Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Hampshire: Broadlands

Broadlands is a country house near the town of Romsey in Hampshire, England. The original manor and area known as Broadlands has belonged to Romsey Abbey since before the time of the Norman Conquest.
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Broadlands was sold to Sir Francis Fleming in 1547. His daughter married Edward St.Barbe, and the manor remained the property of the St.Barbe family for the next 117 years. Sir John St.Barbe made many improvements to the Manor before it was left to his cousin Humphrey Sydenham in 1723. When Sydenham was ruined by the South Sea Bubble, he proceeded to sell Broadlands to Henry Temple, 1st Viscount Palmerston in 1736. It was 1st Viscount Palmerston who began the deformalisation of the gardens between the river and the house and produced the 'gentle descent to the river'.
In 1767 a major architectural 'transformation' was begun by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and completed by Henry Holland, which has led to making Broadlands the elegant Palladian mansion seen today.
The 2nd Viscount Palmerston requested that the 18th-century architect and landscape designer Lancelot 'Capability' Brown come here and seize upon the 'capabilities' of the earlier Tudor and Jacobean manor house. Between 1767 and 1780, William Kent's earlier 'deformalising work' was completed, as well as further landscaping, planting, clearing and riverside work.
It is currently occupied by Lord and Lady Brabourne (who until recently enjoyed the courtesy style of Lord and Lady Romsey, a subsidiary title of Patricia Knatchbull, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma, Lord Brabourne's mother, whose late husband was John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne). Norton Knatchbull, 8th Baron Brabourne is the grandson of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

Turner, Roger, Capability Brown and the Eighteenth Century English Landscape, 2nd ed. Phillimore, Chichester, 1999, pp. 108–110.

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