|HCC Site ID:||1272||Parish:||Tadley|
|Designations:||LB Grade II||Area:||c 3.5 acres|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Special School – The Priory Group|
Location and Site
Tadley Court is located at the western edge of the last fragment of Tadley Common, lying between Pamber Heath and Mount Pleasant; south of the Silchester Road, and approximately 7 miles north of Basingstoke. The remains of the Roman town ‘Caleva Atrebatum’ at Silchester lies less than 2 miles to the east. Early maps such as Saxton (1579) show the Pamber Forest extending up to the Berkshire border, and even at the end of the 18th century Milne’s map shows the forest extendeding into the Tadley and Silchester commons.
A large part of the parish of Tadley was included from a very early date in the manor of Overton, however, Tadley did have an independent manor of its own which was initially called Tadley and later called the manor of Withford or Wyford. In 1166 the manor was the property of William Hotot and in 1305 it passed to the de la More family. In 1496 the Ludlow family inherited the manor by marriage. Henry Ludlow was lord of the manor in 1625, and known as an oppressive landlord. After Henry’s death in 1639 the history of the manor is uncertain, but it is known that by the end of the seventeenth century it had passed into the hands of the Wither family, with whom it remained until the beginning of the twentieth century, when the Lord of the Manor was Major William Archibald Hicks Beach.
In the Inclosure Award of 1851 an alottment was made for public quarries; 25 acres as Poor’s Allotments; 4 acres as recreation ground, including the letting of the herbage and 100 acres as ‘Turbary’ Common (the basis of the modern Tadley Common SSSI). In 1894 the Turbary allotment was transferred to the Parish Council, and 10 acres of land was also allotted to the school. Bricks used to be made at Tadley Common and the manufacture of broom besoms still is, a local industry.
The Tithe Map of 1840 refers to the house and gardens with a collection of farm buildings and rick yard, although only an enclosure is indicated – no paths or other garden features. These elements of the garden do not appear until the 1872-3 map where a pond, and substantial tree planting is indicated. The VCH of 1911 refers to ‘several modern residences, among them being the Wilderness in the north on Tadley Common’. It is likely that the original farm house was completely rebuilt at the end of the 19th century.
In the 1890s, and early 1900s the house was called The Wilderness, and during the early 1900s the property was the residence of Mr & Mrs J. Phillips M.D. who were very active in local affairs.
Locally, Major George Conrad Roller is linked to The Wilderness. Throughout the 1900s Kelly’s Directory lists him as living in either The Wilderness or The Cottage, a property in the grounds of The Wilderness, now known as Rollers. George Conrad Roller, was an artist and friend of the artist John Singer Sargent. It is his skill as a painter/artist, and in particular a picture restorer, that he was known world-wide. He was a soldier who served in both the Boer War and World War I, a steeplechase rider, a London Magistrate, and a Governor of London Hospitals and the Royal Berkshire Hospital. For much of his life George lived in Tadley, at The Wilderness and The Cottage. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries the Roller family had close links with Thomas Burberry, and George illustrated Burberry’s advertisements for nearly 40 years.
Later owners of the house (possibly George Hunter Garnett-Orme) renamed it Tadley Court, and they may have been responsible for the planting of the yews that are now mature sculpted features of the present garden. From the mid 1930s onwards the property has had a chequered history – as a mixed residence of Serviced Rooms & Suites. Development pressure around the commons, has occurred on either side of the Hampshire/Berkshire border following the growth of the government establishment at Aldermaston in the 1950s and the designation of Basingstoke as a London overspill town in the 1970s.
In 1986 Tadley Common was protected by the designation of Site of Special Scientific Interest as part of the Pamber Forest and Silchester Common SSSI. The site was designated for it’s lowland heathland habitat. The boundary of Tadley Court and Rollers consists of a thick belt of deciduous trees that extends in places into the common land beyond. Public footpaths criss-cross the common, one of which give access to the common between the two properties. Much of the garden has been encroached by school activities, except the east front which overlooks the ponds, informal lawns and ornamental shrubs.
In 1984 Tadley Manor was a base for the Water Industry Training Association (WTI), and in 2004 acquired by Longhirst Group as part of a wider portfolio. It was then sold to the Priory Group – a specialist education organisation, and since 2004 it has been the home of Tadley Horizon, a co-educational school specialising in the care and education of pupils between the ages of 5 to 19, who are diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum with associated learning difficulties. The site has been developed considerably during the past 6 years and a number of new classrooms and other buildings have been erected on the site. The original pond recorded in the early maps remains.
Although there was evidence of a farm property on the site during the early 19th century, it wasn’t until the 1890s that the house was enlarged into a ‘Gentleman’s Residence’ – possibly for Major George Conrad Roller – a fine artist and world-wide known picture restorer, and friend of John Singer Sargent and Thomas Burberry. He illustrated Burberry’s advertisements for nearly 40 years. Today the common surrounding Tadley Courts lies within a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is the home of the Priory Horizon School for young people with special needs.
Landscape Planning Status:
Lies adjacent to a Site of Special Scientific Interest (Policy E7) Tadley Common and is protected within this designation.
Research: EM Consultants for Basingstoke & Deane: June 2010