Downlands (Down Lands)

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HCC Site ID: 1318 Parish: Bramshott & Liphook
Designations: House LB II, SINC Area: 113.3 ha
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private residential

Location and site

Downlands is situated north east Bramshott and north of the A3.  It is on a hill that overlooks a tributory of the River Wey with a view north to Ludshott Common.

Historic Development

In 1742 Nicholas Kent bought Downlands from the Enticknap family who had owned it since at least 1550. The estate included a farm house/cottage and a barn, both of which are today Grade II listed estate buildings. In about 1750 Mr. Kent built today’s Downlands,  in front of the original farm buildings. (HRO 2A05/8/1; Cope Papers 247 274). On 1791 Milne’s map the house is shown with two tree lined avenues within a parkland of tree clumps and according to Gilbert White included a Tulip Tree and larches. Benjamin Darlington-Kent, a nephew, inherited the estate and increased the acreage (HRO 21M65/C9235). It then passed to his son Nicholas Darlington-Kent who bought the Lordship of Bramshott and become Lord of the Manor. The estate passed to his sister and brother-in-law Thomas Butler; the house stayed in the Butler family for the next 90 years (Downlands papers).
The 1826 Greenwood Map showed the house and park with two tree lined avenues; in the mid-1800s that there was a formal garden with fish ponds, a kitchen garden, greenhouses, gates and gate piers (AHBR, Hampshire County Council). In 1841 Thomas Butler owned over 350 acres (141.6ha) and the 1856 County Directory described Downlands as `a neat mansion of about 100 acres with park and pleasure grounds’. On the 1870 1st edition OS map the estate is shown as well established, with two walled gardens one with paths, and an orchard and pleasure grounds. The grounds had specimen trees and several paths/rides through the extensive woods to the north. Two tree lined avenues are well established, one of Scots Pines the other oak trees. The main tree avenue was later replanted with lime trees and on the 3rd edition OS map (1909) a lodge appears at the entrance.
Henry Butler died in 1895 and the house and about 60 acres (24ha) were let until 1918 when Mr. and Mrs. Poland bought the estate and proceeded to buy more land. (Census 1901; Downlands Papers). By 1923 the estate was about 260 acres (105.18ha) with fish ponds, a bowling green and two tennis courts, herbaceous borders within a walled garden, a rose garden and a Wellingtonia tree (The Wessex Series). The Poland family ran equestrian events until 1983 when it again came up for sale for £1.25 million. (Downland Papers). The Mellstrom family bought the estate with the intention of farming. At this time the house was covered in creepers and when clearing the gardens the family rediscovered a small formal walk in the grounds beyond the walled gardens.  The Mellstrom family put the house and 80.9ha (200 acres) on the market in 2007 for £9,000,000; the house sold in 2008.

Current description

The estate includes 17 stables, pasture and paddocks, and two formal avenues of trees  orchards and lakes,  within mature pleasure grounds. The estate also has a cricket pitch, two tennis courts and a swimming pool. The well-stocked walled garden has a gate leading to the informal gardens, a park and woodlands. (Savills Agents 2007).


A 15th century farm, now an 18th century Georgian house. Country estate with pleasure grounds, consisting of about 80.9ha (200 acres) including a walled garden, orchards, stables, paddocks, farm buildings, cottages, woods and lakes.
HGT Research:  August 2008.


Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
2A05/8/1         Miscellaneous documents ‘L Bramshott general’  c1586-1980s
1856 County Directory
1791 Milne map (Old Hampshire maps (OHM) online)
1826 Greenwood map (OHM)
1st ed. OS map 1870  (Hampshire County Council)
3rd ed. OS map 1909           “          ”   “
Campion, P., 1923, A Recent History of Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset.
AHBR, Hampshire County
Census 1901
Cope, Rev’d William 247, 273-74 Append. in the Bramshott and Liphook
Preservation Society
Downlands Papers,  Bramshott & Liphook Preservation Society
Savills, Estate Agents Brochure 2007

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