|HCC Site ID:||1561||Parish:||Otterbourne|
|Designations:||House LB II, SMR||Area:||Medium|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Multiple Private|
Location and Site
Otterbourne House lies on the main road through Otterbourne from Winchester to Southampton. The village is approximately four miles south of Winchester, and eight miles north of Southampton and is wedged between the railway and the River Itchen on its eastern boundary and the M3 on its western one. It is now a suburban settlement.
At the time of the Napoleonic wars, French prisoners built and realigned the village road through Otterbourne and one of the cottages along it was enlarged and improved to become Otterbourne House.
Otterbourne House was lived in by the Yonge family and Charlotte M Yonge, the Victorian novelist, was born there in 1823. The house is 3-storey in the centre with the rest 2-storey and stucco on brick with a slate roof. A coach house lies at the front of the site.
The 1st ed 25” OS map, 1867, shows a path leading from the house and outbuildings to enclosed gardens with an extensive central path leading to Dell Copse behind the grounds as well as perimeter paths. There does not appear to be a gate through to Dell Copse. The central path divides two ‘compartment’ areas, one of which is an orchard, the other has trees and some lawn. At the end of one of the ‘compartment’ there is a square-shaped area, where the present sunken garden lies.
By the 2nd ed OS map, 1896, the square area is shown as enclosed and a wall has been built between the two ‘compartments’ and Dell Copse (the woodland behind). In the early 20th century, it is known that this part of the garden was redesigned in Arts and Craft style when the owner was Edward Christian. The perimeter paths to the ‘compartments’ have disappeared in the 3rd ed OS map, 1909, which shows a central path, a walled square area with a sundial and a clear path leading from the sunken garden to the place where a summerhouse is sited though no summerhouse is shown. It suggests that by 1909, the Arts and Crafts garden had been started by Edward Christian who bought the house in 1907. He added an iron gate with the initials EC, leading out to the woodland area behind. Much remains of this layout with the central path now a pergola walk, a ‘hidden’ and walled sunken garden, a summerhouse, deep flowerbeds bordered by box hedges, glasshouses and the incorporated long boundary wall. Inside the walled, sunken garden there is a half-round stone seat, a raised plinth for a sundial and herringbone stone paths. A further Arts and Crafts element is the high yew wall. The two ‘compartments’ of Arts and Craft grdens were sold off in the 1940s and two one-storey dwellings built on each of them.
The house has been converted into apartments and the coach house is a separate dwelling. The grounds of the house are much diminished.
The owners of the two bungalows have retained the Arts and Craft features described above. One has the sunken garden, the deep flowerbeds, the yew wall and box hedges, the boundary wall with a ‘rat run’ (ie. two leaves of brickwork with a 2” gap between albeit closed off at the ends and fully capped) and one of the glasshouses. The other bungalow has the summerhouse which has a small, Venetian portico and two ‘clair-voyes’ (with shutters). The remains of the full-length rose pergola walk which was arranged in three batches of supports lie between the two gardens leading to the iron gate with the initials EC. On the current OS map the course of a Roman road is shown running through the bungalow gardens to the west of the boundary wall to Dell Copse. There is a distinct similarity to the formal gardens of Martyr Worthy Place (now belonging to Martyr Worthy Minor), which was owned in the early 20th century by Miss Christian.
Enlarged from a cottage in the early 19th century and called Otterbourne House, owned by the family of Charlotte Yonge, Victorian novelist. In the early 20th century Arts and Craft style additions, whose features were incorporated into the gardens of two bungalows in the 1940s. Main house in apartments.
HGT Research: July 2002/updated 2008