812 shows the estate to have included the farmhouse, barns and outhouses, a garden and orchard, and various named fields. A sale map produced by Daniel Smith & Son in 1835 (HRO 187M84/7/7) shows the park which lies to the west of the house bisected by the Alresford Road. A circuit walk starts from the house and continues along the perimeter through belts of woodland. The drive to the house enters from and exits to Alresford Road from the boundaries of the park, trees screen the house from the road. The Parkland is open with a few scattered trees. At the rear of the property there are two wall rectangular garden enclosures and a number of outbuildings.
In 1840, the Tithe award and map show a yard, outbuildings and road, cow pasture, garden piece, wood, C18 walled garden, (Pevsner) garden, plantation, lawn, stable and yard (HRO 21M65/f7/13/1 & /2).
Between 1841-55 during Oliver Codrington’s tenancy a plan of Dean House Farm together with a detailed list of field names shows a walled garden, garden piece, garden, lawn and the perimeter circuit walk (HRO187M84/7/8). On the 1869 OS map 1st ed. 25” very little has changed from the Tithe map of 1836. The perimeter belt and circuit walk are intact but a new diagonal walk through the part of the park that lies to the west of the field, now known as Park Field, is shown. The stables are now well screened by coniferous trees. The yard behind the house shows some additional outbuildings. The first walled garden is unchanged and dated as C18 (Pevsner). The map shows a building consistent with a greenhouse indicated on the OS map 2nd ed. 1896. The second walled garden appears to be an orchard. A belt of trees screens the gardens on the northern side of the property.
In 1890 Dean House was advertised for sale ‘about 80 acres, with timbered park, rookery, extensive walled gardens, with orchard houses, vinery and conservatory’ (Hampshire Advertiser 1890). The 1896 OS map 2nd ed. shows on the east side of the property a yard and buildings which have been extended and are now identified as kennels. These include a C19 stable block of remarkable scale and deep plan more common to a military stables whose cast-iron fittings still survive today (Pevsner). The structure of the gardens has not changed and still shows two rectangular walled garden enclosures and a further garden plot. The first walled garden greenhouse on the south-west facing wall and additional outbuildings in the north-east corner. The park perimeter tree belt remains but the walk through it seems to have gone. The approaches to the house are unchanged. On the 1909 OS map 3rd ed. 25” the garden is unchanged apart from additional greenhouses in both first and second walled gardens and a fountain in the first garden, which indicates that this is a more formal garden. The orchard has been replanted in part of the third garden area. The well in the stable yard is no longer indicated.
The house has had many tenants and in 1920 Dean Farm Estate was sold by the College to G K Peto (Waight). In 1930 a sales brochure for Dean House Estate described the gardens and grounds as beautiful, it had a short carriage drive with a wide sweep opposite the front door. The house was largely covered with magnolia, roses, ivy and creepers. The front of the house parkland had belts of trees and an avenue of towering timber carrying an ancient rookery. The trees in the garden were limes, weeping chestnut, Cornish elm, Turkish oak, plane, sycamore, wych elm, blue cedar, larch, acacia and Wellingtonia. There was a variety of topiary work, including one depicting a fox and hounds which is mentioned in the 1956 sales brochure. On the western front it had lawn with two tennis courts and the croquet lawn. The northern side had a sloping bulb-planted lawn backed by an old orchard. The southern side had a stone paved terrace leading to garden with lily pond and fountain in the centre, enclosed by a clipped yew hedge, with the dwarf walls and stone steps leading to the higher ground, shaded by a large beech tree, and an orchard with wide herbaceous borders and grass walks. The eastern side of the garden contained clipped yew and wide herbaceous borders, enclosed rose garden, vegetable garden, kitchen garden with three quarter span vinery in two divisions, lean-to conservatory house, both with one boiler, walled kitchen garden with potting shed (HRO 51M91/22, Sale particulars; HRO 159M88/417).
In 1934 Mr Steele opened the garden to the public (Western Gazette, Yeovil) and in 1946 building plans submitted by the owner Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill, cousin of Sir Winston Churchill, to convert the stable buildings into a dwelling show trees on the old tennis court. The walled garden has runs of glass and has been dived and partitioned by hedges but the fountain is not shown. The plantation on the south side of the house is now shown as an orchard (HRO 39M73/BP).
When the Estate was bought by Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill in September 1947, the sales details describe the property as an early Georgian residence, with the approach as two short carriage drives, amenities included a squash court, stabling, garage, beautiful gardens and richly timbered grounds with one hard and two grass tennis courts, orchard, flower and walled kitchen garden, 213 acres (HRO 159M88/ 417).
In 1956 Dean House estate was sold after the death of Lord Ivor Spencer-Churchill and bought by Mr Hugo Money-Coutts. There was a brick and slate range of squash courts, garden room and storage, garaging for five – six cars. There were also two heated greenhouses, including 12 grapevines and a sunken rain water tank. In the front of the house was a paved surround with strips of lawn and natural grassland studded with many fine old trees ornamental trees, including a magnificent Cedrus atlantica Glauca’. The South West garden comprised a gravelled terrace, small lawns interspersed by paved pathways, central lily pond, rose and flower beds and herbaceous borders. It was enclosed by stone and brick retaining walls and clipped yew hedges. Situated on the north was a lawn with flowering shrubbery. A wrought iron gate led to a walled Dutch garden to the south west of the house. This attractive garden comprised a central crosswalk flanked by attractive borders, rose and flower beds with central circular pond, lawns with a stone ornamental pond and crazy paving, flower beds, two iris borders and rockeries. The various areas were divided by clipped yew hedges and topiary work. Trained to the walls were a variety of fruit trees including peaches and figs. North of the kitchen garden was a small orchard partly cultivated for vegetables and flowers. There were two lean-to timber and corrugated iron potting sheds and a store shed for the lawnmower.
In October 1962 the Dean Farm Estate was sold by Mr Hugo Money-Coutts and the house was described as a ‘Charming Regency House with delightful timbered grounds, squash court and garage block’ (The Times). In October 1963 Dean House was sold by Ralph Stawell Dutton of Hinton Ampner House to Mr and Mrs Gaze. Mr Dutton retained the remainder of Dean Farm Estate, which is now owned by the National Trust (Conveyance document). The current owners bought the house in 1975 and open the gardens under the National Garden Scheme (NGS).
In 1992/3 the owners engaged the garden designers Colvin & Moggeridge of Filkins Lechlade. Part of the plan was implemented: the rose garden and pergola on the eastern side of the garden with three long herbaceous borders and hotbeds adjacent to the glasshouses. Other parts of the design, notably for a large pond in front of the house, were not implemented. In 1994 a proposed planting scheme (a gift to the owner) for the south facing Pond Garden was implemented by the gardener.

