Hadspen House

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Hadspen House
Small building to the left of gateposts surrounded by trees
The entrance to Hadspen House
Hadspen House is located in Somerset
Hadspen House
Location within Somerset
General information
Town or cityPitcombe
Coordinates51°05′29″N 2°29′27″W / 51.0915°N 2.4908°W / 51.0915; -2.4908Coordinates: 51°05′29″N 2°29′27″W / 51.0915°N 2.4908°W / 51.0915; -2.4908
Completed18th century

Hadspen House and garden is an estate between Pitcombe and Ansford, Somerset.

Hadspen House was purchased before 1747 by Vickris Dickinson, and then sold in 1767 to Charles Medows and subsequently to John Ford who in 1785 sold it to Henry Hobhouse.[1] His son Arthur was born there and it remained in the family until it was sold in 2013, with the new owner rumoured to be Johnny Depp, but actually businessman Koos Bekker.[2][3][4]


The original farmhouse was built by William Player between 1687 and 1689, but has undergone several major restorations. It is built of Cary stone ashlar, with a hipped Welsh slate roof behind parapets and stone chimney stacks. It has been designated by English Heritage as a grade II* listed building.[5]

Within the grounds are a coachhouse,[6] cottage,[7] granary,[8] southwest lodge,[9] stables[10] and summerhouse.[11] There are also plans to build a number of modern follies in the grounds.[12]

The clock house was an old barn converted into a modern five-bedroom dwelling in 2000.[13]


William Player created formal gardens and courts around the house within a private park of 300 acres (1.2 km2) with two fountains, and planted avenues on three axes. The plantations behind the house were cut in the mid 18th century by vistas and ornamented with an artificial mount and a seat.[14] The terraces and formal gardens were created in the 20th century around the house and on Pen Hill, including a large walled area later associated with a commercial nursery.

Within and around the 3,000 square metres (0.74 acres) old walled vegetable garden shaped in a parabola, a twentieth century Arts and Crafts garden was created by Penelope Hobhouse.[15] It was opened to visitors in 1970. Hellebores and hostas were bred here. In 1987 it was leased to Nori and Sandra Pope, a Canadian couple, gardeners and authors, who had previously run a nursery and garden design service in Vancouver Island.[16] During 2007 the garden was the subject of an open design competition,[17] which was widely advertised in national print and broadcast media, but which also attracted some controversy about the appropriateness of the competition, including the bulldozing of the old garden.[18][19][20] There was subsequently a lack of publicity surrounding selection of any succeeding design, and no design was ever implemented. Several allotments were permitted until the house went on sale in 2012.[21][22]


  1. ^ Burke, John (1838). A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Commoners of Great Britain. p. 360.
  2. ^ "Pitcombe". British History Online. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  3. ^ "Historic Hadspen House in Somerset sells for £13 million". Western Daily Press. 18 January 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Johnny Depp rumoured to be buying Somerset home". Western Daily Press. 5 February 2014. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Hadspen House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  6. ^ "Coach House, 30 metres West North West of Hadspen House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  7. ^ "Cottage, 25 metres North of Hadspen House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  8. ^ "Granary, 40 metres North West of Hadspen House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  9. ^ "South West Lodge to Hadspen House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  10. ^ "Stables and Byre adjoining, about 40 metres West of Hadspen House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  11. ^ "Summerhouse, about 70 metres East of Hadspen House". Images of England. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  12. ^ Glancey, Jonathan (2002-08-12). "Noble Folly". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  13. ^ "Clock House". Rightmove. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  14. ^ "A New Walled Garden at Hadspen". Hadspen Parabola. Archived from the original on 11 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  15. ^ Donald, Caroline (30 March 2008). "Gardening guru Penelope Hobhouse sells her Dorset house and garden". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 5 May 2017.
  16. ^ Cunnington, Yvonne (June–July 2001). "Canadian Couple Making A Splash In England". Gardening Life. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  17. ^ "CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS OPENED 23rd MARCH 2007". The Hadspen Parabola. Archived from the original on 5 August 2007. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  18. ^ Rawsthorn, Alice (2007-07-20). "Controversy over changes at Hadspen Garden". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  19. ^ "Hadspen's scorched earth". BD The architects web site. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  20. ^ Keen, Mary (23 Nov 2007). "Hadspen: the hearts vs the heads". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  21. ^ Keen, Mary (20 Jul 2012). "Sage words: It's a sad thought, but gardens are not meant to last". Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 6 February 2014.
  22. ^ "Last post". . . . a plot at Hadspen. Retrieved 6 February 2014.