Archers Lodge was built in 1798 for the Southampton banker Samuel Harrison. It stood on the site of the Royal Southampton Archers' ground near Bellevue, by the Avenue. The house originally stood in 4 acres (a paddock of 2 acres, the remainder shrubbery, lawn and garden), within a ring-fence. It partly incorporated the fields known as Great and Little Mongers. On the northern edge of the town, it was - to quote Thomas Skelton in The Southampton Guide of 1815 – “a beautiful rural retreat”. Samuel Harrison died in 1820 and in November 1826 the property was sold at auction to James Weld, the current tenant who had moved to Southampton three years earlier from his Oxfordshire estate of Britwell.

The sales catalogue was fulsome: the mansion ”erected with the very best materials - containing handsome entrance hall, elegant drawing-room, dining-room, breakfast-room, and library, numerous well proportioned bed-rooms, and dressing-rooms, separate staircases [presumably to avoid chance encounters with servants], and all suitable domestic offices, admirably arranged, capital coach-house and stabling”; the mansion “seated upon a gentle eminence, in the centre of a beautiful lawn, and approached by a handsome carriage drive”; the land “laid out in beautiful and elegantly arranged pleasure grounds, flower gardens, luxurious plantations and shrubberies, walled fruit garden, well stocked and highly productive, with a green-house, and also an inclosed paddock” (Hampshire Telegraph, 13 November 1826). Supplementary information in a catalogue of July 1823 - which included the sale of Harrison's cellar of wines, consisting of 250 dozen bottles of port, sherry, madeira and claret - refers to 6 best bedrooms and 4 servants' sleeping rooms. The property was extended and the grounds were beautified under James Weld's ownership. Philip Brannon noted in 1849 (The Picture of Southampton) that the estate was “shrouded in trees and shrubberies, amongst which are some comparatively rare exotics”.

The Weld family had left by December 1852, moving to Weymouth. The site was considered - but then rejected - by Southampton Borough Council in 1863 for a new, and badly needed workhouse. The executors of James Weld sold the estate in December the following year. It was purchased by Sir Edward Hulse, Bart of Breamore House to complement the recent acquisition of the adjacent Bannisters estate. Hulse's intention was to lay out the two estates for building purposes. “Nothing but first class houses, with an acre of land to each, will be erected” (Hampshire Telegraph, 24 September 1864). The vision never materialised. In 1879 Hulse sold Archers Lodge to a Woolston builder Thomas Jones, ostensibly for development. Jones, however, sold the house with four and a half acres of land to the trustees of the Congregation de la Sainte Union des Sacres Coeurs. A “superior school for young ladies” was opened in 1881. The house itself was destroyed by enemy action in December 1940.


The Avenue and Archers Lodge

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Philip Brannon’s print of the Avenue, c.1850 shows Archers Lodge on the far right.


Further reading:

Lost Houses of Southampton, by Jessica Vale. (HS/i)
Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p13 (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes(2nd Series), by ‘Townsman’, p38 (HS/h)
100 Years of LSU in Southampton, p9-24. (HS/ls)
‘The story of Archers Lodge’, by A. G. K. Leonard in Hampshire, Vol. 20, No. 1, November 1979, p 52-5 (H/y)


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