Breamore 524

Fordingbridge, England, Hampshire, New Forest

Brief Description

Breamore has a park of 125 hectares. The plantings date mainly from the 1820s, forming the setting for a country house. A turf maze known as the Miz-maze occupies a knoll some 1.5 kilometres north-west of the mansion, together with several tumuli and barrows. The knoll is planted with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous mature trees including many yews and seems to have been a feature encountered as part of the designed rides and drives around the estate.


A deer park was established in 1239 covering at least part of what is now Breamore Wood. In 1580 William Dodington bought an estate at Breamore and built a new house of considerable size and importance.

Visitor Facilities

The site is open between April and September, though not on a daily basis. Please see:


The site lies below Breamore Down, on the west side of the River Avon valley.

Detailed Description

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):

A landscape park present by 1800, created from an earlier deer park. The park surrounds a 16th-century and later country house with formal and informal pleasure grounds and gardens.



Breamore House stands 1km north-west of the village of Breamore, c 15km south of Salisbury. The c 125ha site is bounded largely by agricultural land, with the hamlet of North Street adjoining along part of the south boundary. The site lies below Breamore Down, on the west side of the River Avon valley. The setting is rural, with panoramic views from the mansion and park north-east and south-east along the Avon valley, and east across the valley to the hillside opposite. A turf maze known as the Miz-maze occupies a knoll some 1.5km north-west of the mansion, together with several tumuli and barrows (all scheduled monuments, outside the registered area). It is reached directly from the mansion and gardens via the main ride running north-west through Breamore Wood, which then joins the South Charford Drove Road which in turn runs along the east side of the knoll. The knoll is planted with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous mature trees including many yews and seems to have been a feature encountered as part of the designed rides and drives around the estate. The maze was re-cut in 1783 on the instructions of Sir Edward Hulse (third baronet) (Light and Ponting 1988).


The main approach is from Salisbury Road to the east of the site, 1km east-south-east of the mansion, initially via an oak avenue which flanks North Street and runs west through agricultural land to Dog Kennel Farm just outside the eastern boundary of the park. From here the road runs around the south boundary to a point 400m south of the mansion where the south drive enters the registered area. The drive leads north, flanked by the park to the east, from which it is divided by a hedge, and the kitchen garden to the west, from which it is screened by a belt of mature trees. Just north of the kitchen garden the drive arrives at the main park entrance where brick gate piers are topped by a pair of stone lions. The piers are in turn flanked by a brick wall leading north-east to the churchyard and south-west past the walled garden towards cottages. Spurs lead north-east off the south drive to the church and churchyard, and south-west to the kitchen garden and the home farm and its adjacent cottages.

The south drive enters the park at the gateway, continuing northwards to arrive at a rectangular gravelled forecourt on the north-west side of the mansion. The forecourt is bounded on the north-east and south-east by the mansion and on the other two sides by a tall, L-shaped brick wall. The wall is broken by the entrance gateway on the south-west side, giving access from the drive, and by a larger gap in the north-west side which gives access to the stable block and service yards beyond. The mansion is entered via the front door at the centre of the north-west front. A spur leads off the drive adjacent to the forecourt entrance, continuing around the outer, west side of the forecourt to give direct access to the stable block standing immediately north of the forecourt, and the service yards beyond this.

A second, east drive formerly approached the mansion from the east and north-east, as shown on the 1838 Tithe map and 1872 OS map. The Tithe map also shows that at that time the south drive led to an informal carriage sweep on the south-east front, to which the east drive also led. By the 1870s the entrance to the House and the southern approach had been changed to the current (2004) arrangement on the north-west front. In the 1870s the east drive entered at a lodge which still stands adjacent to Salisbury Road (outside the area here registered) some 1.5km north-east of the mansion. The east drive extended south-west through agricultural land to enter the park at the east corner, 600m east-north-east of the mansion. From here the drive, instead of leading directly to the south-east front as it had done in the 1830s, led south-west to the east side of the churchyard in the park.


Breamore House (1580s and mid C19, listed grade II*) stands towards the centre of the site, on land slightly elevated above the River Avon valley. The three-storey mansion is brick-built with stone dressings, its entrance front to the north-west and the C19 garden front to the south-east. It is L-shaped in plan form with the gabled north-east front overlooking the gardens and probably having been the original garden front. The mansion enjoys extensive views south-east across the park over the Avon valley. The House as originally built seems to have been entered on the south-east front; this was the case in the mid C19 (Tithe map, 1838), but was altered to the present arrangement in conjunction with the works following a mid C19 fire.

The C18 stable block (listed grade II), which stands 30m north of the mansion, is built of brick with stone dressings and overlooks the forecourt walls. A tall, ornamental mid C19 water tower (listed grade II) stands 10m to the west. Octagonal in shape and built of brick with stone dressings in similar style to the mansion, it is topped by a wooden clock and bell turret with an onion cap. Its upper storeys overlook the forecourt and gardens to the east.

The parish church of St Mary (late C10 with minor changes of all medieval periods, listed grade I) is situated 100m south of the mansion. This notable Saxon building is built principally of flint with stone dressings and stands in a churchyard within the park, largely enclosed by mature trees, with several cottages in their own gardens adjacent to the south. Its tower and north wall are partly visible in views across the park from the mansion.


