Outlying Portion of Bearwood Estate, March 1911
Arborfield Remount Depot - Leased in 1904; sold privately to the Army in
Second sale of Outlying Portions of Bearwood
Estate, September 1912
The Auction Sale document of
the Bearwood Estate dating from July
12th 1911 has been reproduced as a facsimile by the staff of Bearwood College,
and has many photographs of the mansion and its grounds.
The Estate was
described in the facsimile document as:
The renowned Freehold County Seat distinguished as "Bear
Wood" comprising a Commodious and Stately Mansion, occupying a Commanding
Position in a grandly timbered and undulating park, diversified by wonderfully
beautiful Lakes, the entire Estate extending to over 3,000 acres, and including
extensive wood and forest lands, seven excellent Farms with superior Residences,
the picturesque model village of Sindlesham, numerous Small Holdings, Cottages,
There were five Lots:
Lot 1: The Mansion and Grounds, occupying "one of the most
delightful situations in the Home Counties, in the centre of a very favourable
social district, with excellent sporting amenities". The Sale document quoted
Kelly's Berkshire Directory as follows:
Bear Wood was formerly an outlying part of Windsor Forest,
and still retains much of its primitive wildness of character. Its name is
supposed to be derived from the Saxon word 'Bere', signifying a farmstead in a
wood. Hollies and junipers flourish here in great perfection, and the gardens
abound with rhododendrons and other exotic plants. Most varieties of the fir
tribe, including a large number of Cedus Deodara are to be found here; but the
chief attraction is its magnificent lake, which covers a space of about 43
acres, and contains several islands, one of which is over an acre in extent.
This fine sheet of water yields to none in the county but Virginia Water in
point of size, and perhaps not even to that in beauty; the upper lake covers
over three acres.
Among the delights listed were:
12 County Seats (including Windsor Castle) within an easy
Hunting with the Garth and the South Berks Foxhounds; also
with the Berks and Bucks Farmers' Staghounds.
Golf Links and Polo Ground near (note that the current grounds
now have two golf courses!).
Shooting: The woods and plantations, which are well placed,
extend to about 1,000 acres, and will hold a large head of pheasants, whilst a
really good bag of partridges, hares, and rabbits can be obtained, as well as
Fishing and Boating can be enjoyed on the beautiful lake of
some 43 acres, besides the lesser lakes.
The Mansion was erected some 45 years before, on the site of
an old residence, in Tudor style of red brick with Mansfield stone dressings,
and was approached by five principal carriage drives, each guarded by an
entrance lodge. It had 50 to 60 bed, dressing and bath rooms, 'splendid' suites
of Reception Rooms, together with a full complement of Domestic Offices.
On the Ground Floor were listed:
A massive and finely carved Stone Porte Cochere, leading by
a pair of heavy carved oak door to the Vestibule, having tiled floor, wainscot
oak dado, and painted ceiling, and communicating with the Entrance Hall, with
oak parquetry floor, panelled oak dado and ribbed ceiling, plus a large Cloak
Room having fireplace, panelled oak dado, two fitted lavatory basins, two W.C.'s,
and large store cupboard. A handsomely finely-carved oak and glazed screen
divides the entrance Hall from the imposing Inner Hall around 30 ft square.
The Inner Hall has a polished oak floor, with parquetry
border and open tiled fireplace. The dado, door frames and cornice are of
panelled and carved oak, the walls being hung with fine old Cordova leather, and
the ceiling cross-ribbed in oak with carved pendatives. This hall, which gives
access to the picture saloon and to the circular iron staircase, also opens on
to the well-lighted Staircase Hall, decorated and fitted with oak in character,
and from which ascends by easy rise teh Grand Oak Staircase, with panelled
soffites and carved newels and banisters, illuminated on two sides by leaded
glass windows, and reaching to the Golden Gallery with beautifully enriched and
The well-placed Picture Saloon, which is about 68 ft. 6 in.
long by about 24 ft. wide, having polished oak floor, with parquetry border,
with panelled and ebonized walnut dado. Two open tiled fireplaces with tiled
hearths and massive marble mantelpieces. The oak doors are inlaid with maple and
walnut. The carved cornice is heavily enriched, and the lighting is by a ceiling
of ground glass with gilt ornamentation. Adjoining is the Stately Drawing Room.
Other adjoining rooms listed
were the smaller Drawing Room, Library, Garden Saloon, 'capital' Billiard Room,
'cheerful' Dining Room with serving lobby, plus Business or Writing Room, Garden
Lobby, Tea or Morning Room, and Domestic Offices. Outside were Model
Stabling with Coachman's Cottage.
