|HCC Site ID:||1134||Parish:||Eversley|
|Designations:||CA, Rectory Grade II*||Area:||ha|
|Access:||Public Access to Churchyard||Ownership:|
Parts of the Old Rectory are of an early date while the front is probably of the early C18 like the Church. The Glebe land south of Church Lane was sold in the 1930s, but the garden immediately round the house is the same area as it was in Rev Charles Kingsley’s time (1844 – 1875), apart from land, which was taken to extend the Churchyard in the 1850s. In 1844 when Kingsley came as rector ‘most of the garden consisted of a line of fishponds which often flooded house and garden’. These were drained and diverted towards the lake behind the church, which belonged to Church Farm, the old manor house, to which they had always been directed. What had been a ‘wretched chicken yard’ outside Kingsley’s study was turfed ‘with a wide border each side … and became the Study Garden up and down which Kingsley ‘paced composing sermon, novel, lecture or poem’. This garden remains today with different planting. The appearance of the house has been greatly improved by removal of the rendering on this front. It still has climbers on it, although not in such Victorian profusion and Kingsley’s big magnolia is no more. The lawn in front of the house also remains where the last of the three great Scot’s Pines can be seen, where Kingsley once slung his hammock on Summer evenings and discussed the questions of the day with visitors. The ‘Firs’ were supposedly planted in the reign of James I when he visited Bramshill, but it is now thought that they date from the C18.
In 1862 the Kingsleys planted the avenue of Irish Yews down the new church path and many shrubs in the churchyard and roses on the church walls. Part of the avenue remains, but the whole is now dominated by the Wellingtonia grown from a seed from a cone pocketed by Kingsley in America in 1874. His daughter, Rose, sowed two seeds in pots after her father’s death in 1875. Later they were tended and planted out by the Parish Clerk. The second one is on the slopes of the Mount. Kingsley also had an extra garden on the Mount with a summerhouse and a croquet lawn.
Information Sara Beer: October 2000
Summary & Significance
Ancient and historic landscape of church and rectory with C19 modifications, additions and planting, some by Rev Charles Kingsley the author of the ‘Water Babies’ during his residence. Featured in an article by William Robinson in the English Flower Garden (1899).
Eversley Gardens and Others (1907) – by Rose Kingsley (father Charles Kingsley)
John Martineau, pupil of Kingsley, by his daughter Violet Martineau, 1921
Charles Kingsley, Letters and Memories of his life, by his wife, Two volumes 1876 and several subsequent editions.
The English Flower Garden – article by William Robinson 1889