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Rotherfield, with East Tisted village on the Fareham road just south of Alton, forms one of the most complete and delightful instances of Picturesque theory put into practice. Mansion, park, village, and distant landscape were all transformed over a period of half a century by a family obviously imbued with the Picturesque and with building in their blood.

So wrote Christopher Hussey in an article for Country Life in 1948. The family was that of James Scott who bought Rotherfield in 1808 - the only time the house has been sold in its long history. James Scott's father William was a building contractor in Fulham. Like the Hollands in Hammersmith and later the Cubitts, Scotts of Fulham prospered from the westward expansion of London in the 18th century, building Bedford Square and the Bedford estate and probably Montagu and Bryanston Squares for the Portman estate in 1811.

The architect for the squares, Joseph Parkinson, was commissioned to rebuild the house at Rotherfield incorporating the new theories of romanticism as dictated by Sir Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight. In architecture, harmony with the landscape was the primary object and both commended the effect of successive periods of alteration and building. They both also advocated the picturesque possibilities of improving any nearby village, church or bridge.

Sir Uvedale Price and Richard Payne Knight were near neighbours in Herefordshire and both published works in 1794 that were widely read. Price published Essays on the Picturesque as compared with the Sublime and the Beautiful and Knight, with a dedication to Price, published The Landscape, a Didactic Poem. The term ‘pictoresque' had been used in France in the early-18th-century to refer to a landscape as being composed in the style of a painting. Pope, in his 1712 letter to Caryll, brought the word into English as ‘picturesque'. Price's views on estate layout were summarised by the architect Blomfield. Price advocated a threefold division - the garden immediately round the house to be formal, the garden beyond to be in the landscape style, and the park to be left to itself.

The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list

 

HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The manor of Rotherfield dates back to the 12th century, when it was owned by Adam de Rotherfield. It passed through a number of ownerships from the 13th to the 15th century until in 1495, an heiress of William Rytherfield, Elizabeth, married Richard Norton of East Tisted, so uniting the manors of Rotherfield and East Tisted. The manors remained in the Norton family throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, Rotherfield's park pale and 'great wood on the western side', being described in 1564 (Country Life 1948) and the Tudor house and Plash Wood being shown on an estate survey of 1635. John Norton died childless in 1686 and the manors passed to his eldest brother's daughter who married Francis Paulet of Amport (see the description of this site elsewhere in the Register). He probably altered the house to a Georgian appearance before his death in 1729, after which he was succeeded by his son, Norton, and then by his grandson, Thomas Norton, during whose ownership some landscaping was carried out, including the planting of the beech allées in Plash Wood. Thomas Norton Paulet sold East Tisted manor to his uncle, George Paulet, later to become twelfth Marquess of Winchester, while Rotherfield was occupied by tenants throughout the late 18th century; on George Paulet's death in 1800, it too was in his possession. In 1808, Thomas Norton, who had succeeded to the title of thirteenth Marquess, sold Rotherfield to James Scott, the son of William Scott of the contracting firm of Scotts of Fulham, the builders of London's Bedford Square (see the description of this site elsewhere in the Register) and possibly also, in 1811, of Montague and Bryanston Squares (CL 1948). James Scott rebuilt the house in 1815 and enlarged and laid out the park, incorporating the village of East Tisted into the designed landscape. His grandson, Arthur, married Lady Mary Wellesley, granddaughter of the first Duke of Wellington of Stratfield Saye (see the description of this site elsewhere in the Register), and succeeded to the estate in 1873. Rotherfield descended within the Scott family, Jervoise Scott being created a baronet in 1962, and it remains (1998) in private hands.
 

People associated with this site

Architect: Joseph Parkinson (born 1783 died 1855)

Owner: James Scott

Features

icehouse

Remains of an ice house.

orchard

kitchen garden

tree avenue

Feature created: Before 1808

The lime avenue may have been planted around 1720, at the time of the construction of the previous house. The avenue was certainly mature by 1808.

maze

Nut maze.

glasshouse

ha-ha

garden wall

Within the walled garden the vegetables are planted according to the phases of the moon.

alley

Feature created: Before 1619

There are pleached alleys of beech, perhaps dating from as early as the 16th century.

vinery