Sleepers Hill

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HCC Site ID: 1904 Parish: Winchester
Designations: Area: Urban road
Access: Public Access Ownership: Private residences

Location and Site

Sleepers Hill is a residential hill on the western side of Winchester with views across the Itchen Valley to St Catherine’s Hill.

Historic Development

The name Sleepers Hill formerly referred to the whole area of this steep, wooded hill on the western side of Winchester. The road was called St Mary’s Road and was only renamed Sleepers Hill in the early part of the 20th century.
By 1897, several large houses had been built on the lower slopes – Finchley (by 1909 called St Mary’s), Hilcote, Leatham (later Neatham), Milnthorpe, St Philips’ and Wynberg. Much higher up the hill was Qu’appelle, and with entrances on Romsey Road, Kerrfield and Melbury Lodge.
By 1909. High Wyck and Maesgwyn had been built, with Dawn House, 1907, at the top, designed by Ernest Newton. The earlier houses all had large gardens of at least one or two acres and were well wooded with mainly beech trees and some ornamental trees and shrubs. Most gardens had to be terraced and had lawns, kitchen gardens and fruit trees and some had their own paddock. A well-timbered, residential landscape is their legacy which remains the prominent feature of Sleepers Hill.

In the 20th century more houses were gradually built all the way up the road and three short side roads were added. Kerrfield was demolished and a winding road of attractive modern houses was built, now blending well into the wooded hillside. Melbury Lodge became a NHS site. The estate of Milnthorpe House which had once been 8 ha (20 acres) was broken up after 1932 and the former grounds sold off in a series of plots for development.  At Milnthorpe there was a structure formerly thought to be an icehouse but now believed to be a water storage tank. This now lies in the garden of Langton House, a modern house built about 1980 in part of the old grounds of Milnthorpe House.
Sub-divisions have continued until recent years.

Current Description

Whilst some of the ‘feel’ of the early Sleepers Hill can still be experienced, much of the ‘villa’ambience has been lost to an ordinary, residential suburb. The views from some of the gardens on the south side remain but the demolition of larger houses and the introduction of several ‘Closes’ detract from the 19th century villa setting. Melbury Lodge has been demolished and sold off for a high-density housing development. The Ernest Newton House, Dawn House, has reduced grounds but remains a private enclave from the early 20th century.

Summary

A steep, wooded residential area on the western side of Winchester which in the 19th century was the site of several grand houses with large, mainly terraced gardens. The larger estates were broken up in the 20th century to make way for higher density properties. So far,some of the well-timbered landscape has survived.

Information: May 2003 update 2012


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Winchester Public Access Click for Disclaimer & copyright
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