DiCamillo Companion

Bearwood (Bear Wood)

  • Earlier Houses: In the 1820s the Bearwood Estate was purchased from the Crown Estate by John Walter II, owner of "The Times," who built a small villa on the site (this earlier house was demolished when the current house was built).

    Built / Designed For: John Walter III

    House & Family History: John Walter III engaged Robert Kerr to build the existing house in the mid-19th century (Kerr won the commission on the strength of his popular 1864 book of domestic design, "The Gentleman's House: Or, How to Plan English Residences, from the Parsonage to the Palace"). The home built by Kerr is a massive red brick house with stone dressings in the Jacobean style. The woodwork used in the interior was made in workshops on the estate, as were the over four million bricks, which were created and baked in the estate's kilns. Bearwood also had its own gas plant. During World War I the house was used as a billet for Canadian soldiers. Bearwood has been a school since 1919.

    Comments: Pevsner called Bearwood "the epitome of High Victorian domestic planning" and "one of the major Victorian monuments of England." Mark Girouard called Bearwood one of the best examples of "muscular Victorian Gothic."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The original estate spanned 7,500 acres and included the villages of Finchampstead, Sindlesham, and Barkham. The lake to the south of the house is over 40 acres.

    Chapel & Church: A red brick chapel, built 1934-35 and designed by Sir Herbert Baker for the school is still in service.

  • Architect: Robert Kerr

    Date: 1864-70
    Designed: House

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    Architect: Herbert Baker

    Date: 1934-35
    Designed: Chapel

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  • Title: Lasting Elegance: English Country Houses, 1830-1900
    Author: Hall, Michael
    Year Published: 2009
    Reference: pg. 17
    Publisher: New York: The Monacelli Press
    ISBN: 9781580932561
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Victorian: The Magazine of The Victorian Society, The
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: Jul 2006, Summary Annual Report, pg. 2
    Publisher: London: The Victorian Society
    ISBN: 14677970
    Book Type: Magazine

    Title: Buildings of England: Berkshire, The
    Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus
    Year Published: 1966
    Publisher: London: Penguin Books
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Grade II*

    Park Listed: Grade II*

  • "The Sweeney" (1975 - TV series, episode 1.3, "Thin Ice," as Gerald Bishop's mansion, where Pringle questions Moose). "Masterpiece Theatre: Lord Mountbatten - The Last Viceroy" (1986 - TV mini series). "Soldier Soldier" (1997 - TV series 7, as the parade ground and officers' mess). "Midsomer Murders" (2002 - TV series, episode 5.4, "Murder on St. Malley's Day," as Devington School). "Midsomer Murders" (2011 - TV series, as Darnley Park Girls School in the episode "Death in the Slow Lane"). "Restless" (2012 - TV movie).
  • Past Seat / Home of: SEATED AT EARLIER HOUSE: John Walter II, 1822-47. SEATED AT CURRENT HOUSE: John Walter III, 1870-94; Arthur Fraser Walter, 1894-1910; John Walter V, 1910-19.

    Current Ownership Type: School

    Primary Current Ownership Use: School

    Ownership Details: Today Reddam House Berkshire, a co-educational, independent school (formerly Bearwood College, Royal Merchant Navy School).

  • House Open to Public: No

    Phone: 01189-748-300

    Fax: 01189-773-186

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: https://www.reddamhouse.org.uk/

    Historic Houses Member: No