Within the 'Beautiful
Pleasure Grounds' were extensive Croquet and Tennis Lawns, sequestered
Woodland and Shrubbery Walks, a Romantic Rock and Water Garden, magnificent
groups of evergreen and choice-flowering shrubs and Kalmia, which are said to be
unequalled in the whole country. The double flight of wide steps lead from the
lower to the upper terrace are a fine achievement in Stone. At the East End the
charming Rose Garden merges almost imperceptibly into the Pinetum.
Situated well away from the mansion and pleasure gardens were:
The walled kitchen garden, with a first-class range of
glasshouses comprising six vineries, peach, nectarine, fig, and strawberry
Brick-built and slated range of buildings including gardener's
office, coal store, stokehole, loft, vegetable room, mess room, implement shed,
pot shed, mushroom house, store, man's room, potato store, and packing room.
Plant Houses around a spacious square, and consisting of two
ranges of forcing houses, three ranges of plant houses with serviceable pits,
large stokehole, roomy fruits store, and packing room.
A wide border well planted with fruit trees, and a most
Frame Yard, having stabling for two horses, Fodder Store,
Harness Room, Coach-house, Cart Shed, Piggery, Coal Store, etc.
Gardener's Residence with 7 rooms with outbuildings.
Bothy containing 4 bedrooms, Mess Room, Kitchen, Foreman's
Room, Lavatory, etc.
'Capital' Laundry with spacious and well-equipped Wash-house
and Ironing Room, Coal and Wood Store.
Gas Works including brick and slated cottage, having 4
bedrooms, sitting room, kitchen, etc., and garden. Gas House, with Five Retorts,
Gasometer, Coal Stores, Meter House, Pumping House, Governor House, Lime Sheds,
Estate Workshops comprising wood and slated Timber Store,
Plumbers' Shop, Saw House with Workshop over, two Engine Rooms, Machine Room
with Carpenters' Shops over, Office, Store Room, Masons' and Painters' Shops,
Blacksmiths' Shop with Shoeing House and Iron Store, Stable for four, Stable for
five, large open Waggon Shed, Wheelwrights' Shop and Store.
Mole Farm including Yard with Open Shed, Range of Five
Piggeries, Cow House, Bull Pen, Fodder Store, Dairy Wash-house, Poultry Room,
etc., plus cottage containing five rooms.
Lots 2 to 5 are not included in the facsimile document, and
are largely outside of Arborfield and Newland parishes.
The 'Reading Mercury' previewed the sale in its edition
of July 8th:
BEAR WOOD ESTATE.
NEXT WEEK'S SALE
Wednesday next, July 12th, is the date fixed for
the Auction Sale of the beautiful “Bear Wood Estate”, which occupies such
an exceptionally commanding and unique situation about 2½ miles from
Wokingham, and adjacent to the picturesque villages of Arborfield and
Barkham and Sindlesham. This renowned Freehold Country Estate comprises a
stately mansion, a grandly timbered park, with extensive lakes, and
exceptionally lovely rhododendron walks and drives, together with
extensive pleasure grounds and gardens; also seven excellent Farms with
suitable residences, and the whole of the model village of Sindlesham,
which is only about four miles from the county town of Reading.
This lovely Estate is to be offered by Auction in consequence of the
lamented death of Mr.
Arthur Fraser Walter, son of the late
Mr. John Walter, who for
many years represented Berkshire in Parliament, and was also the chief
proprietor and controller of the Times newspaper until his death, which
occurred on November 3rd, 1894.
Messrs. Trollope and Son, the
well-known auctioneers and estate agents, of Mount-street,
Grosvenor-square, W., and 5, Victoria-street, Westminster, have been
entrusted with the auction sale of this important property. The Solicitors
to the Estate are Messrs. Cooke, Cooper and Barry, of Wokingham, and
Messrs. Soames, Edwards and Jones, Norfolk-street, Strand.
Wood” was formerly an outlying portion of Windsor Forest and still retains
much of its primitive wildness of character. Its name is supposed to be
derived from the Saxon word “Bere”, signifying a farmstead in a wood.
Mr. John Walter,
the grandfather of the late owner, purchased “Bear Wood” from the Crown
about the beginning of the last century and erected for himself a house of
moderate size in the Wyatt style of architecture. As time went on many
additions to the Estate were made, and adjacent properties in the parishes
of Finchampstead, Arborfield, Barkham, Winnersh, Wokingham, and Sandhurst
were purchased, until the Bear Wood Estate comprised some 5,000 or more
outlying portion of this fine property, comprising some 3,000
acres, were offered by auction in March last at the Drill Hall, Wokingham,
and a considerable area was then sold. Now the home portion of the
Estate, including the Mansion and Park and Home Farm
and those portions of the property immediately adjacent to “Bear
Wood” itself, together with the whole village of
Sindlesham, will be offered by Auction at The Mart,
Tokenhouse-yard, on Wednesday next, and the sale naturally arouses much
interest amongst adjacent landowners, the tenants and all concerned.
