Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years, 6 months ago

Frogmore Park


Frogmore Park was a large country house that stood in 58 acres of land between the main Reading Road (B3272) and Rosemary Lane, where the Frogmore Park Drive housing estate is now. Today the only things that survive of the estate when it was owned by the FitzRoy family is the former North Lodge, on Rosemary Lane, and the large pond with island at the cul-de-sac called Lakeside.


The land was originally oval shaped, characteristic of a piece of land that was enclosed from the Common. This shape was chosen so as to enclose the largest area of land for a given length of boundary ditch. A 1755 map shows that a 30 foot square symmetrical house with two parlours and a central passage to a kitchen with cellars below stood on the site. The house was accessed by an entrance avenue of pollarded oak and ash trees. It had a pleasure and kitchen garden, on the western side of the house, that were partly enclosed with formal canals. There were the usual outbuildings, and farm buildings, for most of the land was in agricultural use. To the east of the house, roughly where the ornamental lake now stands, lay a complex system of fish ponds for farming carp and trench, including breeding ponds and small stew ponds.


It seems likely that this square house was newly constructed in the early C18, with the formal garden laid out at the same time. It was occupied by Edward Collet Esquire from 1740. A series of gentry occupiers followed, before the property was acquired by the FitzRoy family who held it from about 1862 until 1928.


At the time of the first OS 1 inch map survey in 1806, the house and its immediate gardens were little changed from the 1750s, though the entrance avenue of trees had disappeared and the entrance drive was realigned. During the 1820s the house was remodelled in a classical style and enlarged (see Map ca.1830), and substantial further extensions were added at the rear in at least two phases between 1844 and 1871, and then remained essentially unchanged, but by this time the evidence of the C18 canals had disappeared. (see Map 1928)


By this time the house was a very rambling property, in an eclectic mixture of styles, giving more impression of a row of adjacent houses rather than a single mansion. As may be seen from the pictures, the extensive grounds were attractive, with parts laid out to form an attractive woodland "Wild Garden". Sir Almeric spoke on one occasion of a visit to Frogmore: "Never did the heart of summer throw such an intoxicating spell upon all the senses of the soul. There was a fervour of feeling in the glory of the woods, the pulsing of the air, and the exuberance of blossom which gave to every perspective the emotional values of some great scheme of colour orchestration..."


During the second world war the property was used by the Government, with consequent damage and subsequent neglect, and the house was demolished, and the present housing estate was built in the 1960s.


A sad loss of an interesting house.



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