Winterbourne House (also known as Silverhill School)3539

Bristol, England, South Gloucestershire

Brief Description

Winterbourne House has 18th-century parkland on an earlier site. Features include a prospect mound and gazebo, and a ha-ha. The estate is now the grounds of a school, currently (2010) Silverhill Preparatory School. This record was checked with South Gloucestershire Historic Monument Records Officer - June 2010.

History

The house was probably built in the 16th century, but re-modelled in the 18th century. The earliest documentary evidence dates from 1717.

Terrain

Flat

Detailed Description

The grounds of Winterbourne House occupy four hectares on a roughly rectangular and flat site. The site is entered from the north. The house is located close to the stone wall on the north of the site, which carries on to enclose the whole garden. The old drive, which entered the site from a gate in the south wall of the garden, is now blocked up. The drive has been extended to run along the south wall, and provides an entrance from the east. The drive is flanked with mixed tree plantings, including sweet chestnut, ash, sycamore and others.

There is a small lawn to the south of the house, which is bordered by a ha-ha. Beyond this is a small park, now used as a playing field. A large shrubbery runs along the south wall of the garden, but this is now rather neglected. A prospect mound has been built against the south wall to provide views over the surrounding countryside. There is a small duck pond fed by a natural spring to the east of the house and a kitchen garden to the west.

The garden of Winterbourne House has been greatly altered in recent years. The use of the house and grounds as the site for a school has resulted in the construction of many new buildings, and the small park has been turned into a playing field. The kitchen garden has been grassed over and a house for the headmaster constructed there. Several elm trees lining the old drive have been lost due to Dutch Elm disease.

The remaining areas of the garden are maintained by two gardeners, and are kept in good order. There have been considerable new plantings of young trees and shrubs, particularly along the old drive, in recent years.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: This is a small country house, originally of 16th-century date but re-modelled and roughcast in the 18th century.
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  • Prospect Mound
  • Description: It is difficult to date the prospect mound, which lies against the south wall of the garden. At present there are two trees growing on the mound, one oak and one ash. Two large elms which also grew there died during the outbreak of Dutch Elm disease.
  • Gazebo
  • Description: There is a small square 18th-century gazebo, now roughcast. Two urns out of the original four survive on the roof of the building. There are plans to carry out refurbishing work on the building, which is currently disused.
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  • Ha-ha
  • Description: Only some 25 metres of the ha-ha still survives, dividing the lawn to the south of the house from the park. A section of the ha-ha which previously led around the coach house was destroyed after World War 2 when the coach house was converted for use as a schoolroom.
  • Pond
  • Description: The small rectangular pond probably dates from the original construction of the house. It is fed by a natural spring, and has recently been re-walled.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Winterbourne
History

Detailed History

Winterbourne House was probably built in the 16th century, but re-modelled in the 18th century. It was at this time that the garden was laid out. The earliest documentary reference to the house is from 1717, when the house was acquired by David Long. The property passed through many different ownerships before being used by the R.A.F. in World War 2. Since then it has been used as a school.

Period

  • 18th Century
Contact
References

References

Contributors

  • E.T. Thacker

    1

  • Avon Gardens Trust