|HCC Site ID.||1110||Parish:||Burley|
|Designations:||CA, NFNP, SAC||Area:||n/k|
|Access:||No Public Access||Ownership:||Private|
Location and site
Vereley House is roughly a mile and a half north-north-west from the centre of the village of Burley, just east of the road to Picket Post on the A31. The house lies about 65m above sea level and the land slopes gently down to Mill Lawn Brook curving round the north and east beyond Turf Croft Farm and Stag Park Wood respectively. The land rises equally gradually along the approach drive to the road in the west and to the small plateau of Coach Hill in the south. The property is bounded by woodland on its east and belts of trees separate it from the farmland and fields to the south, west and north. The land south towards the village is made up of houses, fields and farmland. Much of the ground in the other directions beyond the trees is forest heath with areas of woodland. The property is slightly more than 5 hectares, roughly rectangular lying east to west. The house and garden are almost surrounded by trees which divide them from the fields, tracks and outbuildings of the extended property. The approach drive is contained within an avenue of lime trees.
Possibly once the furthest reaches of the Manor of Burley’s agricultural land, Vereley was enclosed parcel by parcel with the Enclosures Acts and was part of the Manor estate by the second half of the 19th century. William Wathen-Bartlett, an underwriter at Lloyds who lived in Bayswater, purchased the land in several lots between 1894 and 1897, making an estate of around 90 acres when at its largest.
Wathen-Bartlett built a house on a clear area of land south of the existing farmhouse with views south-east across woodland and heath. He laid out extensive gardens with fish ponds near the house and a large lake in the north of the plot near Mill Lawn Brook. He undertook further landscaping as the 20th century progressed including a formal pool with a fountain and sundial. He died in the mid 1930s and his wife Vanda, a journalist and author, continued to be associated with Burley, possibly living at Vereley until her death in 1949. There is little evidence of who purchased or occupied the house in the following two decades. It was passed between a number of property and investment companies in the 1970s and has been owned by Harland Investments since 2000. Some further landscaping has taken place since then, as well as the addition of tennis courts, stables, a swimming pool and various outbuildings.
The house lies midway east to west and in the north of the plot with an entrance drive lined with lime trees approaching from the west ending in a large tarmac parking area in front of the north west elevation. There are grassed areas and low formal hedging to either side of the parking area. A gravel path curves round the south of the house from the drive to the south-east elevation. With some low planting along its wall, this elevation looks out onto the wider garden. Beyond the gravel path is a small grassed bank and a stretch of lawn as far as the surrounding trees which are mainly deciduous with some conifers scattered among them. In front of the middle of the house there is a flower bed and at the north-east end of the house the gravel path forms three sides of a triangle of planting with formal hedging and flower beds. Here the gravel path turns east.
Near the house and north of this path are several irregular shaped pools among the trees and bushes with grassed and paved paths between them. The trees in this area are chiefly conifers. To the south of the path is a large swimming pool surrounded by paving, steps and a wall. At its north end there are flower beds in a geometric pattern cut into the paved area and at its south, a pool house. A tree house and play equipment lie further south behind the pool house. The gravel path continues east past a greenhouse and flower bed and round the tennis court to stables and an office building in the easternmost part of the property.
A further gravel track curves from the entrance drive round the south of the house beyond the trees which edge the lawn and ends in an open gravel area in front of the stable block and office building. Beyond this track is grass extending to the tree belt marking the boundary of the property.
Summary and Significance
The estate was created in the late 19th century by a London –based owner William Wathen-Bartlett at a time when improved communication links made the New Forest more accessible and attractive for settlement. Although not listed this and other houses in the area are identified as being of local, vernacular or cultural interest.
HGT Research: November 2016 – December 2017
planning applications available on the New Forest National Park Authority’s website
HRO 21M65/F7/195/1: 1848, tithe apportionments book Ringwood
HRO 107M86/19: 1845, Ringwood tithe map
Hardcastle, F., 1987. Records of Burley: Aspects of a New Forest Village. Spalding: Chameleon International. (revised edition)
O.S. county series 71.9 and 71.10 – 25″ and 6″: edition 1, 1871-72; edition 2, 1898; edition 3, 1909; edition 4, 1940
HRO 84A02/1: 1722-1895, bundle of title deeds and related papers for a house/messuage, arable land, pasture and woodland
HRO 38M49/D6/39: 1894, Daniel Smith, Son & Oakley Auctioneers and Land Agents, Burley Manor sale catalogue
DC Thomson Family History, 2014 (trading as findmypast.co.uk). [viewed 11.12.2016] Census, Land and Survey Records [online]. London: DC Thomson. Available from: http://www.findmypast.co.uk/content/search-menu/census-land-and-surveys