Stourfield House, Hampshire, design for the south front of the house for Edmund Bott Esq., 1780, unexecuted (1)
Edward / Edmund Bott was born in 1740 in Spixworth, Norwich, the son of Rev. Thomas Bott. Bott was educated at a school in Norwich before attending Trinity College, Cambridge where he graduated in 1760. He was admitted to the Inner Temple in December 1758 and was called to the bar in November 1765. In 1771 he published ‘A Collection of Decisions of the Court of King’s Bench upon the Poor Laws’, an important reference work, which was still in use in 1833. In March 1773 Bott was elected to the Society of Antiquaries for his extensive knowledge of ancient European languages. Following his relocation to Stourfield, near Christchurch, Bott was appointed Justice of the Peace for Hampshire County. He died 31 May 1788 and was buried in Christchurch Priory, where there is a memorial stone dedicated to him.
In around 1766 Bott built a new house for his Hampshire estate which he named Stourfield House. Built of red brick the three-storey, three-bay building was positioned overlooking the Stour Valley and set within a 450 acre estate. The original entrance front remains intact and includes a fine porch accessed by a double stone staircase with wrought-iron balusters and urn-shaped newels. The relieving arch of the part-sunken basement is part-rusticated.
Adam’s surviving scheme for the principal front proposes alterations and additions which include the introduction of a pediment articulated by Corinthian columns. The inscription for the drawing suggests that this was possibly one of a number of designs presented to the client for alterations to the south façade of Stourfield House.
On Mr Bott’s death in 1788 his estate was inherited by his relatives Esther Bott, Elizabeth Kippis and Abigail Harvey. The following year Stourfield House and its surrounding estates were advertised for sale and they were subsequently bought by Sir George Tapps. Tapps leased the house to a number of tenants including Mary Bowes, Countess of Strathmore (b.1749) who resided at Stourfield from 1795 until her death in 1800. The house briefly served as a school from 1894 before it became Home Sanatorium in 1898, a hospital for the treatment of consumption. It was around this time that the eighteenth-century building was incorporated into an expansive nineteenth-century timber and brick extension. In the early twentieth century the building became Douglas House Hospital which was closed and largely demolished c1990.
The eighteenth-century brick entrance front for Stourfield House with its portico and stepped approach remains in situ.
A.T. Bolton, The architecture of Robert and James Adam, 1922, Volume II, Index p. 6, 63; H. Miles, ‘Local History by Hattie Miles – Stourfield House’, Southbourne Eye Community Magazine, January 2016, p.12; www.christchurchpriory.org; ‘Pokesdown and Stourfield before the 19th Century – Stourfield House, Edmund Bott’, www.pokesdown.com; ‘Porch and Staircase of East wing only of Douglas House Hospital’, www.historicengland.org.uk (accessed February 2021)