The mid-19th-century house was altered in the late-19th century to the Italianate style. It is sited overlooking the River Itchen. There are early pleasure grounds and woodland with specimen trees, and later elaborate water features. Some planting remains, with much of the late-19th century layout intact. Features include terraces and lawns, ornamental woodland, river walks, the walled garden and orchard.
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The site of The Mount was on open farmland partly owned by the Reverend Garnier at the time of the Tithe Map (1840). A local farmer realized the value of the coming railway and built several houses (Simmonds,1991). By 1855 Richard Gilman a business man returned from China bought what was then called Stoke House and improved both house and grounds (Sale Particulars,1870). It is possible that specimen trees and plants were brought back by Gilman and it is also likely that Dean Garnier who lived in Bishopstoke had planted some of the specimen conifers when he owned some of the fields. The 1861 Census showing that there were 7 servants at the Mount indicates that a substantial gentleman's residence had been created. The 1st edition 25" OS map,1867 shows extensive pleasure grounds, kitchen garden and an orchard and photographs from an album assembled by Mr Gilman (Photographs, 1869) shortly before the Sale of the house in 1870 (Sales Particulars, 1870) illustrate the stylish nature of the house with a conservatory and colonnaded terrace, lawns, large trees, a riverside walk with rustic bridge etc. Exquisite lawns, graceful slopes and terraces are described and flowers, shrubs and a fernery are mentioned as well as fruit and kitchen gardens, hot houses for peaches and grapes poultry and pigeon house, piggery and cow-houses. ‘Ornamental woodland, planted generations ago on the hanging bank of the river' .... The total acreage was 28 and the estate was bought by Captain Hargreaves.
From 1870-1890 Captain Hargreaves made considerable alterations and the house became Italianate in style, surmounted by a tower. A Plan of the house and grounds dated together with the description shows that the grounds had been designed further and a fishing lodge is now shown south of Breach Copse. The kitchen gardens and orchard are still in the same position as shown on the 1st edition OS map.
The house with now 66 acres was put up for sale after Captain Hargreaves' death in 1891. It was eventually sold to Mr Cotton, an architect and builder as well as a keen ornithologist and teetotaller. The Sales Details, 1892, (Sales Particulars, 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 surrounde by a lofty clock tower. There is a kitchen garden and orchard of nearly 20 acres. Trees named are: Wellingtonia gigante,Cupressus macrocarpa, Thujopusis borealis; araucaria imbricate; Cdrus deodara; Picea pinsapa; Pinus insignis; Golden Yews. Also described is an island with rustic bridges, a rustic summer house, numerous fountains and grotto, resort of numerous kingfishers and many rare specimens of the ornithological and insect worlds - all of which indicate that the grounds were very well developed before the arrival of Mr Cotton.
F D Escombe (Escombe,1925) .notes that Mr Cotton, a keen ornithologist, had several aviaries built. The 2nd ed 25" OS map of 1895 shows an enlarged house and gardens made more ornamental with a water garden . The 3rd ed OS 25" 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 features now consist of two lengths of canal, one of which was possibly a duck decoy, basins and a boathouse. The newer length of canal also has an island feature. 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 footpaths, two flights of timber/fling/brick steps, one of which led down to a fountain. The canals were crossed by means of four footbridges built of steel rails and timber. The orchard has gone and possibly moved nearer to 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 in 1927 to Hampshire County Council who turned it into a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients. The area of kitchen garden remained open and became an orchard. The original orchard to the north was built on as a Social Services Day Centre but much still remained of the gardens.
The 4th edition 25" OS map of 1937 shows that the woodland garden is fairly complete, the aviaries have gone but the glasshouses in the old kitchen garden area are still there. The boathouse and 3 fountains in the upper woodland area are shown.
A Site Survey by Hampshire County Council in 1989 refers to the remnants of the once fine collection of conifers in the grounds probably in the early to mid-1800s by Dean Garnier of Winchester. Conifers are also referred to in the Wessex Series(Jacobs, 1923) as well as in the Victoria County History (VCH,1908). The VCH also adds that a large herd of deer was once kept in the fine park evidenced by rubbing stones and the now small herd.
The site later became a geriatric hospital. A site survey by Hampshire Gardens Trust in 1991 revealed that while the upper grounds were reasonably maintained the rest of them particularly the woodland were overgrown and badly maintained. Various specimen trees remain in 2007 together with the overall layout of the woodland and lawned areas. There has however only been superficial maintenance since the Report of 1991.
The Mount was finally put on the market by the Health Trust in 2006 and sold for redevelopment as a retirement village.
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- Features & Designations
- Boat House
- Fishing Pavilion
- House (featured building)
- Description: Originally mid-19th century Georgian-style, altered in Italianate style. Use as a geriatric hospital in the 20th century.
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- Gate Lodge
- Specimen Tree
- Riverside Walk
- Key Information
Hampshire Gardens Trust