Charles Mordaunt (1658-1735), who succeeded to the title of the third Earl of Peterborough in 1697, came to live in Southampton in about 1723. He purchased the Padwell Farm estate from Queen’s College Oxford, later enlarging it by purchasing land previously belonging to St Denys Priory around Bevois Hill. The original farmhouse was replaced with the country mansion which he named Bevois Mount House. He improved the gardens and grounds of the house, adding a bowling green, vineyard and Corinthian temple as well as various statues, grottoes and walks. In his younger years Mordaunt had been something of an eccentric genius who held positions as admiral, general and ambassador. In his later years he concentrated on literary pursuits and Pope, Voltaire, Swift and Gray were amongst the literary friends who visited him at Bevois Mount. He died in 1735 at Lisbon where he had gone for the sake of his health. Peterborough Road, Earl’s Road and Mordaunt Road were all named after him.

Charles Mordaunt, Third Earl of Peterborough

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Portrait by Sir Godfrey Kneller, c1715, now in the National Portrait Gallery

Newspaper clippings:

Wessex Notebook - (Southern Evening Echo, 28/02/1951)

Further reading:

Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p56. (HS/h)
Southampton Occasional Notes, by ‘Townsman’, p83. (HS/h)
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004, Volume 39 (see Mordaunt, Charles)
‘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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