It is also attracting the attention of wealthy Americans and
others possessed of sufficiently ample fortunes who are seeking
an ideal and imposing residence and an estate which has exceptional
attractions and beautiful surroundings.
The mansion itself is a
very stately and well-designed erection, containing spacious and handsome
suite of reception rooms, lofty hall, picture gallery, some 50 to 60
bedrooms and dressing-rooms, and all the domestic accommodation and
arrangements which can possibly be required by a family of opulence and
distinction. Indeed, it is well adapted for a royal residence, and
it has been rumoured that it may possibly in the future become a royal
residence for one of our Princes, for which its situation is so
particularly well suited, being close to Windsor, and even within the
range of Old Windsor Forest itself.
The present Mansion
was erected by the late Mr. John Walter during the years 1865-1869 – and
occupied four years in building. It is a stately edifice of red brick,
with dressings of Mansfield stone in the Tudor style of architecture,
exceptionally well situated on high ground and surrounded by its beautiful
pleasure grounds and a gloriously wooded Park of 500 acres, through which
it is approached by five principal avenue carriage drives, each with its
picturesque entrance lodge. The views from the windows of the mansion
across the grounds and towards the magnificent lake are of exceptional
The Pleasure Grounds comprise exquisite
rose garden, upper and lower terrace walks reached by a noble flight of
stone steps, a romantic sunken rock and water garden, with its pools, rare
aquatic plants and ferns, and clumps of bamboos, and shaded by masses of
early flowering rhododendrons, spacious lawns, &c., the whole adorned by
many magnificent specimens of ornamental and forest timber. Across
the lake are the extensive kitchen gardens, with their many ranges of hot
houses, gardeners' residence and cottages, the poultry farm, the model
laundry, the estate workshops and gas-generating plant, &c. The
stabling is remarkably complete and well equipped.
With the Bear
Wood Park will also be offered “the Home Farm” of 175
acres adjoining and in the parish of Sindlesham, with its farm house,
model dairy and a capital range of farm buildings; also a delightful
country residence known as “St. Catherine's Lodge”, close
to Bear Wood Church, and now occupied as a rectory and at present in the
occupation of the Rev. W. V. Vickers, the rector, the
estimated rental being £170 per annum.
With Lot 1
will also be included “Bear Wood Farm” of nearly 500
acres, about 1½ miles from Wokingham, with its model farm buildings, at
present in hand, but at the estimated rental value of £500 per annum.
Also “King-street Farm”, about two miles from
Also the Model Village of Sindlesham,
with its Institute, Post Office, Schools, Stores and numerous
Cottages, and the Inn known as the “Walter Arms”.
Lot 2 will comprise the
Freehold Agricultural Estate, about 1½ miles from Wokingham,
known as “Randall's Farm” and “Dowle's Farm”,
adjoining. About 140 acres in extent, of the rental value of £150 per
Lot 3 will include the Freehold Residential
Property known as “Barkham Manor House”, with its
pleasure grounds and grass and woodlands extending to about 60 acres. The
Manor House is now let on lease to Mr. Wilson Noble at an
estimated rental of £300 per annum, and the 13 acres grass land are let to
Mr. Allright at a rental of £13 per annum.
Lot 4 comprises the Freehold Residential and
Sporting Estate known as the Barkham Estate, of about 700 acres,
about three miles from Wokingham, and included in which will be the
freehold Residence known as “Barkham Square”, with
stabling, cottages and “Brook Farm”, now let to and in
the occupation of Mr. E. M.
Other portions of the Estate included in the
forthcoming auction are “Sparks Farm”, 37 acres in the
village of Barkham, let to Mr. Gowing; “Langley
Common Farm” with 50 acres of grass and arable land, let to
Mr. A. Gibbons; also several enclosures of arable
land in Barkham village; woods of about 290 acres in the
parish of Barkham, together with the keeper's residence
and several cottages.
These smaller properties are likely
to attract purchasers of more moderate incomes, and should prove desirable
The last lot, Lot 5, will comprise a
Sporting and Agricultural Estate and an extensive
tract of woods and lakes in the parishes of Barkham and Finchampstead,
extending to over 300 acres; also a Farm in the parish of Barkham known as
“Rooks Nest Farm”, extending to some 145 acres, now let
to Mr. E. M. Sturges, with other lands.
of the timber on Lot 1 – which comprises the Mansion and Park and Home
Farm, &c., is estimated at £17,486. On Lot 2 the estimated value of the
timber is £890. On Lot 3 of the value of £1,057. On Lot 4 the timber value
is estimated at £4,971, and on Lot 5 at £15,614. These amounts are to be
paid for in addition to the price at which the lots may be sold.
