Bownham Park


Location   Rodborough
Year demolished   c.1965  
Reason   Surplus to requirements  
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Text written by, and copyright of, Nicholas Kingsley - many thanks

The house on this site belonged with much other property in the Stroud area to Giles Davis in 1638, and seems to have descended in his family to Dennis Davis, who sold it in 1761 to William Shurmer. It was probably either Dennis or his predecessor Jeremiah Davis who built a new house of five bays and three storeys about 1740. The garden front of this house survived until demolition in the 1960s, and it was typical of the Bristol blend of Baroque and Palladian styles, with Gibbs surrounds to the ground floor windows and rather crowded first floor fenestration with alternating segmental and triangular pediments.

William Shurmer sold the house in 1765 to a clothier, James Winchcombe, who at once called in the local architect, Anthony Keck, to make alterations. In 1766-70 he added two storey, three bay wings to the existing block, and provided a new entrance front with more widely spaced fenestration; two windows to each of the side wings and three to the centre. Nothing is known of the interiors, except that the new best parlour was to be panelled. In 1785 Nathaniel Winchcombe, James’ nephew, sold Bownham Park with 46 acres to William Gaisford Peach, who died that year and left the estate to his brother Nathaniel. He died only three years later leaving a 19-year old widow with two small sons, but he may have been responsible for laying out the grounds.

In 1813, having come of age, Nathaniel William Peach sold the house to John Clerk, who in turn sold it in 1821 to the Strachey family. In the later 19th century an elaborate 'winter garden' or conservatory was added to the west side of the house for Thomas Lancaster, who bought the estate in 1859. At his death in 1891 Lancaster left the house to his neice, Emma Molyneux, who sold it to Richard Paddison in 1893. He died in 1942 and the house put on the market but lay empty during the Second World War. After a number of years in commercial use after the War the house was demolished in c.1965.

The park has since been developed for housing, and all that survives are the stables, an office wing, and one C18 gate pier.