Weston Grove House was built for William Chamberlayne in c.1801 on a site just west of modern Archery Road and south of Swift Gardens. The stable block (image 2) was added in 1810; other outbuildings were built later. The 1802 Southampton guide book tells us that that “William Chamberlayne is now erecting an elegant mansion in a delightful spot, commanding a pleasant view of the river”. The house and grounds were subsequently praised by many writers, including William Cobbett of Botley, a friend of Chamberlayne and a frequent visitor to Weston Grove:
"To those who like water-scenes (as nineteen-twentieths of people do) it is the prettiest spot, I believe, in all England. … the views from this place are the most beautiful that can be imagined. You see up the water and down the water, to Redbridge one way and out to Spithead the other way. Through the trees, to the right, you see the spires of Southampton, and you have only to walk a mile, over a beautiful lawn and through a not less beautiful wood, to find, in a little dell, surrounded with lofty woods, the venerable ruins of Netley Abbey, which make part of Mr. Chamberlayne's estate." (Cobbett, Rural Rides)
The Chamberlayne family owned the estate throughout the 19th century, but as they also owned the Cranbury Park estate in Hampshire, they did not spend much time at Weston Grove and the estate was often let to tenants. After 1914 the house seems to have been unoccupied and was eventually demolished in 1940. The stables and some of the outbuildings were sold to H M Surplus Stores Department in 1924. The arches which carried the Weston Grove carriageway over Weston Lane (image 3) survived for a time.
Lost Houses of Southampton, by Jessica Vale. (HS/i)
‘The Country Houses of Southampton’, by Jessica Vale in Proceedings of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society, volume 39, 1983, p180-184. (HS/i)
Stories of Southampton Streets, by A. G. K. Leonard, p68-76 (HS/h)
‘The Prettiest Spot in England’, by David Chun, in Hampshire, Vol. 23, No. 2, December 1982, p50-51. (H/y)
‘Weston Grove House and William Chamberlayne’, by Christine Clearkin, in Fosmag Magazine, No. 68, Spring 2011, p18-19. (HS/lt)
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