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South Stoneham House

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Manor of South StonehamSouth Stoneham HouseWood MillsSouth Stoneham FarmSwaythling villageManors of Swaythling

South Stoneham House with South Stoneham Park, was a mansion house and ornamental parkland at South Stoneham on the Stoneham Estates, and a home of the Willis Fleming family. The house was the manor house of South Stoneham. It was acquired together with the manor, farm, and Wood Mills by John Barton Willis Fleming sometime before 1819, perhaps four years earlier in 1815[1]. It was later the country seat of his second son, Thomas James Willis Fleming. South Stoneham Park was surveyed by John Whitcher in 1818.

Selected views

North elevation
South elevation
Sketch drawing of north elevation, during the Fleming Estate's ownership
Detail of drawing of north elevation

South Stoneham House was completed in 1708 by the civil engineer Edmund Dummer[2] (d.1713), probably to designs by the architect Nicholas Hawksmoor. (The Dummer family were kinsmen of the Fleming family.) After Edmund Dummer's bankrupcy[3] in 1711, and death in 1713, the property passed to a number of owners including William Nicholas, William Sloane, and his son Hans Sloane[4], Jean Louis Bazalgette[5], and John Lane. As at North Stoneham Park, the grounds were laid out by 'Capability' Brown[6].

‘The Mansion house contains 2 handsome drawing-rooms, a commodious eating-parlour, gentleman’s library and closet, a large entrance-hall and staircase, 7 family bed-chambers, 5 dressing-rooms, and in the attic 2 good Gentlemen’s bed-chambers, besides various servants’ rooms, a lofty kitchen, with suitable commodious domestic offices, and remarkable good cellaring, the house being built on arches’ –The Times, 13 Jun 1804

The House and estate was offered for sale in 1815, following a commission of bankruptcy against John Lane[7]. The Fleming Estate came into possession of South Stoneham between 1815 and 1818.

‘A highly valuable and very compact FREEHOLD ESTATE, comprising the manor or reputed manor of South Stoneham, and the capital Mansion, called South Stoneham-house, most delightfully situate on the banks of the Itchen river, distant only two miles and a half from Southampton, with offices of every description for a family of respectability, gardens, pleasure grounds, hot houses, ice house, sheets of water, fish ponds, and 360 customary acres of arable, meadow, and wood land, about 40 acres of which form a beautiful paddock, in which the mansion stands; the remainder divided into a farm, with farm house and buildings ...’ –The Times, 21 Jun 1815
Detail of the caption on the drawing pictured above. The drawing is incorrectly captioned 'North Stoneham House' and some of the text is illegible. (Can you help read the text?)
Detail of the caption on the drawing pictured above. The drawing is incorrectly captioned 'North Stoneham House' and some of the text is illegible. (Can you help read the text?)
John Barton Willis Fleming and his family lived there from 1818 to the late 1820s while North Stoneham House was being built. There is a sketch of the house at this time (pictured above), showing the house before it was later extended.

In 1823, for the Estate Audit, John Willis Fleming hosted a dinner there for his tenants[8].

The house was then leased to General Joseph Gubbins before 1830, until Gubbins's death in 1832. Following the devastating fire at North Stoneham House in 1831, and a period living on the Isle of Wight, John Willis Fleming returned to live at South Stoneham while North Stoneham House was rebuilt. In 1834, the house was advertised to be let[9]. In 1836, the celebrations for Honoria Willis Fleming's wedding took place at South Stoneham[10].

In 1837, the South Stoneham Estate became part of the entailed Fleming Estate, releasing the entail on the Quarr Abbey Estate. It was inhabited by Colonel Boucher.

The house was advertised to be let in 1843. Later it was under lease to Mrs Charlotte Maria Beckford, who died there in June 1854[11]. Thomas Willis Fleming then lived there with his family from 1854 until 1861, and purchased the property from his brother in 1857, during an action to administer the Fleming Estate.

In 1875, when Thomas's eldest son Willis Willis Fleming came of age, the entail of the South Stoneham Estate was cut off, and South Stoneham House was then sold the same year for £20,000, to Capt. Thomas Davison. At the time of the sale, the interior was described:

‘... A Corridor with scagliola pilaster, having solid Ormolu Corinthian caps and bases, leads to a spacious SEMI-OCTAGONAL LIBRARY, surrounded by twenty fluted three-quarter column scagliola pilasters, standing on a scagliola base, and having ormolu caps and bases supporting a richly moulded imitation marble cornice, the recesses filled with Shelves for Books, and a black marble chimney-piece and register stove. Plate glass French Windows open into a HANDSOME-CONSERVATORY 40-ft. long and 14-ft. 6-in. wide, with a silvered plate glass screen at the further end, giving an appearance of greater length, and stocked, with some choice creapers. On the right of the Hall is a Gentleman's Room or Study with Wainscotted Walls, two large Cupboards, marble and carved Mantel-piece, next to which is a GLASS and CHINA STORE ROOM, fitted with numerous Cupboards and a close Stove, and at the back a SCHOOL ROOM overlooking the Lawn, with marble Chimney Piece and register Stove. ANTE-ROOM at side, LOBBY, long Passage, W.C.; GARDEN ROOM at end, opening on to the Terrace. THE PRINCIPAL STAIRCASE with spiral balusters and Gallery Landing, leads to TWO NOBLE DRAWING ROOMS, divided by folding doors, one being 20-ft. 3-in., by 18-ft .. 6-in., and the other 25-ft. by 20-ft. 6-in., with moulded cornices, distempered walls, woodwork grained maple, enamelled slate chimney-piece in imitation of Sienna marble, and polished register Stove. A BED ROOM, 18-ft. by 16-ft., adjoining, and a DRESSING ROOM, also A PRINCIPAL OCTAGONAL SHAPED BED ROOM OVER THE LIBRARY ...’

Elements of this description are highly suggestive of the hand of Thomas Hopper, the architect of North Stoneham House.


With thanks to David Dumper for information about the Dummer family; and Charles Bazalgette for information regarding Jean Louis Bazalgette.


  1. Hampshire Feet of Fines Mich. 59 Geo. III. (1819), but the property was already scheduled as part of the Fleming Estate in Surveys of Stoneham, 1818, suggesting that there was an earlier agreement to convey South Stoneham to John Barton Willis Fleming - perhaps as early as 1815, from the bankrupt John Lane - and the conveyance was later backed up by a final concorde in 1819.
  2. Howard Colvin, s.v. Dummer, Edmund (1651-1713) in A biographical dictionary of British architects, 1600-1840‎ (2008). Edmund Dummer is often confused with his kinsman Edmund Dummer (d.1724) of Swaythling House. Jessica Vale, The Lost Houses of Southampton (1980), suggests that the house was built by Edmund's father, Thomas, and that it was he who had acquired the Manor of South Stoneham in 1705; but Thomas Dummer the father had died in 1665.
  3. Conveyance of premises subject to a bankruptcy order against Edmund Dummer, 1716  (WFMS:297 | HRO 102M71/T100)
  4. Hans Sloane Stanley advertised the South Stoneham Estate for sale in 1804. The Times, 13 Jun 1804.
  5. It is possible that Bazalgette only leased the property, but a payment of £15,000 to him from John Lane in 1809 suggests otherwise. Charles Bazalgette.
  6. The Times, 13 Jun 1804
  7. The Times, 21 Jun 1815
  8. Annual Rent and Tithe Audit, 1823
  9. The Morning Post, 5 July 1832
  10. Honoria Fleming's wedding, 1836
  11. Mrs Charlotte Maria Beckford died there on 25 Jun 1854, aged 86
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