The gardens enclose the House to the south-east, north-east, and north and are divided into two main sections: the formal terrace on the south-east front and the gardens to the east, leading up the hillside to the north-west towards Breamore Wood.

The gardens are laid largely to lawn and divided into several sections. The garden door at the centre of the south-east front of the mansion opens onto a short double flight of steps with a C19 stone balustrade with balustrading in a diamond pattern. A vertical stone sundial dated 1670 is set on the wall above the doorway. The steps lead down to a gravel path which runs along the length of the south-east terrace on which the mansion stands. The terrace is enclosed on the three outer sides by further C19 stone balustrading, in similar diamond pattern to that on the steps, which is supported by a retaining wall in decorative flint and stone chequerwork. A central path leads south-east from the steps across the terrace to a gap in the balustrade, below which a grass bank (probably the site of earlier steps) leads down to a lawn running the length of the terrace, divided from the park beyond by an iron fence. The lower lawn is rather uneven and may retain evidence of earlier garden or forecourt structures below ground level. Panoramic views extend south-east from these lawns over the park towards the opposite side of the Avon valley.

At the south-west end the terrace path returns north-west around the corner of the mansion, leading through lawns to the entrance to the forecourt. In the opposite direction, the terrace path leads north-east at the east corner of the mansion to an avenue of lime trees which extends as far as the north-east boundary of the garden on the terrace above the lower terrace lawn. The limes are late C20 in date and replace an earlier avenue (CL 1957). A late C20 tennis court occupies the northern end of the lower terrace lawn, between the limes and the park boundary.

An axial cross-path leads north-west from the lime avenue across lawns planted with a range of mature ornamental specimen trees to a hedged and walled enclosed garden, the Pool Garden. The path leads through the centre of the Pool Garden to encircle a sunken stone-edged pool which is set in a circle of lawn. The garden is laid largely to lawn with mature specimen trees and clipped yew hedges, and is bounded on the south-west and north-east sides by brick walls (C19, listed grade II) and to the south-east by a clipped yew hedge. The outer side of the hedge is bounded by an elegant iron bow-topped fence (C19, listed grade II with the walls). The Pool Garden is enclosed to the north-west and north-east by mature trees which lead into Breamore Wood, and is overlooked by the upper storeys of the clock tower. A white-painted wooden glasshouse stands just beyond the north-west boundary of the Pool Garden. Views rise above the south-east hedge and extend along the axial path through the central gateway towards the distant hillside beyond the River Avon.

A cross-path runs parallel with, and adjacent to, the south-east, hedged boundary of the Pool Garden. It leads from the boundary with the park south-west to a brick-walled compartment lying adjacent to the northern tip of the mansion. This area is entered from the path via a gateway flanked by brick piers topped with stone ball finials. This entrance mirrors a further gateway giving access from the forecourt to the south-west dividing the mansion from the stable block. The southern half of this enclosure is garden laid to lawn, on which stands an octagonal timber-framed summerhouse (early C19, listed grade II). It is built in Picturesque style with ogee arches and a thatched roof and stands raised above ground level on stone blocks. Inside, the plastered ceiling is painted with floral designs. The northern section of this enclosure is a gravelled coach and service yard, bounded on the north-west side by a C19 brick range, attached at its south-west end to the stable block, at the centre of which stands a two-storey house in Tudor style. The rear of this range is given over to cottages. These overlook a further service yard entered at its south corner next to the clock tower, via a brick gateway with piers and stone ball finials flanked by brick walls which divides the clock tower from the main stable block. This gateway is in similar style to those nearby giving access to the garden and service yard.

The garden described by Fiennes seems to have lain east of the mansion and may have remained until the end of the C18. A terrace off the south-east front is shown on a drawing of c 1792, but the present terrace is believed to be a mid C19 creation in a similar position. Prosser (1833) referred to what must have been the Pool Garden as 'a curious flower-garden arranged with old Yew hedges in compartments with hot-houses, green house, etc'. The Gardeners' Chronicle presumably referred to the same area in 1890: `A Yew hedge encloses a quaint but pretty flower garden, and is furnished at regular intervals with niches, in which curious stone figures form, as it were, a guard of honour to those entering the enclosure from the lime-tree avenue ... The vineries and plant-houses are at the higher end of the flower garden.' The garden, having lost most of the plant houses and vineries, was reworked and replanted in the 1980s (Inspector's Report 1988) but appears to retain much of its earlier structure.


The park is laid largely to woodland and pasture with scattered mature trees and clumps. The open parkland encloses the gardens on all but the north-west side, which is bounded by Breamore Wood. The park is dominated by the mature planting in and around the churchyard which partly screens the church itself, and by Breamore Wood rising to the north-west. A notable belt of ornamental trees extends from the churchyard south and west alongside the brick wall dividing the park from the kitchen garden and adjacent cottages, screening the mansion from these structures. The open parkland has lost many trees, particularly north and east of the gardens, and in the paddock east of the walled garden (OS 1872). The Gardeners¿ Chronicle article (1890) refers to a collection of exotic trees near the church and north-west of the House, on the fringes of Breamore Wood, and many of these survive, particularly conifers. Panoramic views extend from the open parkland across the Avon valley.

