Manor House, The (Daneshill House)

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HCC Site ID: 1199 Parish: Lychpit and Old Basing
Designations: House LB II Area: 0.4047ha
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Tenanted Offices
Diageo Pension Scheme

Location and Site

Daneshill House is a Grade II listed house, situated approximately one mile north-east of the centre of Basingstoke (English Heritage 1975). It occupies an elevated position on the boundary of the parishes of Chineham and Lychpit-Old Basing, overlooking the source of the River Lodden. The house, also known as The Manor House which is now in multiple business occupancy, is in its own grounds of less than one hectare. The village of Old Basing lies one mile to the south from where the house can be seen on the ridge, screened by trees of a local nature reserve. Deposits of clay are widespread along the ridge and sand and chalk are both found at lower levels (OS Explorer144) (www.basingstoke.gov.uk).

Historic Development

Daneshill House was built between 1900 and 1903 by Mr Walter Hoare, the brewer and member of the Hoare banking family. Edwin Lutyens was the architect of the Tudor-Vernacular-style house, the adjacent Daneshill Cottage (Grade II) and Daneshill Lodge (Grade II). He was also almost certainly the designer of the grounds close to the house (Brown 1997; Hoare 1932; Weaver 1925 and Hussey 1950). The friendship between Lutyens and Hoare led to the latter establishing the Daneshill Brickworks which became renowned for its high-quality narrow bricks, used by Lutyens in several other of his properties. Daneshill House itself was, and is a fine advertisement for brick craftsmanship (Hoare 1920). The exposed north front of the house which faced across open fields was protected by an imposing, deep, yew hedge reminiscent of the protective walls which Lutyens designed as entrances to other country houses at this time. The garden was carved out of the steeply sloping hillside in a series of terraces leading to an orchard and a wild wood below (OS Maps1910/1912). The geometric style suggests no other hand than Lutyens himself and there is no evidence from the family or available papers that Gertrude Jekyll was ever involved in planning the garden (Brown 1982). The property was sold by the Hoare family in 1946 and became a school, known as Daneshill School until 1974 (HRO:159M88/411). During this period there were inevitable additions of school facilities around the house but the grounds were generally used for sports activities and remained open spaces (Attwood Basingstoke Gazette 2000). Following the departure of the school the property was purchased by the Hampshire County Council which was in need of land for the development of Basingstoke. Fortunately the HCC recognized the importance of preserving the Lutyens house and garden and it was used by them as a school until 1981 (HRO:H/TR16/1/22). Lack of proper maintenance had debased the property but it was sold to the Royal Mutual Insurance Company with permission to develop the house as offices provided that the house and grounds were restored. Two large modern office buildings were built alongside the house. The cottage was sold to be used as a nursing home (Bannermann Basingstoke Gazette 1981). In the next twenty years commercial Basingstoke expanded relentlessly towards Daneshill and Chineham and residential housing estates were established below the ridge in Lychpit. The old orchard and woods had been purchased by the Council and fortunately they were preserved as a Local Nature Reserve (www.basingstoke.gov.uk). The site, which now extended to about 9 acres, was sold at the end of the 1990s to the Diageo Pension Scheme who changed the name of Daneshill House to The Manor House, Lychpit and the house is now let to three or four commercial tenants. The management of the garden is in the hands of a property management company on the site (Miller 1999; Hollis 2009 and OS maps 2008).

Current Description

Daneshill House now stands in about one acre of garden and is still in a commanding position astride the ridge above Lychpit although three large modern office blocks have been built in the grounds. Car parks blight the approach on the north side of the house but fortunately the great yew hedge still protects the frontage and the open space beyond the hedge is a public park which separates the house from the traffic going to the Chineham Shopping Centre. The garden is reduced to the terraces on the south side of the house. The upper terrace is partly paved and grassed and a flight of steps leads down to lower levels; on each level there are tightly-clipped cotoneasters, hebes and low-growing shrubs with some evidence of more mature shrubs at the edges. The grounds terminate below the third terrace with a modern wall beyond which is the Local Nature Reserve. Some of the old orchard trees can still be found here and pleasant walks lead down to the houses and villages below. The trees and woods provide an important buffer for residents between their houses and the industrial area of Basingstoke just to the west. The Daneshill house, grounds and woods are highly valued by residents for this important contribution to the local amenities and environment. The view towards the house-on-the-hill is a feature of the area and tenants in Daneshill House itself value the views from the windows to the gardens and the wider landscape beyond. Daneshill Cottage now lies derelict and a fire. Daneshill Lodge is now separately and privately owned. (http://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/stories.htm?newsid=32407).

