Two houses standing to the north of Hook Hill are accessed from Hook Heath Road. Whinfield Lodge (originally Hook Hill Lodge) was originally the gardener’s cottage, but has subsequently been enlarged and is now a separately owned dwelling. The other house, Muthaiga, is a modern construction situated immediately to the north of the Whinfield portion of the main house, with which it shares an entrance from Hook Heath Road. A separate entrance serves the Brockhurst portion. Originally Hook Hill was reached via a single driveway from Hook Hill Lodge.
On the western boundary of the Hook Hill (now Brockhurst) garden a narrow lane and
footpath run from Hook Heath Road down the escarpment before turning left along
the southern edge of the garden and eventually joining Green Lane. The lane gives
access to several properties associated with Hook Hill in one way or another.
Gorse Cottage and Brackenbrae.
At the top of the lane, facing Hook Heath Road, stands a house, originally called Hookerel, later Gorse (or possibly Horse) Cottage and now divided into two dwellings called Gorse Cottage and Brackenbrae. It was designed by the architect Horace Field and built in 1903, possibly for one of Henry Fisher Cox’s two elder daughters before they moved to London. Some time later it became the home of Margaret Cox, the third daughter of Henry Fisher Cox.
Further down the lane the first house on the right is Little Frankley, again designed by Horace Field and built in 1903, possibly for another of Henry Cox’s elder daughters. The earliest record of ownership comes from the memoirs of Lord Chandos, whose father Alfred Lyttelton named the house Little Frankley, presumably after the long established Lyttelton family seat at Frankley in Worcestershire. Allegedly, when asked what he thought of the property, Lyttelton‘s neighbour, Gerald Balfour, cabinet minister and brother of the Prime Minister (and who lived in Hook Hill before moving to the nearby Lutyens mansion he built at Fishers Hill), replied jokingly “Frankley Little”!
Little Frankley has been extended many times over the years, notably in about 1914 when a large wing on the western side was added, and in the 1970’s and 1990’s when further significant alterations and extensions were made under the guidance of the architect Maxwell New. Originally the northern boundary was hard up against the wall of the house, but a purchase of land to the north allowed an adequate parking area to be created, and the acquisition of a small parcel of land to the west gave access to a stream.
Horace Field apparently liked the area so much that in 1907 he designed and built South Hill for himself in 1907. The house is accessed from the right angle bend in the lane and the garden runs down the escarpment to the footpath running from Green Lane to Fishers Hill.
After the death of her husband in 1904 Mrs Edith Cox had Hook Hill Cottage designed by Horace Field for herself on a large plot of land below the garden of Hook Hill and adjacent to South Hill. She moved there with her youngest stepdaughter (Margaret) and her own two daughters (Winifred and Sydney), and remained there for ten years. Subsequently the lower part of the plot was divided to provide land for two further properties now called Little Shepley and Fair Field.
The eldest two daughters of Henry Cox’s first marriage, now living in London, maintained their local links and frequently visited Hook Hill Cottage. Hester was appointed a governor of St Felix School Southwold where both she and her sister Katherine had been educated and their father had himself been a governor. Katherine continued her education at Newnham College, Cambridge, where she became president of the Fabian Society, preceding Rupert Brooke in that post. They both became members of the Bloomsbury group and romance blossomed. Much of their doomed relationship was conducted at Hook Hill Cottage.
Ostlers (later Alcester and now Little Shepley), was designed by the architect Brian Jenkins and built in 1978 by Sam Weller, Town Clerk of Guildford. Weller had been living in Hook Hill Cottage, which he had renamed Ostlers, but it reverted to its original name when he moved, taking the house name with him. The new house was accessed from the lane after it had passed the northern and eastern boundaries of the garden of Hook Hill Cottage. It was Sam Weller who gave the name Sun Hill to the previously unnamed lane, possibly to make it easier for others to find his new house. Fair Field
The other property in the former garden of Hook Hill Cottage is Fair Field, built in 1983 for Mr and Mrs Ivor Gibsen It lies between Ostlers and South Hill. The architect was again Brian Jenkins.
Also in 1983 planning permission was granted for a house in the lower garden of Little Frankley, and in 1986 Thornberry, now Hairoun, was built for Mr and Mrs Robert Paistow. To gain access a road was created along the eastern boundary of the garden from the bend in Sun Hill, necessitating a small exchange of land with South Hill. A benefit of the exchange was that South Hill gained an improved parking area and Little Frankley now had vehicular access to the bottom of its reduced garden.
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