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.