|HCC Site ID.||1965||Parish:||Steep|
|Designations:||South Downs National Park||Area:||n/k|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and Site
Garden Hill is located on the northeast side of the village of Steep, which lies two miles from the centre of Petersfield, near the Hampshire Sussex border. The village occupies the rising ground of an escarpment which culminates in Stoner Hill above the village. The area is within the Greensand terrace landscape that comprises a layer of Upper Greensand rock which outcrops at the foot of the steep chalk scarps (Steep LA 2012).
The house was built for Mary Black by Unsworths of Petersfield at the beginning of the 20th century. The garden was probably designed by Inigo Triggs between 1908 and 1912. In 1908, he joined the Unsworth practice and the design is illustrated in Jekyll and Weaver’s 1912 book. To cope with the gradient, the garden was laid out with three terraces linked by steps and walks. The 1913 auction catalogue notes that ‘There is a most attractive and tastefully laid out Terraced Flower Garden, nicely matured and well planted with a variety of Shrubs’. There is also mention of the kitchen garden which was enclosed by a specially designed garden wall covered with fruit trees (HRO 147M85/63 & /172). The 1920s rating and evaluation book notes a walled garden sloping towards the south, a lean-to greenhouse, fruit store, rock garden, wooded grounds and an orchard (HRO 102M92/15). At that time Mrs Mary Synge was the owner and remained there until the 1940s or later. During the late 20th century an extension, including a portico in the classical style, was added to the rear of the house as well as a swimming pool to the east (pers. comm. 2011). Land to the north of the house has been acquired and a tennis court added (EH planning online 2004: Aerial views 2005).
The garden suggests a typical Triggs design: a south facing house on an elevated site, with extensive views, and a strong axial plan. The views are now slightly curtailed as a result of maturing trees. A stone terrace surrounds the house, with steps down to a semi-circular lawn bounded by a low wall which is, in turn, surrounded by a grassed semi-circular terrace below it. This arrangement, and the terrace with ‘bastion’ below the western side of the house, is reminiscent of Italian Renaissance terracing. All are in a good state of repair. The various terraces are linked to each other, and the allée down to the Rose Garden, by flights of stone steps. The Rose Garden has been laid to lawn, after depredations by deer. To the west of these gardens is a large grassed area, bounded by a brick and flint wall which is next to the lane leading to the centre of the village. This area was the site of the kitchen garden and orchard. The gardens, including the terrace walls and perimeter wall, are being well maintained. The greenhouses, which may possibly be original, are not in a good state of repair. It also seems likely that at some point in the past though not recently, that one flight of stone steps leading down to the ‘bastion’ terrace on the west side of the house has been repaired with brick treads, rather than stone.
Summary & Significance
Garden Hill has an Arts and Crafts garden, designed by Inigo Triggs in the early 20th century that structurally retains its original layout. Two walls are all that remain of the kitchen garden.
Research: HGT Research, November 2012
Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
102M92/15 Petersfield Rural rating and valuation book 1920s
147M85/63 Plan Garden Hill estate 1913
147M85/172 Auction details of Garden Hill 1913
Kellys directories: 1907, 1915, 1923, 1927, 1931, 1935, 1939.
Maps from HCC
3rd ed. OS map 25” 1909 2005 Aerial map
Jekyll, G. and Weaver, L. Gardens for Small Country Houses (London: Country Life, 1912, Antique Collectors’ Club Ed, 1981)
N.B. Different editions of Gardens for Small Country Houses give slightly different names for the location of this garden. One calls it Steep (where it in fact is) and another calls it Liphook.
pers.comm. researcher – Wendy Bishop’s visit 2011
E H planning online 2004 – http://planningpublicaccess.easthants.gov.uk/online)[accessed 20 December 2012].
Steep LA 2012 – Steep Parish Plan, Landscape Assessment http://www.steepparishplan.org.uk/files/Steep-Landscape-Assessment-2012.pdf
[accessed 20 December 2012].