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Otterbourne House


Enlarged from a cottage in the early-19th century, Otterbourne House is three-storey in the centre, two-storey at the sides and stucco on brick. The Victorian gardens were re-designed in Arts and Crafts style in the early-20th-century. The house is now flats with only a small amount of garden. Many of the Arts and Crafts features are now skilfully incorporated into the two gardens of the separate bungalows which were built in the 1940s in the old garden.

The two ‘compartments' were sold off in the 1940s and two one-storey dwellings built on them. Otterbourne House is now flats with little remaining garden. However, the owners of the two bungalows have retained the Arts and Crafts features above and incorporated them into their gardens. One has the sunken garden, the deep flowerbeds, the yew wall and box hedges, the boundary wall with a ‘rat run' (that is, two leaves of brickwork with a two inch gap between, albeit closed off at the ends and fully capped) and one of the glasshouses.

The other bungalow has the summerhouse which has a small, Venetian portico and two ‘clair-voyes' (with shutters). The remains of the full-length rose pergola walk which was arranged in three batches of supports lie between the two gardens leading to the iron gate with the initials EC. On the current Ordnance Survey map the course of a Roman road is shown running through the bungalow gardens to the west of the boundary wall to Dell Copse. There is a distinct similarity to the formal gardens of Martyr Worthy Place, which was owned in the early-20th-century by Miss Christian.


At the time of the Napoleonic wars, French prisoners built and realigned the village road through Otterbourne and one of the cottages along it was enlarged and improved to become Otterbourne House.

Otterbourne House was lived in by the Yonge family and Charlotte M Yonge, the Victorian novelist, was born there in 1823. The house is three-storey in the centre with the rest two-storey and stucco on brick with a slate roof.

The 1st edition 25" Ordnance Survey map, 1867, shows a path leading from the house and outbuildings to enclosed gardens. There is an extensive central path leading to Dell Copse behind the grounds as well as perimeter paths. There does not appear to be a gate through to Dell Copse. The central path divides two ‘compartment' areas, one of which is an orchard, the other has trees and some lawn. At the end of one of the ‘compartments' there is a square-shaped area, where the present sunken garden lies.

By the 2nd edition Ordnance Survey map, 1896, the square area is shown as enclosed, and a wall has been built between the two ‘compartments' and Dell Copse (the woodland behind). In the early-20th-century, it is known that this part of the garden was re-designed in Arts and Crafts style. The perimeter paths to the ‘compartments' have disappeared in the 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map, 1909, which shows a central path, a walled square area with a sundial and a clear path leading from the sunken garden to the place where a summerhouse is sited though no summerhouse is shown.

It suggests that by 1909, the Arts and Crafts garden had been started by Edward Christian who bought the house in 1907. He added an iron gate with the initials EC, leading out to the woodland area behind. Much remains of this layout with the central path now a pergola walk, a ‘hidden' and walled sunken garden, a summerhouse, deep flowerbeds bordered by box hedges, glasshouses and the incorporated long boundary wall. Inside the walled, sunken garden there is a half-round stone seat, a raised plinth for a sundial and herringbone stone paths. A further Arts and Crafts element is the high yew wall.


Victorian (1837-1901)

Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Listed Building

  • Grade: II


Arts And Crafts


  • Hedge
  • Latest Date:
  • Walk
  • Description: Pergola walk.
  • Summerhouse
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  • Garden Wall
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • House (featured building)
  • Now Flats
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Orchard
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Lawn
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  • Gate
  • Description: Edward Christian added an iron gate with the initials EC, leading out to the woodland area behind.
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  • Planting
  • Description: There was a `hidden? and walled sunken garden.
  • Clairvoie
Key Information





Principal Building

Domestic / Residential


Victorian (1837-1901)



Open to the public


Civil Parish




  • Hampshire Gardens Trust

  • Janet Hurrell