A series of early C17 formal walled gardens surrounding a contemporary Jacobean house standing within a park of medieval origin which was formally landscaped in the C17 and mid C18, and later, in the late C19 and C20, given informal features and enlarged to encompass woodland with axial rides.
The Bramshill manors were owned by the early C14 by Sir John Foxley. His son, Thomas, was licensed to enclose a deer park of 2500 acres (1012ha) in 1347 and between 1351 and 1360, built a house at Bramshill. The property descended through the Foxley family until the late C15 after which it passed through various hands including those of Lord Daubeny in 1499 and of the Crown, Edward VI then granting it to William Paulet, first Marquess of Winchester, in 1547. In 1605 it was sold to Edward, Lord Zouche of Harringworth, a patron of science and a horticulturalist (VCH 1911). He built the present mansion in 1605-12, on the site of Thomas Foxley's house, which he left on his death to his cousin Sir Edward Zouche. It was during Lord Zouche's ownership and that of the Henley family, who purchased the property in 1639, that the lake with its island, the system of ponds, the walled gardens around the house, and a number of the avenues were laid out (Isaac Justis survey, 1699). In 1699, Bramshill was sold to Sir John Cope who restored and altered the house, developed new designs for the formal gardens, and continued large-scale tree planting in the park which included the laying out of a complex pattern of avenues and formal tree features (Estate plan, 1733). The property remained in the Cope family until the 1930s with, in the late C18 and early C19, the park and gardens being given a degree of informality with the formation of the Broad Water on the course of the River Hart and the return to parkland of formal garden enclosures south of the house. The heaths to the east, parts of which were imparked, were also first planted with conifers at this period and a system of rides laid out across them (estate map, nd; OS Surveyor's drawing, 1792). The house underwent two further restorations, in 1851 by Sir William Cope and in 1920, after a period of neglect, by Captain and Mrs Denzil Cope, who also undertook restoration of the garden including one of the ponds. Their son, Sir Denzil, sold Bramshill to Lord Brocket in 1936. On his subsequent sale of the whole estate in 1952, the house, gardens, and some of the surrounding parkland were purchased by the Home Office for its present (1999) use as a Police Staff College. Adjoining areas of parkland within the site were sold as farmland and are in private hands while the remaining estate land was sold commercially, with much of it now (1999) leased to the Forestry Commission which manages it as commercial woodland.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Bramshill is situated on the north side of the A30, Camberley to Basingstoke road, c 2km north of Hartley Wintney on the B3011. The c 240ha site comprises c 10ha of formal enclosed gardens and ornamental grounds, parts of which incorporate Staff College campus buildings, surrounded by a c 230ha park which includes c 110ha of woodland. From the south-west part of the site, which occupies the floor of the valley of the River Hart, the land rises gently north-eastwards up the side of the valley onto a level plateau. The boundaries are enclosed entirely by agricultural fencing and are surrounded to the north-west, west, and south by a narrow belt of farmland and heathland contained by minor roads (Plough Lane to the west and the B3011 to the south-west). A major landfill site abuts the boundary in the north corner while to the south-east, east, and north-east, forestry plantations form the setting, with operational sand and gravel extraction pits within the woodland to the south-east.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
The principal entrance and approach to Bramshill is from the south-west. From a lane leading 400m north-east from the B3011, a drive enters the park at Hazeley Heath Lodges (now known as Double Lodge), passing through a carriage gateway in a screen wall which is flanked by a pair of three-storey square lodge houses with scallop-tiled ogee roofs (ensemble of early C19 lodges, walls, and gateway listed grade II). The drive runs north-eastwards, following a course axial on the house which is shown established on the plan of 1699 (Justis), to cross the Broadwater on High Bridge (listed grade I), an early C19 brick structure in Jacobean style with stone dressings. Beyond the bridge, the axis continues rising in the form of a broad grassy slope, lined with oaks of varying ages, to meet the forecourt enclosure on the south-west, entrance front of the house. The drive then follows a parallel course on the north-west side of the axis to run along the north-west side of the forecourt and serve both the principal, south-west entrance to the house and a second entrance, off a turning circle, on the north-west front. The north-western half of the turning circle is enclosed with further walling dating from the C18 with, axial on the north-west door to the house, a gateway framed by red-brick piers capped with stone vases (walls and gate piers listed grade II). An C18 stable block (listed grade II) stands 40m north of the house, immediately beyond the turning circle. A second approach to Bramshill, known in the C19 as the Reading Avenue (Cope 1883), enters from Plough Lane to the north-west and forms a cross-axis with the main drive. Fringed with trees and, on its north-east side, by a landfill site on former gravel pits, it runs 700m south-eastwards, then south through woodland before passing along the south-west bank of the C17 Fish Pond. This last section is shown on the Justis survey of 1699, although the extension to the present Plough Lane entrance did not occur until the late C18 when it was laid out as an avenue (OS Surveyor's drawing, 1792) which survived until the mid C20 (OS).
