Late C18 gardens and pleasure grounds with some C20 alterations, set within a park of medieval origin which was laid out in the mid C18 as a rococo landscape with ornamental buildings and water and later, in the 1790s, was remodelled informally, possibly by the landscape designer William Emes.
The earliest mention of Dogmersfield is in 1086 when it is recorded as a manor in the Domesday Book. In the early C12 it was granted to the Bishop of Bath and Wells and held by him until the C16, during which period the Bishop was granted a license to impark Dogmersfield for deer and, probably during the C13, built a palace near the site of the present house. Acquired by Henry VIII in 1539, Edward VI granted it to Thomas, Lord Wriothesley in 1547 and his son built a house and a dovecote in the 1570s. During the C17, Dogmersfield passed through a number of hands including those of William Godson, Anthony Bathurst, and Edward Goodyer whose granddaughter, Martha, inherited it with her husband, Ellis St John. They began building a new house in 1728 which, after Ellis' death the same year, was completed by his son, Paulet St John. After 1736, Paulet St John carried out a further enlargement and alteration of the house and laid out surrounding formal gardens (schedules of work survive, see Debois 1993) possibly in association with John James (c 1673-1746), the gardener and translator of d'Argenville's Theory and Practice of Gardening, who lived at nearby Warbrook House (qv). By the late 1750s the park had been considerably enlarged and landscaped, as illustrated in two paintings from this period (in private collections) which show a rococo landscape with ponds, a formal canal, and ornamental buildings. Paulet was created a baronet in 1772; his grandson, Henry Paulet St John, who had added his wife's name, Mildmay, to his own in 1789, inherited in 1790. During his ownership, the Dogmersfield section of the Basingstoke Canal was built (1790-2) and the park and pleasure grounds were altered to a more informal landscape, the work attributed by Britton and Bailey in The Beauties of England and Wales (1805) to the landscape designer William Emes (1730-1803) who was then living at nearby Elvetham Park (qv). Few changes occurred to the boundaries and layout of the park until the mid C19 when it was expanded to the east. Following the death in 1916 of Sir Henry Paulet St John Mildmay, much of the outlying estate land was sold in 1921. His brother died childless in 1929 and in 1933 the contents of the house and the remainder of the estate, divided into lots, was put up for sale. Dogmersfield Park and the surrounding parkland was bought by Claud Ronald Anson but later became the College of the De La Salle Brothers (Pevsner and Lloyd 1967). Following a fire in 1981 which gutted the building, the house and its gardens were purchased, renovated and extended for use as office headquarters by Amdahl. In 1996 the property was sold to Systems Union who run the present conference centre. The park remains (1998) in two separate private ownerships.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Dogmersfield is situated on the north side of the A287, Farnham to Odiham road and immediately to the south-west of Dogmersfield village. The c 320ha registered site, comprising 8ha of formal and ornamental gardens and c 312ha of parkland, farmland, and woodland, lies on gently undulating ground which rises in the southern half of the park to a low ridge running north-westwards from the house. To the south the site abuts the A287, Farnham Road while the southern half of the eastern boundary is formed by a minor lane, Chalky Hill. Agricultural fencing encloses the remaining boundaries from a surrounding landscape of undulating wooded farmland and, in several short stretches on the east and west sides, the Basingstoke Canal, which follows a looping course around the northern two thirds of the site.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The present entrance to Dogmersfield Park is on the east side, from Chalky Hill c 1km north of its junction with the A287. A drive entering adjacent to Floods Farm follows a north-westerly course for c 250m to C20 gates, then continues along the north side of the walled garden to a forecourt and car park on the south-east front of the house. Taylor's county map of 1759 shows a main approach from the south-west corner of the park, entering beside a lodge on the site of the present pair of two-storey, stucco-walled lodges (late C18 or early C19, listed grade II) and following a north-easterly course across the park to the north-east front. This survives in part as a farm track and on a line altered to its present course in the late C18 or early C19. An approach from the north, which in the mid to late C18 passed through a gothic arch standing south of the present Arch Plantation, is also indicated on Taylor¿s map although it is more clearly drawn on Milne's map of 1791. This drive, which again survives only in part as a track through the woodland, crossed Tundry Pond on the present pair of three-arched bridges to approach the north-east front.