Summary

Daneshill House is an important example of Lutyens’ work at a time when he was on the cusp of his country/classical styles. It is perhaps the greatest example of his use of brick in a country-house-building and led to the development of the locally-significant Daneshill Brickworks. The gardens were designed to blend sympathetically with the severe geometric style and to lead into wild woodland walks which are still accessible today. The planting on the terraces is modern, low-maintenance, carpark-style but fortunately some mature shrubs offer delightful autumn colour and are much appreciated by the tenants. The house is cramped by modern office development and associated carparks but a small amount of open space is still preserved. The woods below the house allow Daneshill to see and be seen and provide an important local amenity.
HGT Research: February 2009

References

Hampshire Record Office (HRO)/ Basingstoke Public Library:
159M88/411: Daneshill, Basingstoke: country estate with 12 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 3 cottages and a farmhouse, 180a. 1946
H/TR16/1/22: HCC, Land assembly in Basingstoke (Chineham): Hill Samuel Finance: Mr Vallance. 1972-1974
BPL Newspaper cuttings:
Bannermann, S., nd. But probably December 1981. Basingstoke Gazette, ‘Mixed reaction to Daneshill House offices scheme’.
Basingstoke Gazette, February 1982. New offices for Royal Mutual Insurance Society. Architect Mr Andrew Cooper, to be completed by end 1983.
Attwood, Arthur, 15 September 2000, Basingstoke Gazette, p.20. ‘Half a Century of School Memories’,Daneshill School History.
Maps
3rd edition 1910, 25” 3rd edition 1911-1912, 6”; 4th edition 1932, 25”, 4th edition 1932, 6”
Colour Raster 2008, 1:5000; MasterMap 2008, 1:5000
All these Ordnance Survey maps from HCC/HGT datasets
OS Explorer 144 2004, 1:25000
Books
Brown, J. 1982 Gardens of a Golden Afternoon, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold
Brown, J.,1997 Lutyens and the Edwardians, an English Architect and his Clients, Penguin, pp136,137
Gradidge, R. 1981 Edwin Lutyens Architect Laureate Allen Unwin
Hoare, M., 1932 Olden Days and Nowadays in Old Basing, Old Basing Women’s Institute
Hoare, W.R., 1920 Beautiful Brickwork (Basingstoke Library)
Hussey, C. 1950 The Life of Sir Edwin Lutyens, Country Life p.105
Miller, M nd. Lutyens’ Country Houses: Use or Abuse? Brandenburg University of Technology
www.tu-cottbus.de/lookingforwards/pdf/19miller.pdf
Weaver, L., 1925 Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens, Country Life, pp.120-122
The Hampshire Register of Historic Parks and Gardens
Hampshire Treasures Vol.2, p.239
Other Sources
RIBA/ V&A Papers of Sir Edwin Lutyens and the Lutyens Family, including correspondence between Sir Edwin and his wife, Lady Emily 1878-1943./em>1898-190
Electronic Sources
Old Basing and Lychpit Village design statement 2005
www.basingstoke.gov.uk/CommitteeDocs/Decisions2005/…/Village%20Design%20Statements%20Old%20Basing%20App
Daneshill Cottage fire:
http://www.hantsfire.gov.uk/stories.htm?newsid=32407
http://archive.basingstokegazette.co.uk/2007/9/9/119122.html
English Heritage- listed buildings online
http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk
Local Nature Reserves:
http://www.english-nature.gov.uk/special/lnr/lnr_details.asp?C=0&N=&ID=892
http://natureonthemap.org.uk
http://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/leisure/conservation.htm
Daneshill School: 03/12/08:
http://www.daneshill.hants.sch.uk/school.php
Personal Communication
Alison Hudson. ( Granddaughter of Walter Hoare) Interview, November 24th 2008. Family scrapbook.
Nick Hollis. Hollis Hockley- previously Vail Williams, estate agents. 15 January 2009
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