Breamore Wood extends north-west from the park and gardens. It occupies the south-facing slopes of Breamore Down and is planted with a mixture of broadleaved and coniferous species. The wood is bisected by a ride which is cut into the hillside and gently rises from the mansion north-west to its north-west boundary. A collection of various mature ornamental trees lines the ride, with cross-rides and paths leading off this spinal route which links the mansion and gardens with the Miz-maze 1.5km to the north-west. A crossing with several other rides some 650m north-west of the mansion is marked by the Twin-Oak, a twin-stemmed oak (or possibly two oak trees planted in the same hole). Some 300m north of the mansion stands the Old Gateway (C18, listed grade II), an arched brick and flint-work gateway with stone dressings, set into a wall with flint and brick piers on either side. It is now in poor condition but its presence in such an otherwise isolated position suggests that it formed part of a detailed contemporary layout. The OS surveyor's drawing of c 1807-08 shows the wood and the 1838 Tithe map depicts it at its present extent, with a circuit walk around much of its perimeter, possibly the remains of an earlier more complex scheme.


The rectangular kitchen garden lies 300m south-south-west of the mansion. It is enclosed by brick walls and is entered via a double gateway in the west wall. It contains several large, shed-like museum buildings, built as a museum of rural life c 1972, with the southern end left open and laid to lawn. The gardener¿s cottage (C17, listed grade II) stands detached to the north across a small yard, with a single-storey brick range which formerly housed a fruit house and potting sheds bounding the west side of the yard.

The kitchen garden was probably built in the C18 to supersede a productive garden in the area now known as the Pool Garden. The present kitchen garden is shown on the OS surveyor¿s drawing (1807-08) and by the 1830s (Tithe map, 1838) was laid out with a cruciform pattern of paths. The garden was further enclosed to the west, south, and east, possibly by an outer wall with a path between the two walls presumably running through a slips area. This outer wall has disappeared since 1901 (OS).

REFERENCES Used by English Heritage

E F Prosser, Select Illustrations of Hampshire (1833)

Gardeners' Chronicle, ii (1890), pp 466-7

C Morris (editor), The Journeys of Celia Fiennes (1947), pp 57-8

A Short History of Breamore and the Hulse Family (no date, around 1950)

Country Life, 121 (13 June 1957), pp 1198-1201; (20 June 1957), pp 1268-71; (27 June 1957), pp 1320-3

Breamore House: Inspector's Report, (English Heritage 1988)

A Light and G Ponting, A Walk to Breamore Miz-maze (1988)


Tithe map for Breamore parish, 1838 (Hampshire Record Office)

Breamore estate map, 1840 (private collection)

OS Surveyor's drawing, 1807-08 (British Library Maps)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1871, published 1872; 2nd edition revised 1895, published 1901


Print of Breamore, around 1792 (in A Short History of Breamore.., no date) [copy on EH file]

Description written: November 2004

Amended: December 2004

Edited: January 2005

  • Manor House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Turf Maze
  • Description: The maze was re-cut in 1783 on the instructions of Sir Edward Hulse (third baronet).
  • Latest Date:
Access & Directions

Access Contact Details

The site is open between April and September, though not on a daily basis. Please see:


The gardens are west of the A338 off junction 1 of the M27.

Civil Parish

  • Breamore

Detailed History

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):


The manor of Brumore was mentioned in the Domesday Survey in an outlying part of the New Forest (Country Life 1957) and a deer park was established in 1239 covering at least part of what is now Breamore Wood (Inspector's Report 1988). In 1580 William Dodington (around 1530-1600), the son of an auditor living in the city of London, bought an estate at Breamore and built a new house of considerable size and importance. Dodington had married Christian, widow of John Tamworth, who had been keeper of the Queen's privy purse, and a sister of Sir Francis Walsingham, the Secretary of State. Probably as a result of these connections, Dodington found lucrative employment in government business.

Celia Fiennes, writing around 1685-96, described the house and garden: 'the house stands finely to the River, a brick building, you enter into a walled Court low up 12 stepps at least into a noble hall ... you enter the Garden on a terrass and that by stepps so to severall Walks of Gravel and Grass and to the Gardens one below another with low walls to give the view all at once; here was fine flowers and greens dwarfe trees and oring [orange] and lemon trees in rows with fruite and flowers at once ... here are stately woods and walks.' (Morris 1947)

The estate passed through marriage to Robert Grenville, whose descendant, the first Earl of Warwick sold it in 1748 to Sir Edward Hulse, first baronet and Physician to the Court of Queen Anne, George I, and George II. He was not permitted to live there as the King wanted his German-speaking doctor in London so he therefore installed his son, the second baronet, also Sir Edward, in Breamore.

The Hulses of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries lived quietly, but they made a succession of well-endowed marriages in the late 17th and 18th centuries, during which time they gradually developed the park and gardens. The site remains (2004) in private ownership.