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Anderson Manor


Anderson Manor has an early 20th-century formal garden laid out within the framework of a 17th-century garden. The site occupies about 3.2 hectares.


The avenue rises gently to the south-east, while the ground to the north, beyond the registered site boundary, rises more rapidly to Muston Down.

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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Location, Area, Boundaries, Landform and Setting

Anderson Manor is situated in the hamlet of Winterborne Anderson, to the north of the A31 road c 3.5km north-east of Bere Regis. The c 3.2ha site is bounded to the north, east, and south by agricultural land, from which it is separated by a variety of hedges and fences. To the west the site adjoins Anderson Manor Farm, while to the south-west it adjoins the parish church of St Michael. An avenue extends c 600m south-east from the house, crossing a minor road, Marsh Lane, and continuing to the A31 road adjacent to Red Post. The site is crossed from south-west to north-east by the River Winterborne and is generally level. The avenue rises gently to the south-east, while the ground to the north, beyond the registered site boundary, rises more rapidly to Muston Down. There are views from the garden across the surrounding agricultural land.

Entrances and Approaches

Anderson Manor is approached from Marsh Lane to the south-east at the point where the minor road crosses the avenue. The entrance is marked by a simple timber gate, which gives access to a tarmac drive extending c 210m north-west through an avenue comprising horse chestnut, pine, walnut, and sycamore, to reach a pair of tall wrought-iron gates and overthrow supported by tall brick piers surmounted by rusticated ball finials (all listed grade II). The gateway is flanked by a low brick wall which sweeps up to the piers (listed grade II with gateway).

Beyond the gateway, the drive continues c 50m north-west to pass across the River Winterborne on an C18 brick bridge (listed grade II) which has two pointed arches divided by a cutwater, and stone copings and ball finials on piers at each end. Beyond the bridge the drive enters the forecourt below the south-east façade of the house. Approximately square on plan, the forecourt is enclosed to the south-east by a stone balustrade (listed grade II), and to the north-east and south-west by low brick walls broken by octagonal piers surmounted by stone ball finials (listed grade II). To the north-east, a centrally placed flight of stone steps ascends to a terrace below the house (listed grade II); early C20 photographs show the low retaining wall (listed grade II) of this terrace to have been surmounted by a further stone balustrade (CL 1915).

At the centre of the forecourt an octagonal panel of lawn surrounds a central octagonal stone shaft and urn; this feature replaces a circular pool and fountain shown in early C20 photographs (ibid). An opening flanked by octagonal brick piers at the south-west corner of the forecourt leads to a drive which sweeps north-west and north to reach the stable yard to the west of the house. A service entrance leads to this yard from Marsh Lane to the south-west.

The principal entrance assumed its present form in 1909-13 as part of the scheme of restoration and improvement undertaken by Mrs Gratrix. The late C19 and early C20 OS maps (1891, 1902) mark the avenue, but no drive approaching the house from the south-east. The bridge across the River Winterborne is recorded, but the forecourt is shown with a triangular-shaped central area. This arrangement is confirmed by a C19 view of the house (private collection) which shows a sloping area of ground between the house, bridge, and river. The drive, outer gateway and walls, and the forecourt thus all form part of the early C20 scheme, although it is possible that a drive had previously existed within the avenue.

Principal Building

Anderson Manor (listed grade I) stands towards the north-west corner of the site. Constructed in red brick with burnt headers and stone dressings, the house comprises three storeys under gabled tiled roofs and is lit by stone-framed mullion and transom windows. The entrance or south-east façade has projecting outer gabled wings flanking a centrally placed semi-octagonal bay which serves at ground-floor level as the entrance porch. The house has a double-pile plan with parallel roofs, and a kitchen wing projecting at the north-west corner. A two-storey service wing constructed in brick extends west from the north-west corner of the main range, while a two-storey stable block (listed grade II) stands c 20m west of the house. The stables, which were converted to domestic use in the early C20, the service wing, and the west wing of the house thus enclose three sides of a courtyard to the west of the building.

The house was constructed in 1622 by John Tregonwell and bears the date of its completion on rainwater heads on the south-east façade. The kitchen range was added in the later C17, while the stables appear to be contemporary with the construction of the house.

Gardens and Pleasure Grounds

The gardens are situated principally to the east of the house, with a further area adjacent to the forecourt to the south. They are laid out in Arts and Crafts style in several discrete compartments, making use of existing, or partly existing walls as divisions.