Bramshill (listed grade I) stands to the south-centre of the site, on the south-west edge of the plateau looking out over the deer park to the River Hart valley and to wooded ridges beyond. One of the largest Jacobean houses (Pevsner and Lloyd 1967), traditionally attributed to John Thorpe (CL 1899) and built entirely in red brick with stone dressings, the long south-east and north-west sides of its rectangular plan end in projecting wings. The principal, south-west front, which rises to three storeys, has a great frontispiece consisting of a three-bay arcade, the central arch of which is surmounted by three tiers of decorated pilasters and a central bow-fronted oriel. On the south-east front, the projecting wings at each end each contain a loggia which opens onto a connecting `troco¿ or bowls terrace, while the north-west front, of two storeys, has three canted bays and a round-arched entrance which leads into a narrow, internal courtyard. The house was built between 1605 and 1612 by Lord Zouche, on the site of Thomas Foxley's house of the mid C14 of which a few remnants survive incorporated into the present fabric. The house was reduced in size between 1695 and 1703 by the shortening to their present size of the two wings flanking the principal front; the house was also altered internally on the west side in the C18. It underwent restorations in both 1851 and 1920 (CL 1985).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
Formal walled gardens, established to their present (late C20) plan in the early C17, lie immediately east of the house, with informal wooded gardens with ponds to the west.
The principal, south-west entrance front opens onto a 100m long rectangular forecourt, shown in plan on the Justis survey of 1699, which is enclosed along its south-east side by a parapet wall and laid to lawn. At each corner of its south-west side stands a small, early C17 octagonal red-brick turret with a lead ogee cap (turrets and wall listed grade I) linked by a wrought-iron railing which allows a vista down the main drive both to and from the house. On the south-east front, below the level of the terrace and its loggias, the platforms of further formal garden enclosures, removed as part of a late C18 informalisation of the landscape, survive in the form of a level trapezoidal lawn and, south-westwards below a steep bank, a further platform laid to rough grass and containing a central rectangular pond. These are shown on the Justis survey as areas of enclosed gardens, a design for which survives at Bramshill (Valuation, 1666). A survey of 1756-7 shows three ponds on the lower platform although these appear to have gone by 1871 (OS 1875) and the present pond is of C20 origin.
The main walled gardens on the north-east front consist of an 80m x 90m enclosure divided by internal walls into four compartments (all walls listed grade I). The house door opens into a small compartment forming a forecourt, with two symmetrical parterres of lavender laid out either side of an axial path. The path leads north-east through an arch in the wall into a larger rectangular compartment, laid to lawn with perimeter shrubbery, which has set into its outer, north-east wall, an early C17 triple-arched stone gateway, the central pedimented arch framed within Doric pilasters (listed grade I). Arched gateways lead south-eastwards into two further compartments: that to the south-west is laid to grass and gravel and enclosed to the south-west and south-east by a pierced stone balustrade with a corner bastion while the south-east, and largest, compartment is planted with a late C20 design of bedding which replaces a former rose garden (CL 1923).
West of the house, beyond the kitchen garden, the ground slopes away to light woodland containing an upper (north-western) and a lower pond, both of which are shown on Justis' survey of 1699. The upper, known as Dog Kennel Pond, has its banks and islands planted with ornamental shrubbery including azaleas. The lower, White Pond, which had disappeared from maps by the mid C19 (eg: Tithe map, 1842) was restored in the mid C20 by Lord Brocket who also, in 1949, erected the timber bridge spanning the cascade connecting the ponds. North-east of Dog Kennel Pond, grassy slopes are planted with mature trees, including exotic conifers, while beyond the ponds, the Staff College campus buildings extend 400m north-west and north beneath a canopy of intermittent light woodland and c 150m north-eastwards, across the line of the C17 avenue, into the park.
Although the park surrounds the house and gardens on all sides, the main area of open, deer-grazed parkland lies south-west of the walled gardens on the slopes down to the Broad Water. Thomas Foxley's deer park, for which he obtained a licence to enclose in 1347, and which covered an area of 120 acres (c 48ha) in 1517, is shown on Justis' 1699 survey as lying largely to the north and east of the house, although he records a `deer orchard' enclosure immediately south of the walled gardens. The extent of the C17 park changed little in the early to mid C18, although it was planted with a complex pattern of intersecting avenues and formal enclosures of trees which is shown in detail on a survey dated 1756-7. The slopes down to the Broad Water on both sides of the main drive were imparked from former fields in the late C18 as part of the informalisation of Bramshill's landscape by the Cope family. The Broad Water was constructed from the course of the River Hart (OS Surveyor¿s drawing, 1792) and the southernmost formal garden enclosures returned to parkland. The lake is now (1999) severely reduced by encroaching vegetation while the parkland on the north-west side of the drive is under arable cultivation. A number of groups of mature oaks on the arable and pasture slopes survive from both former field boundary planting and from the south-east end of the Green Ride. This ride, which was laid out between 1699 and 1733 some 250m south-west of the house as a ride cross-axial with the main drive, survives north-west of the main drive as a track lined with an avenue of oaks of mixed ages. Immediately north-east of the Green Ride, the park is laid to open pasture and meadowland while the woodland belt on the northern site boundary contains a circular earthwork which was the site of a C17 maze (Justis survey, 1699).
