The History of Warbrook

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The History of Warbrook

Warbrook House is a rare example of a house and garden designed by an 18th century architect for his own use and is a Grade 1 listed building.  It was designed and built by John James of Greenwich.  The memorial to John James in Eversley Church includes the words “The said John James built the house called Warbrook in the parish anno 1724”.

The house and gardens were completed in 1727.  Warbrook is named after the stream that waters the garden.  It lies in a region of oak coppices, and through its little park the approach passes under some fine two and three hundred year old oaks.  A broad vista of them frames the east front of the house and at the back of the house James’ plantations, divided by straight alleys and a canal, are chiefly of oaks, interspersed with scots firs and hollies; there is also a ha-ha (a sunken fence bounding a park or garden) on the east side.  To the south of the house there was originally an octagonal pool. To the north is long 2 storied range of 7 windows erected in 1936 in a matching (brick work) style.

In 1982 the pre-war stabling block and courtyard were rebuilt.  A great deal of effort was made to build this in keeping with the original John James design of the main house.

Land Owners of Warbrook

In 1838 Warbrook was bought by Augustus Stapleton, Private Secretary to Canning.  It remained in the possession of this family until the late 1920's.  Augustus Stapleton was Church Warden when Charles Kingsley was Curate here in 1842 and probably played an important part in bringing him back as Rector in 1844.

The Stapleton’s shortened the branches of the canal which originally came up to the level of the house at each side, and they gave the house its Victorian seclusion by closing the public road across the park, replacing the drive with a side entrance guarded by a lodge and probably planting the rhododendrons which now screen the grounds.  The brickwork of the house was largely hidden by creepers at this time.

Warbrook was let by the Stapleton’s to Lady Glass who rented it for 40 years and whose memorial in the church describes her as a great benefactress of Eversley.  One or two Eversley people can remember her.  She went to church in such a large bath chair that it had two footmen in attendance - one to push and one to pull.

Warbrook's next owner was an artist, Mr W B Rankin; then Mrs Humphreys-Owen acquired it.  She is remembered with great affection and she did much for Eversley.  As well as presenting the village with a new village hall, she also added to the house at Warbrook.  The late Duke of Wellington was the architect of the wing added to the north of the house. The Balustrade at the end of the canal was placed there by Mrs Humphreys-Owen and came from the old Waterloo Bridge.

In 1965 after the death of Mrs Humphreys-Owen, the property passed into the hands of the late Honourable Anthony Berry MP.  He lived at Warbrook with his family until 1975. After a brief period when the property was virtually empty, its present owners restored the house and Warbrook became a Conference and Training Centre.

Since 1978, many people from all over the world have visited Warbrook and enjoyed its magnificent parkland setting whilst attending conferences and other events.

In 1982, the pre-war stabling block and courtyard was rebuilt.  A great deal of effort was made to build this in keeping with the original John James design of the main house.

Most of the people who are involved in the running of Warbrook and the Estate live in the local area and are proud to maintain this fine building.