A stone-flagged terrace extends below the south-east or entrance façade of the house. A pair of mature Irish yews flanks the steps which ascend from the forecourt, while the flagged walk is flanked by narrow panels of lawn and borders beneath the walls of the house. The lawn returns as a walk round the east side of the forecourt, retained by the brick wall enclosing the forecourt. To the south-west of the house the lawn broadens out, while immediately to the north, the area enclosed by the west wing of the house, the service wing, and stables is retained at a slightly higher level by a low brick wall. The south terrace forms part of the early C20 scheme implemented for Mrs Gratrix (OS 1901; CL 1915), while the partially enclosed lawn to the west of the house assumed its present form after 1915; a plan published in Country Life (1915), shows this as a cobbled yard.

To the east, the south terrace leads to a broad grass walk which extends c 80m north-east to a wrought-iron gate and screen which separates the garden from an area of informal pleasure ground. The grass walk is enclosed to the north by a low brick wall (listed grade II) and a high yew hedge; the line of the wall is marked on the early C20 OS map (1901). To the south of the grass walk is the formal flower garden. Approximately square on plan, the garden is enclosed to the west by a yew hedge which separates it from the walk above the forecourt, and to the east by a raised pleached lime walk. A low brick wall (listed grade II) encloses the garden to the south.

The garden is laid out with four outer square beds enclosed by low box hedges with raised topiary corners. The northern beds contain an inner, box-edged square bed with a central topiary specimen, while the southern beds have stone or brick-paved paths dividing the enclosed area into smaller geometrical beds, and a central box-edged bed planted with a standard wisteria. The centre of the garden contains four further box-edged beds, each containing a larger topiary specimen. An axis extends from north to south through the garden, allowing a vista through an opening in the yew hedge to the north, through the garden to a flight of semicircular brick steps which descends to a terrace extending along the north bank of the River Winterborne. The grass walk on the north side of the flower garden is balanced by a similar walk to the south, parallel to the boundary wall, which is terminated to the east by a single-storey brick summerhouse (listed grade II) surmounted by a pyramidal stone slate roof with a ball finial.

The summerhouse has an arched opening to the west, and mullioned windows in the north and south walls. The structure may be of C17 or early C18 origin, but appears to have been extensively rebuilt in the early C20; it is not indicated on the 1901 OS map. To the north of the summerhouse, and raised above the level of the flower garden by a grass bank, a pleached lime walk is retained to the east by a further brick wall (listed grade II), and is enclosed to the east by a hornbeam hedge. The formal garden, lime walk, and summerhouse form part of the early C20 scheme implemented for Mrs Gratrix, and remain essentially as shown in photographs published in 1915 (CL).

The wall enclosing the south side of the formal garden is articulated by a series of octagonal piers. The piers flanking the centrally placed flight of semicircular steps are surmounted by ball finials. The lower terrace walk is gravelled and extends from the southern corner of the informal pleasure grounds east of the flower garden, along the north bank of the River Winterborne, to emerge at the south-east corner of the forecourt. The terrace walk is retained and enclosed to the south by a low brick wall (listed grade II) which was constructed in the early C20.

To the east of the house, and north of the flower garden, from which it is separated by the low brick wall and yew hedge, is a rectangular enclosure known as the Bowling Green. This area, which is laid to lawn, is enclosed to the north and east by brick walls (listed grade II), while the internal space is articulated by six regularly spaced domes of clipped yew. Three linked openings at the centre of the north wall provide access to a recessed summerhouse which terminates the north end of the vista south through the flower garden. The summerhouse is square and projects north into the kitchen garden. It has a flagged stone floor, mullioned windows, and a pyramidal stone-tiled roof which is only visible from the kitchen garden. The Bowling Green corresponds to an enclosure marked on the 1901 OS map, and the north and east walls may have originated in the late C17 or early C18. The internal arrangement of the enclosure, and the summerhouse in the north wall, form part of the early C20 garden scheme.

To the east of the flower garden, and approached through the wrought-iron gate and screen at the east end of the northern grass walk, an area of informal pleasure ground retains specimen shrubs and fruit trees, underplanted with bulbs. This area is shown as an orchard on the 1901 OS map. A further area of informal pleasure ground is situated to the south-west of the house and north-west of the forecourt. This area of lawns planted with specimen trees and shrubs dropping down to the River Winterborne was known in the early C20 as the Japanese Garden (Sale particulars, 1913).

