|HCC Site ID:||1976||Parish:||Sherfield-on-Loddon|
|Access:||Access to School||Ownership:||The Loddon School Company Ltd., a registered charity|
Location and Site
The Loddon School is situated on Wildmoor Lane in Sherfield-on-Loddon. Wildmoor Lane joins the A33 Basingstoke to Reading road about five miles north-east of Basingstoke railway station. The house and grounds of the Loddon School stand in a rural setting on elevated land overlooking open countryside to the south and east, beyond which flows the River Loddon. Hedgerows and trees of Wildmoor Lane protect the northern boundary of the site and Moulshay Lane, a narrow farm track with a public right of way, edges the western boundary. Across Wildmoor Lane to the north is a large ‘Wyevale’ garden centre on the site of an earlier kitchen garden belonging to the property.
The house and grounds (fifty acres/twenty hectares) were developed from a modest vicarage after 1863 but probably around 1875 (Victoria County History). The owner was the Reverend Alfred Barker a member of a family from Stanlake Park in Berkshire; he named the house St Leonard’s. Part of the grounds were parkland within which there was a cricket pitch. In 1907 the property was sold for £12000 to another wealthy Berkshire family, the Palmers of Huntley and Palmer fame. Eustace Exall Palmer renamed the house Drayton House and he lived there until his retirement in 1924 (Huntley & Palmer company website). During this period a large, formal, well-tended kitchen garden with glasshouses was created on the north side of Wildmoor Lane and around the house were a rose garden, tennis and croquet lawns, a conservatory and a peach house (sales details 1925). In 1935 the property was purchased by an American-Manila family, the Marsmans who renamed the property Sanguilo House, and the house and grounds were up-dated in the art-deco style. William Wood & Son Ltd of Taplow were commissioned to make certain changes in the grounds. They redesigned the terraces on which the house stood, making them wider and shallower with steps to the great lawns. At the north end of the terrace they constructed a classical rotunda to shelter a stone sculpture of a female figure; a grass tennis court was overlooked by a new thatched garden pavilion which Wood featured in one of their catalogues (Recent Work and Garden Houses and Pavilions, 1936). Beyond the tennis courts and close to the old farm buildings, a tree belt protected a new rock and water garden. During the Second World War Sanguilo House was lent to the Red Cross and in 1946 the Marsmans sold the property and by 1950 the estate had been divided into four lots and around the house only ten acres (4.5 hectares) of grounds remained. The kitchen garden, glasshouses and gardener’s cottage were sold separately at this time (Zealey). In 1960 the property became Drayton Manor School and in 1988 it was sold again, to the present owner The Loddon School. It is now home and school to a group of around thirty young people with severe learning difficulties and the extensive grounds provide a safe environment in which they can play games, learn to look after animals and pets, and grow fruits and vegetables (The Loddon School archives and website).
A site visit was made in October 2011 to establish whether there were any visible remains of the garden designed in 1935 by William Wood & Son. The school Principal and two gardeners were very helpful supplying information about the development of the grounds.
The property is approached from Wildmoor Lane along the original entrance drive which sweeps into a forecourt between tall yew hedges. The house sits on a double terrace designed by Wood from which shallow stone steps lead to extensive lawns. A stone path extends the length of the upper terrace from a circular bed at the southern end towards a narrow canal which sits below a classical rotunda. Within the rotunda, which is glazed between its columns, is a stone sculpture of a female figure in the art-deco style, signed by M. Neal. A system of pipes under the dome of the rotunda feeds a water cascade down the face of one of the glazed panels and into the canal below. This was designed and illustrated by William Wood in their 1936 catalogue Recent Work. In the immediate area of the rotunda there are remains of a more formal garden and shrubbery. A garden pavilion which was built by William Wood survives but is no longer thatched (Garden Houses and Pavilions, p.5). Farm buildings dating from the late-nineteenth century survive but have been adapted to the needs of The Loddon School. The south-eastern boundary of the land is sheltered by a tree belt of mixed deciduous trees among which there are some varieties of cherry, holly and similar decorative shrubs. Beneath the trees lie the remains of a designed water and rock garden; the cascade here was mentioned in the 1946 sales details. This water garden may have been the work of the William Wood company; they were specialists in this field having been awarded many medals by the RHS. Although the rocks remain they are buried in a deep layer of leaves and mulch. Much of the original lawn and park has now been converted to other uses by the school: they have stables and paddocks for ponies, an orchard and a large maintenance area. The management of the school value the historic setting and work to incorporate the needs of the school within the framework of the garden as far as is practicable. Some of the original views from the boundary fence towards the mansion are preserved but the growth of trees and hedgerows along the boundary now impedes views to the wider countryside.
Within the gardens and grounds of The Loddon School lie the vestiges of two main periods of garden taste, Edwardian and Art-Deco. The spaciousness of the garden was always its main feature as it sought to maximise its position looking out to a wider landscape of parkland and arable fields. The mansion was developed around an earlier vicarage in the late Victorian period and in ‘Early English style’ and was further developed in the Edwardian period as a large family home for a noted businessman. The arrival of a wealthy overseas owner in 1935 brought an injection of capital expenditure on the house and garden and the introduction of the art-deco style in both house and garden. The garden was revamped by William Wood and Son Ltd of Taplow, pre-eminent garden designers of the time who rebuilt the terraces and probably created the rock and water garden.
Despite being occupied by educational establishments since 1960, the pleasure grounds remain mainly intact. This garden is one of the few examples of William Wood’s work still extant and is documented in their catalogues; it is also a rare example of existing art-deco work in a Hampshire garden context.
HGT Research: January 2012
Hampshire Record Office (HRO)
10M57/SP624 1852 sale details, Sherfield Hill Estate and Map
21M65/F7/206/1/2; 1841 Tithe map and apportionment
159M88/449 1926 sale advertisements cut from magazines; 3 photos 1925, 1926, and 1934.
126M95/4 1925 Knight Frank Rutley,sale particulars ‘Drayton House’, brochure and maps
134M87/214 1947 Aerial photograph 41/65 NE. Apx. 6” to one mile
English Heritage- NMRC
post 1925 Aerial photograph SU6756
1946 CC015909-CC015916 John D Wood/Miller and Harris photos of ‘Sanguillo’ House interiors and grounds.
1st edition 1875, 25” ; 2nd edition 1896/7, 25”; 3rd edition 1911-1912, 6”; Colour Raster 2008
All Ordnance Survey maps from HCC/HGT datasets
OS Explorer 2004 Sheet 144
Marsman, Jan Henrik I Escaped from Hong Kong 1942,British Library 09057.c.33
Wm. Wood & Son Ltd Recent Work 1936, Lindley Library, RHS London
Wm. Wood & Son Ltd Garden Houses and Pavilions 1936, Lindley
Library, RHS Wisley
John D Wood sales particulars “Sanguillo Manor” (sic) 1946, The Loddon School archives
Memorials in the church of St Leonard, Church End, Sherfield-on-Loddon and personal conversations with Miss Libby Barker, Mrs Heidi Zealey and Karen Rookes, Principal The Loddon School. Emails were also exchanged with Dorothy Marsman-Drysdale of Manila.
Page, W. ed. Victoria County History: A History of the County of Hampshire: 1911 Volume 4, pp.103-108 Sherfield-on-Loddon Parish
The Times on-line:The Times Digital Archive. Web. Accessed 28 Dec. 2011.
Census details: 1871, 1881 1901
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council
Hampshire County Council
http://www.sherfieldonloddon-pc.gov.uk/assets/webadmin/LVL Oct 07.pdf
History Huntley and Palmer