Hartley Place (The Croft)

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HCC Site ID: 1137 Parish: Hartley Wintney
Designations: Area:
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private

Location and Site

Hartley Place is situated on Thackhams Lane, west of the junction of the A30 at Phoenix Green.

Historic description

In 1900, Robert Schultz designed the Croft, now named Hartley Place, for his friend, A W Pearce. The original garden also appears to be designed by him, as the ‘garden rooms’ separated by hedges are in his style. David Ottewill, biographer of Schultz, believes this to be the case. Schultz’s design was shown in the 1911 Ordnance Survey (O.S) map; most of the boundaries of the garden are planted with a mixture of deciduous and evergreen trees with a belt walk; to the south, west and north east of the house there are a series of small gardens surrounded by hedges of mainly evergreen plantings, one contains an orchard; a larger garden to the north has a small building, the bothy, and a pathway between an avenue of trees extending from the house to Thackham’s Lane. This is one of three properties, which were designed by Schultz, after he and his friends had purchased 26 acres of land at Phoenix Green in 1899.

Current description

A comparison between the 1911 O.S. map with one produced by Savill’s in 2015 shows clearly that the avenue of limes and the entrance to the house, both of which were in Schultz’s design, remain, as does the evergreen and deciduous planting forming a well-marked boundary on the north, west and most of the south of the site Within this area, the bothy, which is also very much Schultz design style, still stands. The rest is laid to lawns and specimen trees, with little trace of the original garden rooms. It is now (2015) referred to as the Arboretum. The new lawn at the rear of the house has the same south westerly orientation as the house. At the far end of it there is a gazebo that was designed by John Fowler, a prominent Interior Designer who lived nearby at King John’s Hunting Lodge at Dogmersfield from the 1940s until the 1970s. A similar gazebo remains at the Lodge. Lanning Roper wrote, in Fowler’s obituary of his ‘very real, but lesser known, flair for gardens and landscape architecture’ to which, ‘he brought the same sensitivity and the same knowledge of the past as he showed for domestic architecture’. Roper went on to describe the garden at the Hunting Lodge. While it is not known if Fowler was the re-designer of this garden, Roper remarks, ‘Fowler took a great deal of care to ensure proportions were exact’ – this quality is also evident in the two more formal gardens that are situated approximately half way along the western and eastern boundaries of the main lawn. The western boundary has a gate and steps leading down to the Arboretum, while the other, has an entrance to a formal shrub rose garden with gravel paths. The maps indicate that the southern corner of the site remains the same size with the old walled kitchen garden with its greenhouses replaced by a swimming pool area with fine herbaceous borders. This was probably altered in the last 10 to 20 years as the Bing aerial map shows an edged decorative lawn with a fountain or sculpture in the centre. A pergola and gate from this garden gives a view of the lavender edged path and decorative urn in the next garden. This area also accommodates the greenhouses, a polytunnel, the potting shed, a formal rose garden and tennis court.

Summary and Significance

The original house and, most likely, the garden were designed by the landscape architect and garden designer, R.S. Weir Shultz. The avenue of lime trees, the walled garden and some of the trees around the boundary of the garden remain from his design. The gazebo, designed by John Fowler, a renowned Interior Decorator, may well have been part of the re-design of the garden in the mid 20th century, as the precision and layout suggests his influence. Both designers lived nearby. The fine garden provides a setting for the house.
Research: October 2000, update May 2015


3rd ed OS map 25” 1911 HCC
Bing maps http://www.bing.com/maps [accessed 25/5/2015]
Bible of British Taste http://www.bibleofbritishtaste.com/ [accessed 25/5/2015]
Ottewill, David, letter 15 April 1986 re Appeal by Sir Emmanuel Kaye – HGT/HCC archives
Savills Sales notice pdf – http://search.savills.com/content/assets/properties/gblhchlac130105/LAC130105_LAC13000706.PDF [accessed 24/5/2015]
Wood, Martin, 2005 Nancy Lancaster, Francis Lincoln Publishers Ltd

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