North, east, and south-east of the house, the majority of the park is wooded, predominantly with commercial softwood plantations. These were developed in the mid to late C20 from the conifer planting (largely Scots pine) which occurred in the mid to late C19 over both the former deer park and, to the south-east, on heathland newly imparked between c 1810 and 1830 (Debois 1992; OS 1875, 1897). Remnants of the C17 and early C18 pattern of avenues, some of which appear to have been replanted as part of the early to mid C19 period of park expansion, survive in the north-east part of the park, as do sections of a further series of avenues and rides laid out through the C19 conifer woodland. North-east from the triple-arched gateway to the walled garden, the main C17, south-west to north-east axis through the house continues across open parkland for roughly 130m as a sweet chestnut avenue, replanted in the late C20. Its north-eastward extension through the conifer woods beyond the site boundary, shown on OS editions from 1875 until the mid C20, survives in part. A further avenue of pollarded limes, probably of C19 origin (Debois 1992), runs c 100m south-eastwards from near the south-east corner of the walled gardens, then turns north-north-east to follow part of the course of the C19 Fir Avenue (CL 1923), the remainder of which is now gone. The longest ride, known as Sir Richard¿s Ride and shown on the OS map of 1875, runs from a point within the woodland c 850m east of the house for a distance of 2.2km to Hawkers Lodge on the B3016.
The main open parts of the park north and east of the house comprise sports fields and lawns around campus buildings to its immediate north-east and, extending beyond a block of mixed woodland north-eastwards to the site boundary, a further area of playing fields which merges into rough grass partly invaded by heath. The boundary at this point follows a park pale, the line of which is first shown on the OS Surveyor's drawing of 1792; its continuation south-eastwards was probably destroyed during late C20 gravel extraction (Debois 1992). Within the woodland, some 330m north-east of the house, stands a well house which was probably built by the Henley family in the second half of the C17. It is shown on Justis' 1699 survey as the `conduit house' and as a `water house' on the 1756-7 plan and was probably constructed to fill Black Pond which, until the late C18, lay to its south-east. The major C17 water feature of the park, the Fish Pond, lies 300m north of the house. Shown on Justis' survey, it is contained by an earth dam along the north-west and north-east sides while the south-west shore is aligned on the C17 triple-arched garden gateway. The pond's central square island is planted with pines and rhododendrons.
The kitchen garden stands to the immediate north-west of the house, on the slopes down to Dog Kennel Pond. Its rectangular enclosure of red-brick walls (south-east wall listed grade I), which is shown in plan on the Justis survey of 1699, is laid to grass with an informal planting of ornamental and fruit trees and an intermittent belt of shrubbery along the walls.
Sir William H Cope, Bart, Bramshill: Its History and Architecture (1883)
Country Life, 5 (8 April 1899), pp 432-5; (15 April 1899), pp 464-7; 53 (2 June 1923), pp 758¿68; (9 June 1923), pp 818-25; 127 (10 October 1985), pp 1011-15; (17 October 1985), pp 1095-9
Victoria History of the County of Hampshire IV, (1911), pp 32-41
N Pevsner and D Lloyd, The Buildings of England: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight (1967), pp 138-40
Report on the Landscape of Bramshill, 3 vols, (Debois Landscape Group 1992) [report for English Heritage]
Historic Gardens Review, (Summer 1998), pp 32-6
Valuation of Bramshill, 1666 (Cope family collection), (Hampshire Record Office)
Isaac Justis, Bramshill Parke, 1699 (private collection)
A Survey of Lands adjoining to Bramzell Park, 1733 (reproduced in Debois 1992)
Survey of Bramshill, 1756-7 (reproduced in Debois 1992)
Plan of Bramshill, nd (late C18 or c 1800) (reproduced in Debois 1992)
Tithe map for Eversley parish, 1842 (reproduced in Debois 1992)
OS Surveyor's drawing, 2" to 1 mile, surveyed 1792 (British Library Maps)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1871-2, published 1875
2nd edition published 1897
3rd edition published 1912
OS 25" to 1 mile: 3rd edition published 1911
The Cope family collection is held at the Hampshire Record Office, Winchester (43M48).
Description written: November 1998
Amended: May 2000
Register Inspector: VCH
Edited: January 2004