A garden of formal hedged compartments, laid out in the Arts and Crafts tradition between 1895 and c 1914 by the architect G H Kitchin RIBA, to surround the C17 house which he restored and made his home until his death in 1951.
Compton End dates from the C17 and C18, the house forming, until the late C19, the farmhouse to a farm known as Dummer's Farm (OS 1896). It was acquired in 1894 by George Herbert Kitchin RIBA (c 1871-1951), a son of Dean Kitchen, Dean of Durham from 1894, and an architect working in the Arts and Crafts tradition (diaries; Ottewill 1989). Between 1895 and c 1914, Kitchin restored and extended the house and designed and laid out the surrounding gardens, these being illustrated by H Avery Tipping in Gardens of Today (1933) and their plan used to decorate the book's endpapers. In 1951, Compton End was inherited by Kitchin's nephew, Captain G A de G Kitchin, CBE RN. The gardens were maintained as designed although the extent was reduced slightly in 1955 by the sale of c 0.2ha along the eastern boundary. Compton End was sold in 1993 and remains (1999) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Compton End stands on the south side of the extreme western end of Compton Street, the main street running east to west through Compton village which is situated c 3km south of Winchester, west of the M3. Compton Street forms the northern boundary of the 0.5ha registered garden, the eastern boundary abuts a neighbouring house [map shows the property immed to the E within the reg boundary, but I¿m wondering if this is correct, as there is no mention in the descrip of this property], and the southern and western boundaries are enclosed by hedging from surrounding farmland. The garden land falls gently to the south and there are views to the wooded hanger which rises steeply some 200m south of the garden.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
A gravelled drive enters from Compton Street and follows an L-shaped curve, across the site of a former barn, to the west front of the house, while a short length of flagged footpath, lined with borders, leads from the road to the front door on the north front.
Compton End (listed grade II*) stands roughly centrally and c 8m back from its road frontage. The two-storey, timber-framed building with brick infill panels and a thatched roof dates from the C17, with the two-bay east front being added in the C18. The house had been converted to two cottages before being restored and extended by G H Kitchin from 1895. He added a garden room with a balcony above to the south front and built a new entrance hall, with a room above, on the north front, which replaced the former main entrance at the porch on the east front. On the north side, between the house and the road, a C17 timber-framed barn with a thatched roof (listed grade II) is the only surviving barn from the former farm.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUND
The gardens to the south and east of the house are laid out in a series of formal compartments, the whole being surrounded with clipped hedges, principally of yew and box. The porch on the east front opens onto a paved apron from which a narrow, axial brick walk leads eastwards to the garden boundary of young conifers; behind these are mature cypress on the east boundary. The walk is flanked by herbaceous borders set in lawn and by high yew hedges topped with topiary domes and pierced by arched openings at the halfway points. The walk, together with the open lawn to its north, which was levelled and laid out as an orchard lawn, were the first sections of the garden to be laid out.
On the south side of the walk and enclosed within a square of clipped yew is the Pond Garden, which was laid out c 1914, the material from the excavation of the pond being used to level the natural southward slope of the surrounding area (CL 1919). The central square, stone-edged pond is surrounded by beds set in turf. West of the Pond Garden, the garden room on the south side of the house opens onto a geometric parterre of brick paving and low box hedging, intended for bedding displays. Immediately to the south, stone steps from both the parterre and the Pond Garden lead down into the Rockery Garden, through which runs a narrow east to west dell with a winding path, small stone-lined pools, and an ivy bower. The dell and Rockery are planted with rock plants and shrubs.
On the south side of the Rockery Garden, stone-edged beds with mixed planting border a rectangular croquet lawn which is further enclosed on the east, west, and south sides by tall clipped yew hedging. The centre point of the south side is occupied by a small, square, single-storey summerhouse (listed grade II) with a tall hipped roof and faced with rendered brick colourwashed in a shade of warm pink. This was designed and built by G H Kitchin c 1920 at the same time as the laying out of the croquet lawn on the site of an earlier wild garden (garden plan in CL 1919). Steps either side of the summerhouse lead south down into a cut-flower garden to the east and to an orchard lawn to the west, planted with fruit and other trees, shrubs, and bulbs, which extends up the west side of the site to the gravelled forecourt.
Victoria History of the County of Hampshire III, (1908), pp 122-3
Country Life, 46 (23 August 1919), pp 240-8
Homes and Gardens, (June 1919), pp 2-4
H Avery Tipping, Gardens of Today (1933), p 21
D Ottewill, Edwardian Gardens (1989), pp 199, 216 note 52
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition revised 1896
3rd edition revised 1919
Photograph albums, diaries and other material relating to G H Kitchen's work (private collection)
Description written: March 1999
Amended: July 2001
Register Inspector: VCH
Edited: January 2004