Dogmersfield Park (listed grade II) stands towards the south-east side of the site, its parkland views extensive to the north but curtailed to the west by the ridge rising towards Furzebrake Wood. The north-east-facing block comprises a three-storey rectangle, built in red brick with a projecting pedimented central section. This comprises the surviving portion of the considerably larger house begun in 1728 by Ellis St John which was completed, and then later in the C18 enlarged, by his son, Paulet St John, to form an L shape. Victorian additions were made to the south-east and in the mid C20 a chapel, with stations of the cross by Eric Gill, was added by the De La Salle Brothers. Following the fire in 1981, all but the present north-east block, which was restored, was demolished and replaced by new red-brick buildings to the south-west and south-east by the architect Robert Adam. To the immediate south-east stands the square courtyard of the red-brick stable block (C18/early C19, listed grade II) with an arched gateway on the north-east side which has a gabled roof and a bell turret.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
Formal, partially walled gardens and pleasure grounds surround the house roughly in the form of a square which is enclosed from the park by iron pale fencing and which is shown established in outline on the OS surveyor's drawing of 1792. The north-east, entrance front of the house opens onto a paved drive and level lawns, the lawns then extending around to the north-west and south-west fronts where they broaden and merge into informal pleasure grounds. These, also indicated on the OS drawing, are planted with serpentine island shrubberies and, on the intervening lawns, with a scatter of individual trees and tree clumps of mixed ages and species including cedars and holm oaks. Britton and Brayley (1805) state that `the shrubbery and pleasure ground was laid out by [William] Emes' but there is no further supporting documentary evidence for his involvement.
From the pleasure grounds, the boundary tree belt extends north-eastwards and north-westwards to enclose the formal gardens from the park. These, which lie c 50m to the south-east of the house, comprise a rectangle of partially walled ornamental and former kitchen garden enclosures. The north-western third, which was laid out as a flower garden with geometric beds in the late C19 (J Horticulture and Cottage Gardener), is walled on all sides except the south-west which has a high yew hedge. It is entered at the north-west end through wrought-iron gates hung on stuccoed piers flanked by iron screens (walls and gates late C18/ early C19, listed grade II) with, on their north-east side, a red-brick dovecot in the form of a cube with a pyramidal tiled roof and wooden turret (C16, listed grade II). A C20 substation, built to match the dovecot, stands on the south-west side of the gates. An axial path which runs the length of the garden and terminates at the south-east end at further wrought-iron gates, is flanked by lawns and borders of lavender. A cross-axial path bisecting the centre of the garden is focused, at its north-west end, on an early C19 gazebo built into the wall and comprising an ashlar facade of two oval arches resting on a central Tuscan column with a gable above (listed grade II). There is a vista from the gazebo south-westwards through the yew hedge and along the continuation of the cross-axial path (the former Long Walk) into the kitchen garden compartments.
The park extends largely to the west and north of the house, the immediate area north to Tundry Pond and west to Furzebrake Wood comprising the Great Park. Its undulating ground is now (1998) under intensive arable cultivation with only a few isolated trees surviving from the extensive pattern of clumps and individuals shown on OS editions in the late C19 and early C20. West of Furzebrake Wood (replanted 1990s), Piller's Park is also under arable cultivation although the shores of Dogmersfield Lake (shown on Taylor's map of 1759) are partly wooded. The remains of an icehouse (listed grade II) are situated 100m east of Furzebrake Wood. In the south-west corner of the site, Forest Park comprises mixed mature woodland with glades, while Rivers's Park to the south is laid to further farmland with hedges and small woods.
