Moundsmere Manor (Historic England)

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HCC Site ID: 1255 Parish: Preston Candover
Designations: HE II* Area: c12ha
Access: No Public Access Ownership: Private Residence

Site and location

Moundsmere Manor is situated on the edge of Preston Candover, 6 km south of Basingstoke. It is bounded by Inham’s Copse with open farmland beyond to the north-west, the west and south. It stands on a natural plateau and the ground is level, with sloping land to the north and south giving superb views over the Candover Valley.

Historic Development

After the dissolution of the monasteries, the manor of Moundsmere became part of the dowry first of Anne of Cleves, and then Catherine Howard. After Catherine Howard’s death Henry VIII granted it to Winchester College in part exchange for other manors. There has been a farmhouse, (Moundsmere Farm), in the manor since the 17th century, but the present Moundsmere Manor house and gardens were not built until 1908-09. Both the house and gardens were designed by Reginald Blomfield for Wilfred Buckley, a highly successful businessman returning to England from America. Buckley devoted himself to dairy farming with a model cowhouse and dairy built on the estate. The house was designed in the Hampton Court/Renaissance style and Blomfield believed that only the architect could design the garden. His magnificent formal gardens were an integral part of any design providing suitable, architectural settings for the vast country houses, of which Moundsmere was perhaps the last. In his book, The Formal Garden, 1898, he advocated the revival of the formal English Garden in contrast to the ‘wild gardening’ advocated by William Robinson.
The gardens at Moundsmere were designed with an elegant Edwardian terrace lined on either side by high clipped yew hedges and herbaceous borders. A ha-ha looked out over the even now unspoilt Candover valley. Krystyna Bilikowski commented in ‘Hampshire’s Countryside Heritage‘ that the character of the design looked backwards to the Tudor and the Stuart periods. Due to the imminent upheavals of the First World War, Moundsmere may be considered one of the last country houses in Hampshire to be built with little expense spared, in house or gardens, described by Nikolaus Pevsner as a ‘sumptuous mansion’, sitting in 83 acres of mature parkland.
In the 1930s a pinetum was laid out to the north of the formal gardens and east of the house. In the late 20th C the wings of the house were reduced in length and a swimming pool and tennis courts were introduced.

Current Description

A mile-long drive leads to the house through electric wrought-iron entrance gates and a pair of lodges. The final part of the drive is lined at first by beech and sycamores, and finally by yew hedges. Modelled on Wren’s work at Hampton Court, the central bay on the south front of the house has four giant Tuscan pilasters. In front of the house there are Atlantic cedars and an impressive magnolia.
A retaining wall and ha-ha lie to the south. Various small changes were made towards the end of the 20th century. There is a very full description of the gardens as they were in 1978, in the Batsford edition of The Gardens of Britain, Dorset Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Paterson A.
The gardens are described in the Sales Details by Savills in 2004, as: ‘The formal gardens are in front of the house including a Sunken Garden, stone and brick retaining walls, rose beds and a central ornamental pond with views over the parkland. The South East Garden has two gravel pathways with Yews that lead to the Walled Garden and are separated by a lawned area with a tennis court and attractive stone pavilion. The original Edwardian greenhouse provides produce for the house. The walled garden is entered through pairs of stone gate piers and has a lawned area, flowerbeds, vegetable patches and fruit trees. There is also an Arboretum with many mature trees such as Beech, Breweriana, Yew, a Davidia involucrata (Handkerchief Tree) and various firs.’
A map annotated in the 1990s by Krystyna Bilikowski shows very clearly the West-East linear design of the formal gardens with pathways running along each edge of the canal area towards a grassed area with herbaceous beds before the tennis courts are reached. Further east lies the walled kitchen garden, which is laid to lawn with a perimeter path and cross-paths through the centre. There is access to the potting sheds and Gardener’s house situated on the outside north wall. The Gardener’s house and walled garden were designed by Blomfield. The extensive Arboretum lies to the north of the gardens and to the east of Moundsmere Farm complex.
Moundsmere Manor was owned by Mark Andreae from 1969-2004 when the Manor house, gardens and parkland were separated from the 2500 acre Moundsmere Estate Management, a rural business consultancy specialising in all aspects of estate and farm management and development. The Manor house and gardens were sold to Lord Laidlaw of Rothiemay, who made renovations to the house. He does not appear to have lived in the house and in 2007, it was again put up it for sale. Note: it has not been possible to view the site in 2021.

Summary and Significance

Built in 1908, the house and gardens were designed by Reginald Blomfield. The gardens were in the English Garden style, with formal gardens to reflect the Hampton Court style of the house. The gardens are of significant and historical importance on a national scale, particularly as an existing example of Blomfield’s belief in the English garden style that should be designed by the architect.
HGT Research: March 2021

References

Historic England: House, 1339602/Garden, 1000865
Krystyna Bilikowski, Historic Parks and Gardens, Hampshire County Council, 1983
OS map 25” 3rd ed: 1910 and annotated late 20thC OS map
Daily Echo – https://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/5565725.to-the-manor-drawn/ – accessed 23/02/21
Presscode.com.daily mail 25/05/2007 accessed 23/02/21
Sales details, 2004, Savills
Hampshire Gardens Trust Archive

Click here to visit Historic England site for this location.
HE Site ID 1000865 Registered: 1984-05
HE description: June 2000 Amended: July 2001 Register Inspector: CB Edited: February 2004.


Our address

Address:
Preston Candover No Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
GPS:
51.1856820235878, -1.1014631002807391

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