Built by Wither Bramston in 1795, Oakley
Hall has a distinguished past. The Bramstons
were close friends of Jane Austen and the Hall
is mentioned fondly in letters to her sister
Cassandra at the turn of the 19th Century.
Indeed the character Lady Bertram' was based
on Mrs Bramston who was of the opinion that
'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Pride and Prejudice'
were 'downright nonsense', although she
expected to like 'Mansfield Park'!!
Jane Austen lived in the neighbouring village
of Steventon until she was 25 and during this
time she wrote some of her most beloved and
remembered novels. She was not the only
writer to be inspired by Oakley Hall; Henry
Fielding, creator of the immortal 'Tory
Squire Weston' also made lengthy stays here.
Wither Bramston died without issue in 1832
and Oakley Hall passed to a descendant of
his aunt, William Hicks Beach. William was
MP for Malmesbury and an army Colonel
and upon his death in 1856, the Hall passed
to his son William Wither Bramston Beach,
himself an MP for Hampshire for 44 years,
Privy Councillor and Father of the House of
Commons. Evidently not content with the
original Georgian facade, he made extensive
alterations to the Hall in 1860, making it the
grand and impressive building we see today.
The Hall remained in the Beach family until
it was sold at auction in 1932 and in 1940 it
became the home to Hilsea College, a renowned
private school. The school had been relocated
from Portsmouth, having had its own premises
requisitioned by the Royal Navy. The pupils
were divided into four Houses - Bramston,
Wither, Beach and of course Austen!!
Oakley Hall was beautifully restored in 2003
to its former glory. Set in 315 acres of rolling
countryside if offers a perfect location for
weddings, conferences, team building and
corporate events. With the addition of 18
luxurious bedrooms and the picture postcard
Garden Cottage in 2009, Oakley Hall is one
of the finest venues in Hampshire, providing
the perfect country retreat.
A Classical Past...