Bevois Mount estate was created by Charles Mordaunt, third Earl of Peterborough, in the early 18th century (c.1723), by combining the traditional Padwell Farm lands with the land to the east formerly belonging to St Denys Priory. The house stood at what is now the north junction of Lodge Road and Cedar Road. A feature of the land was the artificial mound, which according to legend had been built by Earl Bevois to defend Southampton against the Danes. This legend gave the Earl the idea for the romantic name for his property. The estate was bounded to the west by the Avenue, to the east by Portswood Road and Bevois Hill, to the south by Rockstone Lane and to the north by Westwood Road.
In the 18th century the Earl entertained many famous guests at the house, including Voltaire, Alexander Pope, Thomas Grey and Jonathan Swift. Alexander Pope was a frequent visitor. He liked to wander through the grounds along what later became known as 'Pope's Walk' (image 2).
In 1844 the estate was bought by William Betts, who made extensive alterations and additions to the house, and who also erected the Stag Gates at the Avenue entrance to the estate. Soon after Betts sold the house and garden to J. H. Wolff, a shipping agent, and began to develop the rest of the estate for housing (see clippings 1 and 2 below).
Subsequently the house became a school, a student hostel and, during the Great War, a prisoner of war camp. In the 1930s the remaining part of the house had become part of a garage. The house was probably demolished in the 1940s.
- 1. The Bevois Mount estate - (Hampshire Independent 11/11/1854)
- 2. Building land, Southampton - (Hampshire Independent 03/06/1854)
Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p54-58. (HS/h)
Lost Houses of Southampton, by Jessica Vale. (HS/i)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p83. (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes 2nd series, by ‘Townsman’, p38, 55. (HS/h)
'The Country Houses of Southampton’, by Jessica Vale in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, volume 39, 1983, p173, 181, 184. (H/f)
'Drama in a Southampton Garden', by John Edgar Mann, in Southampton Local History Forum Journal No. 10, Spring 2003, p13-16. (HS/h)
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