|HCC Site ID:||1178||Parish:||Bishopstoke|
|Designations:||SAM, SMR, SINC||Area:||11.33 ha. then 26.7 ha.|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Multiple ownership|
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 dramatically down to the Itchen Navigation below. A retirement village has been created on the level part of the old house and gardens, whilst the land down to the Navigation is a SINC and not accessible within the development.
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 realised the value of the coming railway and by 1855 Richard Gilman, a business man returned from China bought what was 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 a 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. 25” OS 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 feature now consists 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 footbridges, flights of timber/flint/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 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 the 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 County 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. 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 Village, which was opened in 2015. In 2018, the Anchor development was more or less complete with houses and apartments for sale, 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.
Summary and Significance
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 from 2013 was developed as a retirement village with little of the landscaped grounds left. The site is significant for the area sloping down to the Navigation, now an SSI, which formerly held terraces and water features.
HGT Research: 2001, updated November 2018
Hampshire Record Office: 21/M65/F7/2/1; 199M84/2; 122M93; 122/M93/2; H/CL1/1/13
White’s Directory 1958
Victoria County History, vol 3, 1911
JJacobs Wessex Series, 1923
Notes from Hampshire County Council siet visit, 1989
Notes from Hampshire GArdesn Trust siet voisit, 1991
Lecture to Eastleigh History Society by Joan Simmonds, 1997
Eastleigh Borough Spring News, 2013
OS maps eds 1st-4th 25” 1867-1937, Hampshire County Council