The Illustrated Particulars, with Plans of the Estate and of the various
lots, are now ready and may be obtained from the offices of Messrs.
Trollope in Mount-street, Grosvenor-square, or from the Solicitors to the
Unfortunately, despite the puffery in the preview
article, no Princes or rich Americans put in sufficient bids,
as an article two weeks later on July 22nd demonstrated:
LAST WEEK'S AUCTION.
As mentioned in the “Mercury” of last week [there
was actually no mention in the July 15th edition], the Bear
Wood Estate of 3,000 acres and the Tylney Hall Estate
near Winchfield, with 2,500 acres, were offered by auction on the
12th inst. at the Mart, London, but neither was sold as there was
practically no bidding for either property.
For the Bear Wood Estate the suggested reserve was
mentioned as about £150,000, independent of the value of the timber on the
estate. Upon the Tylney Hall Estate a lavish expenditure had been made by
the owner, who has now returned to South Africa, so that it could not be
parted with under about £200,000, which was understood to be the reserve
price for the property.
With reference to last week's auction the
“Estates Gazette” of last Saturday says: “It is not
often that two of the finest estates in England, but unquestionably of the
first rank, each having been the subject of lavish expenditure, are
offered one after another, as was the case on Wednesday by Mr. Henry C.
Trollope (Messrs. Trollope, of Mount-street, Grosvenor-square). The
assembly was one of the most influential seen at The Mart for years, as
the values, at a modest computation, represented a quarter of a million”.
Foremost, as it certainly takes its place as one of the “stately
homes of England”, and has been famous for one hundred years as the home
of the Walters of “The Times”, came Bear Wood, in Old Windsor
Forest, at Wokingham, a magnificent Tudor mansion and
distinguished county seat, with 3,013 acres, having the model
village of Sindlesham (with church, rectory, institute and cricket field)
at its gates.
Some lovely vistas are obtained at various points
of the estate, and one great attraction of the stately seat is the
magnificent island-studded lake of forty-three acres, second only to
Virginia Water, whilst parklands, combining cultivation with natural
wildness, exquisite rose gardens, upper and lower terrace walks, sunken
rock gardens, spacious lawns and lofty trees are features.
Altogether the estate is of quite an exceptional and fascinating character
and is one conferring distinction, position and prestige upon an owner.
The circumstances under which Bear Wood came into the market are
well-known, and Mr. Trollope gave expression to everyone's views in
sincerely hoping that Bear Wood would pass into the hands of one who could
maintain it in the liberal, not to say princely, way it had been conserved
for years past. Properties of that kind were the backbone and pride of the
country, which must continue to exist and flourish, but everybody with
common-sense and foresight must lament that unfair burdens should fall
upon this class of property, which already bears far more than its fair
Mr. Trollope aptly summed up the advantages of the property:
within 45 minutes by rail of the metropolis, the commercial and
agricultural values, the improved conditions of which must tend to
increase the value of such a property, in addition to the residential
qualifications. Hundreds of thousands of pounds had been spent on the
model village, and the estate, and as an investment the purchase should
prove remunerative, the rent roll amounting to £5,614 per annum, yet £50
an acre, which was merely the mercantile figure, stripped of all
sentiment, was not advanced, nor even £120,000, and the property
had to be withdrawn.
Of the Tylney Hall Estate,
the “Estates Gazette” says: A value of £300,000 might fairly be assumed
for such an estate of considerable interest and importance as Tylney Hall,
Rotherwick, Hants, with 2,497 acres, yet this sum was only one-half of its
real worth. It was once the seat of a family of its own name, and
ultimately it came into the possession of Viscount Castlemaine, of
Ireland, who was created Earl Tilney in 1732. The owner of Tylney
Hall has the perpetual right of nominating to the Tylney Exhibition of £40
a year at Queen's College, Oxford. This right was included in the sale.
The mansion, which forms three sides of a square, is in the Tudor
style, was considerably enlarged in 1903. The views are very beautiful
over broken and richly-wooded grounds and valleys. It is a perfect county
seat on a large scale, singularly well-equipped, and perhaps the finest
estate in the market at the present time. Everything about the mansion and
grounds had been arranged with perfect taste, wide knowledge and vast
care, and the purchaser would gain the benefit of the great expense.
Mr. Trollope then asked for biddings to start with, but no
advance even on £200,000 could be obtained, and Tylney Hall had to be
withdrawn for private treaty.
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