Warsash House

Warsash House was first mentioned in 1743 as a farmhouse occupied by a Mr John Brown.  At this time, it was known as Passage House, possibly owing to its location between the high road to the Hamble Ferry and a private footpath along the meadow to the shore.  This area is now known as Crofton Way and Thornton Avenue. 

It is documented that four other families inhabited the house until it was purchased in 1811 by Admiral Lord Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald and famous Naval hero at that time.

In 1817 it was sold to Captain Archibald Swinton,who greatly enlarged the property and renamed it Warsash House.  He also opened up the view towards Southampton Water and laid a large lawn which swept down to the bank of the River Hamble where he moored his yacht.

Ownership then passed to Edward Sartoris in 1868.  Records show that the Estate then comprised nine acres of mud land, a lobster pond, a disused shipyard and slipway and a number of cottages in Shore Road. 

Some notable figures were occasional guests of the Sartoris family, including King Edward when he was the Prince of Wales and President Ulysses Grant of the USA.  Edward’s son, Algernon, had fallen in love with Nellie, the only daughter of President Grant when they met on a steamer journeying from England to New York.  The couple married in 1874 and resided at Warsash House for many years.  President Grant and his wife visited the family there in 1877.

George Shenley, a wealthy American industrialist, purchased Warsash House in 1906.  Many changes and improvements were made to the house by the Swinton, Sartoris and Shenley families, eventually transforming it into a magnificent Italianate mansion with an impressive entrance hall with a black and white marble floor and beautifully carved stone mantlepiece, as well as an opulent drawing room overlooking the Italian garden.   

The final owners, Lord and Lady Stalbridge, demolished Warsash House in 1936 and new dwellings were built on the land.  This was welcomed by some as an improvement, but others were saddened to witness the demise of what had once been a grand and elegant landmark within the community of Warsash.

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