|HCC Site ID:||1059||Parish:||Hythe and Dibden|
|Designations:||Area:||C19 97 acres|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Two private houses|
Location and Site
The site of Forest Lodge lies south of Frost Lane and just north of Buttsash on the south eastern edge of Dibden and Hythe.
Forest Lodge was built in 1730 (Pesvener & Lloyd, 1967). In 1908, it was noted that noted that the Lodge boasted the possession of a Chinese pagoda and bridge in the grounds, with an observatory from which a fine view of Southampton Water was obtained (VCH 1908). In 1859, George Robbins first chief constable of the Hampshire Police lived there and in 1871 Richard Wilberforce Unwin was in residence (Mercier & Crockford). The 1st ed OS map,1870 (HCC), shows a house set in parkland with Kitcher’s Copse to the north. A fishpond lies to the east of the house. In 1911 it was the residence of Mr Baring and was chiefly notable for its beautiful surroundings (VCH, 1908)H Vol 3.
In 1911 Kelly’s Directory describes the estate, thus: ‘The house, originally built in 1730 and recently enlarged, has attached grounds and lands of about 100 acres containing a small lake; the land is undulating, heavily timbered and affords fine views.’ It also refers to the Chinese pagoda being used as a dining room (??) and the bridge, also a boathouse. The observatory stands 200 ft above sea level.
The 6” 4th ed OS map of 1931-45 (HCC) shows the same landscape with the fishpond and boat house. The 25” 4th ed (1932 ) (HCC) shows more conifers to the north east of the house, an entrance drive to the right and one to the left of the house with raised terraces and trees between the two. The house itself lies on land which falls away. The estate was put up for sale in 1950 with 11 beds, 2 baths…garden, lake and woodland (159M88/556 HRO).
In 1968, Pevsner wrote:
‘Forest Lodge was originally built in 1730. It now has a pleasant early 18th century appearance with stuccoed walls and low slate roofs. The grounds were very romantically landscaped in the early 19th century and the landscape is still largely intact. They had a pagoda, Chinese Bridge and boat house and an observatory. The boathouse survives amid a tangle of vegetation a little way from the receded lake, a small wooden building with Chinese roofs in two states and a veranda on the ground floor. The bridge, which recently collapsed, is said to have had Chinese detailing.’(Pevsner & Lloyd, 1967).
Early photographs show the house and Chinese bridge and either the boathouse or the pagoda. (Photos provided by Mrs Penny).
In the 1970s the lake was sold to Mrs Penny of Forest Lodge Home Farm, which lies to the south east of the house. It is used for fishing and the Caravan Club has access. Another early photograph of Forest Lodge from the lakeside shows that the house stands high on land which falls away towards the lake.
An OS map around 1980 (HCC) shows the lodge, some parkland and fishpond. The fishpond is no longer shown on the OS map 2000 (HCC), although according to Mrs Penny in 2000, a small lake is actually still there.
The boathouse no longer exists neither does the pagoda referred to by Pevsner, both of them according to Mrs Penny being vandalised by children in the 1960s.
The parkland with deciduous and evergreen trees is still in evidence and it is clear that there must have been a lovely view over to Southampton Water. The house is now divided into two.
Forest Lodge was built in 1730 and is now sub-divided into two. The grounds were romantically developed in the 19th century, The lake sold off post war and Chinese features lost. Some parkland remains.
Pevsner, N, Lloyd, D 1967, The Buildings of England: Hampshire & the Isle of Wight, p304
Murley, C, & F A Pictorial Past 1990 p66
(VCH) Page, W A History of the County of Hampshire:1908, vol 3
Directories, Mercier and Crockford and Kelly
HRO Hampshire Record Office
159M88/556 Sales details
HCC Hampshire County Council
2001 site visit to the lake and conversation with Mrs Penny of Forest Lodge Home Farm with photographs from the 19th century.