Kitchen Garden

The kitchen garden is situated to the north of the house and Bowling Green and is enclosed to the west, north, east, and south-east by brick walls (listed grade II). The garden is entered through gates at the south-west corner leading from a frame yard to the north of the service wing, and doors in the north-east and south-east corners, in addition to a gateway adjacent to the north-east corner of the house and a mature ilex or Lucombe oak. This gateway leads to a slightly sunken area immediately north of the house, above which the main area of the kitchen garden is retained by a rubble-stone wall.

A flagged ramp aligned with the gateway ascends to the upper level, where the line of an axial north/south walk is marked by remnants of box hedging. The central point of the garden is marked by a stone-flagged area and four clipped pyramids of bay. The garden remains in partial cultivation with a C20 orchard and four vegetable beds to the east, and an area of lawn with some mature standard fruit trees to the west of the central walk. The kitchen garden walls appear to date from the late C17, and are likely to be contemporary with the house. The internal layout of the kitchen garden forms part of the early C20 garden scheme, at which time the sunken area to the north of the house formed a sunken rose garden (photograph, 1912; CL 1915).


  • OS 6" to 1 mile:
  • 1st edition surveyed 1887, published 1891
  • 2nd edition revised 1900, published 1902
  • OS 25" to 1 mile:
  • 2nd edition revised 1900, published 1901


  • Watercolour view of the south façade of Anderson Manor, late C18 or early C19 (private collection)
  • Two engraved views of Anderson Manor (published in Heath and Prideaux 1907)

Archival items

  • Sale particulars, 1902 (private collection)
  • Sale particulars, 1913 (private collection)
  • C J Cornish-Browne, photographs of the south façade of Anderson Manor, 1909 & August 1912 (private collection)
  • Personal communication from Mr Isaacs

Description written: May 2004

Register Inspector: JML

Edited: April 2005, May 2022

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts


07947 888990

Access contact details

Anderson Manor is only open to visitors by pre-arrangement.

Pre-arranged groups who wish visit and enjoy the gardens at Anderson Manor are welcome. More detailed visitor information and contact details can be found on the Anderson Manor website.


Anderson lies south of Blandford Forum on the A31.


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 National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

17th Century

The manor of Winterborne Anderson, also known as Winterborne Fife-Ash, was acquired by John Tregonwell of Milton Abbey from Sir George Morton in 1620. Two years later, Tregonwell built the present manor house at Anderson, retiring there in 1624 when his elder son married and assumed control of the Milton estate.

20th Century

Anderson Manor descended in the Tregonwell family until 1910, although during the 19th century the house was used as a farmhouse rather than a family residence. Early 20th century photographs (private collection) show the house neglected and shrouded in ivy, with little or no ornamental garden. Sale particulars issued in 1902 refer to the walled kitchen garden, orchard, a `pretty old English Flower Garden', lawns, and summer flower beds.

The property was purchased in 1909 by Mrs Gordon Gratrix, who appears to have come from Manchester. She undertook an extensive scheme of repair and restoration to both the house and garden between 1909 and July 1913, when the property was again sold, apparently by trustees acting on behalf of her son, John Markendale, who was described as being of 'unsound mind' (Sale particulars, 1913). The architect responsible for the major scheme implemented by Mrs Gratrix in just four years has not been identified, but photographs included in the sale particulars show that the garden had been established in essentially its present form as part of this work.

Anderson was purchased in 1913 by J C Tabor, and was described in Country Life two years later, at which time Mr Tabor was engaged on active service (Country Life 1915). The property changed hands again quite soon, as by 1922 it was owned by H Rivers Pollock.

During the Second World War Anderson was requisitioned and used as a training centre for Special Operations. The 55 members of the SSRF (Small Scale Raiding Force) lived and trained at Anderson.

The estate was divided and sold to a consortium in 1952, and in 1954 the manor house was acquired by Mr Bullivant of Parnham, Dorset. The house was sold in about 1970, and remains in private ownership.

A brass plaque commemorating 62 Commando was blessed during a special service in 1988 attended by the last remaining squadron members.


  • 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
  • Early 20th Century (1901 to 1932)
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1699
  • Grade: II




  • Manor House (featured building)
  • Description: John Tregonwell built the house in 1622 and retired there in 1624. It stayed in the family until 1910, at which time it was in a poor condition.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Key Information






20th Century (1901 to 1932)





Open to the public


Civil Parish