|HCC Site ID:||1178||Parish:||Bishopstoke|
|Designations:||SMR No: 52140, Site of local importance for nature(SINC)||Area:||14.5 ha|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Development Company|
Location and Site
The site lies on the land to the west of Church Road, Bishopstoke; the house and main gardens were built on level ground with the western side of the site sloping down to the Itchen Navigation below.
At the time of the Tithe Map (1840), the site of the Mount was open farmland partly owned by the Reverend Garnier, who lived nearby. Several houses were built by a local farmer who realized the value of the coming railway, and by1855 Richard Gilman a business man returned from China bought what was by then called Stoke House. He improved both house and grounds. The Reverend Garnier, later Dean Garnier Bishop of Winchester, was a keen plantsman who planted specimen conifers in the area. Specimen trees and plants were also possibly brought back by Gilman. The 1861 Census showing 7 servants at the house, now called The Mount, reflected a substantial gentleman’s residence. The 1st edition 25” OS map,1867 shows extensive pleasure grounds, kitchen garden and an orchard. The house and grounds of 28 acres, was put up for Sale in 1870 and photographs from this time illustrate the stylish nature of the house with a conservatory and colonnaded terrace, lawns, large trees, a riverside walk with rustic bridge etc. The estate was bought by Captain Hargreaves who from 1870-1890 made considerable alterations; the house became Italianate in style, surmounted by a tower. A description shows considerable development of the grounds with a fishing lodge south of Breach Copse.
After Captain Hargreaves’ death in 1891, the house with now 66 acres was again put up for sale. It was eventually sold to Mr Cotton, an architect and builder as well as a keen ornithologist. The Sales Details, 1892, describe a Swiss chalet fishing box with gas laid on; a dairy concealed by shrubbery; water pumped to the house by a ram; modern stabling; head gardener’s and coachman’s cottages surrounded by a lofty clock tower. Also, a kitchen garden and orchard of nearly 20 acres with named specimen trees, an island with rustic bridges, a rustic summer house, numerous fountains and grotto, resort of numerous kingfishers and many rare specimens of the ornithological and insect worlds
During Mr Cotton’s time, the 2nd ed 25” OS map of 1895 notes an enlarged house and ornamental gardens and a water garden. The 3rd ed OS 25” map of 1910 shows that the focus of the gardens has moved from the formal, pleasure garden of the 19th century to the extensive woodland garden with the elaborate water features and the two copses at either end. The water features now consist of two lengths of canal, one of which was possibly a duck decoy, basins and a boathouse. A series of five fountains are also shown and water for them was provided by a Victorian pump-house, of which maintenance is recorded in the wages book of Mr Cotton’s chauffeur. The garden had a series of footpaths, flights of timber/fling/brick steps and the canals were crossed by means of four footbridges built of steel rails and timber. The orchard has gone and possibly moved nearer to the house as it appears later in the 20th century. The kitchen gardens have also disappeared.
On the death of Mr Cotton the house was sold to Hampshire County Council, who in 1927 turned it into a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. The area of kitchen garden remained open and became an orchard. A Social Services Day Centre was built in the original orchard to the north but much still remained of the gardens.
The 4th ed 25” OS map of 1937 shows that quite a lot of the woodland garden remained. The site later became a geriatric hospital. A site survey by Hampshire Council in 1989 refers to the once fine collection of conifers dating from the mid-19th century and the Victoria County History notes that there was a herd of deer in the grounds. The site later became a geriatric hospital.
A further site survey by Hampshire Gardens Trust in 1997 revealed that while the upper grounds were reasonably maintained, the rest of them particularly the woodland were overgrown and badly maintained. The Mount was put on the market by the Health Trust for development as a retirement village. A site visit in 2007 noted that only the overall layout of the woodland and lawned areas remained. The site was not finally sold until 2013, to the company, Anchor.
Wilmot Dixon developed a retirement village, now called Bishopstoke Park, which was opened in 2015. In 2018, the Anchor development is more or less complete with houses and apartments for sale and The Orchard Care Home for 48, with 24-hr care and assisted living, a Wellness Centre and spa, swimming pool, a deli and bistro all set in grounds described as ‘landscaped gardens. However, there is little reflection of the landscaped gardens of the Mount’s past.
Mid-19th century house, altered in Italianate style sited overlooking the Itchen Navigation. Early pleasure grounds and woodland with specimen trees and later elaborate water features. By mid-20th century became a geriatric hospital and in 2013 was developed as a retirement village with little of the landscaped grounds left.
The site is still significant for the area sloping down to the Navigation, now an SSI, which formerly held terraces and water features.
Hampshire Record Office
Typescript of the Sale 1870, 122M93/2
Album of photographs assembled by R Gilman 1869, 122M93
Sales Particulars and Plan 1892, 15M84/SP2A Lecture by Joan Simmonds to Eastleigh Local History Society 1997
Planning application by English Care Villages Ltd 2012
Books and papers
Escombe, D Bygone Bishopstoke 1925
Page, W Victoria County History 1908
Site Survey, HGT, 1991
Tithe map, 1840, HRO
1st ed Os 25″, 1867 HCC
3rd ed OS 1910 HCC
4th ed OS 1937 HCC
Research: 2001 updated 2018