Land imparked at Dogmersfield for deer in the late C12 forms the core of the present park which, up until c 1739, totalled only 41 acres (16.6ha) including ornamental lawns and ponds, the remainder at that time being farmed in hand, let as farmland, or still functioning as common land associated with the villages of Dogmersfield Street and Tundry Green which at that time lay within the park. By the 1750s, as shown on Taylor¿s map of 1759, the park had been expanded to over 400 acres (162ha), part of this including, in 1758, imparked common land (LUC 1993). The map also shows, in conjunction with two paintings of Dogmersfield dating from c 1730 and c 1747 (date of the former suggested by LUC), the development of the rococo landscape which comprised a series of ponds and a formal canal west of the house, and, dotted around the park as eyecatchers, ornamental buildings including a temple (at the south-west corner of the present pleasure grounds), a Palladian Bridge (possibly not built), a Gothic Arch, and a Belvedere, the last surrounded in the earlier painting by a flower garden. By the 1790s (estate accounts, see Debois 1993), the buildings, which were described by the Rev R Pococke in 1754 (Pococke 1754), had been pulled down and the canal west of the house filled in, with the exception of the building known as King John's Hunting Lodge. (The positions for some of the features have been located; see Debois 1993.) The hunting lodge, a cottage orné (C18, listed grade II) with a south-east facade of three elaborate ogee-shaped gables, stands within woodland some 1.15km west-north-west of the house and outside the registered site boundary. Positioned to form an eyecatcher from the site of the former Belvedere (c 600m west-north-west of the house), from 1947 it was the home of the designer John Fowler, who created a surrounding formal garden (illustrated in Country Life in 1964).
Tundry Pond lies to the north of the Great Park, its shores open to north and south but enclosed by woodland at the east and west ends. The neck of the pond is crossed by a pair of bridges. A pond is shown on the site on Taylor's map of 1759 which was enlarged to its present size and shape as part of a remodelling of the park in 1790-2, possibly by William Emes (LUC 1993), in association with the building of the Basingstoke Canal and the removal of the remaining dwellings in the park. North of Tundry Pond, the gently rising ground is laid to grazing with parkland trees (replanted in the 1990s), beyond which are the mixed hardwood and conifer compartments of Arch Plantation. The C18 Gothic Arch stood at the south end of the wood. East of the Basingstoke Canal, Tundry Hill is laid to grazing with late C20 parkland trees surrounding the Dower House, built in the 1930s.
The kitchen garden lies on the south-west side of the walled ornamental garden and adjacent to the east wall of the stable court. Its almost square form is walled along the south-west side but is now (1998) open to the south-east. Shown quartered by walks in the late C19 and described as the 'old kitchen garden' in 1901 (CL), its north-western and north-eastern quarters are at present (1998) being developed with a new building and car park while the remaining quarters are occupied by existing car parks. The axial vista south-westwards from the gazebo along the former Long Walk, shown flanked in 1901 by clipped yew, survives. It extends some 50m beyond the south-west wall through an orchard and further free-standing sections of wall.
R Pococke, Travels Through England..., (1754)
E W Brayley and J Britton, The Beauties of England and Wales (1805)
Country Life, 9 (27 April 1901), pp 528-33; 135 (2 January 1964), pp 20-3
Victoria History of the County of Hampshire IV, (1911), pp 72-4
N Pevsner and D Lloyd, The Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (1967), p 192
The Dower House, Dogmersfield: Historic Landscape Survey and Management Plan, (Land Use Consultants 1993)
Dogmersfield Park: A Survey of the Landscape, (Debois Landscape Survey Group 1993)
Isaac Taylor, A Map of Hampshire..., 1" to 1 mile, 1759
Thomas Milne, Hampshire or the County of Southampton..., 1" to 1 mile, 1791
C and J Greenwood, A Map of the County of Southampton..., 1" to 1 mile, 1826
OS Surveyor¿s drawing, 2" to 1 mile, 1792 (British Library Maps)
OS Old Series, 1" to 1 mile, published 1810
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1871
2nd edition published 1897
3rd edition published 1912
OS 25" to 1 mile: 2nd edition published 1896
3rd edition published 1910
Description written: August 1998
Amended: May 2000
Register Inspector: VCH
Edited: January 2004