Over a month ago I posted about a house which looks more ancient than it really is, and nobody identified it, even given the New Forest location.  Anyway, it is Rhinefield House near Brockenhurst, which has quite an interesting short history.   A Mr Walker, of Eastwood Colliery as mentioned in the books of DH Lawrence, got the land in 1877.   When his only daughter Mabel became engaged to a Lt. Munro, he gave the land to them as a wedding present plus £250,000 to build a little home.  Presumably the old geezer threw in some conditions, because after the wedding in 1877 they were known by the name of Walker-Munro.   They then built said dwelling, including the elaborate Alhambra Room as Mabel’s Christmas pressie to hubby who had liked the Alhambra on honeymoon so she thought he would enjoy a facsimile as a smoking room. 

They had a son Ian instead of the four daughters dear Mabel had planned.  She didn’t seem to get on too well with sonny boy, so he pushed off to farm in Kenya.  After the death of hubby mama carried on charity works, fully intending to leave all the loot to said charities.   She died in between wills, though, and under the laws of intestacy Ian got the lot.    After his death the duties forced his widow to dispose of it, and it has since been owned by hoteliers including Richard Branson, apart from a ten-year period as a school.

Currently it is a luxury hotel and conference/function venue.   For the history in more detail, go here.

These are a few of the pix I took, including one of a portrait of Mabel.

© Colonialist September 2011 (Letterdash/WordPress)

About colonialist

Active septic geranium who plays with words writing fantasy novels and professionally editing, with notes writing classical music, and with riding a mountain bike, horses and dinghies. Recently Indie Publishing has been added to this list.
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  1. cobbies69 says:

    Thank you for your comments on my site and this place has a memory for me as my post said about my mother in the early 70;s and this was the last time I actually visited,, Richard Branson Virgin did own it briefly as well.. again thank you so much.. 😉


  2. colonialist says:

    Well worth a visit – the teas are exceptionally good, too.

    Mabel is probably still haunting the place, in a fury that her son got the loot instead of her pet charities.


  3. Beautiful pictures, Col – must pop along to see it! (I wouldn’t mess with Mabel though)


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