Current Description

The gardens continue to be developed and renewed and are extremely well maintained. They are open as part of the NGS.

Summary and significance

The house is an attractive early 18th century building retaining many original external features. The significance of the site lies in the walled gardens which are contemporaneous with the house, still standing on virtually their original footprint and are laid out as formal, ornamental and productive gardens.
HGT Research: March 2016


• Waight: The Dean Farm Estate in Kilmeston by Stan Waight, Hampshire Field Club Archaeology Studies 64. 2009 pages 172-181 (Hampshire Studies 2009)
• Pevsner Architectural Guides: Buildings of England Hampshire: Winchester and the North, Kilmeston by Barry Bowhill. HRO R920.94227, pg. 355
• FLAG – The Parish of Kilmeston in Hampshire by Fareham Landscape Archaeology Group, Aug 1993, (The parish of Kilmeston in Hampshire: some historical notes on its manors; Dean Farm and College Farm, and a landscape survey) HRO 83A02/3
• VCHH – Victoria County History, Hampshire Vol III, 323-5
• www.findmypast/newspapers, – Hampshire Advertiser 7 June 1890
•, – The Times 24 Oct 1962
Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
• 187M84/7/7-8, Daniel Smith & Son map, 1835 and related schedules.
• 21M65/F7/131/2, Kilmeston Tithe map, 1838. HRO 21M65/F7/131/1, Tithe apportionment, 1840
• 187M84/7/7-8 and HRO 187M84/7/3-6 coloured map and related schedules.
• 51M91/22 Misc. Hampshire sale particulars
• 159M88/417 Index to Hampshire Country Houses
• 39M73/BP Planning Permission
• FLAG – The Parish of Kilmeston in Hampshire by Fareham Landscape Archaeology Group, Aug 1993, (The parish of Kilmeston in Hampshire: some historical notes on its manors; Dean Farm and College Farm, and a landscape survey) HRO 83A02/3
• 1956 Curtis and Henson, sales brochure, courtesy of Mr P Gwyn.
• 1956 Inspection Letter dated 14 June 1956, courtesy of Mr P Gwyn
• 1975, Knight, Frank Rutley sales brochure, courtesy of Mr P Gwyn
• Ordnance Survey (OS) maps from Hampshire County Council:
• 1st ed. 1869-83, 25”
• 2nd ed. 1896, 25”
• 3rd ed. 1909, 25”
• Old Hampshire Mapped, Taylor’s – 1759. Greenwood – 1826.

Our address

Kilmeston No Public Access. See NGS Click for Disclaimer & copyright
51.03285466393618, -1.1591706275066826

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