|When Gardeners think of Rhododendrons
and Azaleas you can be certain that Exbury will spring to mind! This
tiny village must surely be in one of the loveliest places in Hampshire,
and is an ideal position adjacent to the Solent coast and
overlooking the Beaulieu river. Exbury is on the Exbury estate and owned
by the de Rothschild family whose Exbury gardens of 200 acres have the
world famous collections of rhododendrons and azaleas. The village is
situated on the edge of the New Forest a mile from Lepe Beach. Exbury
House has been the main benefactor of this scattered village and is
guilt of neo-Georgian design and is located in the grounds of the
he Mitford family owned the house in the 18th century and Lord Redsdale who is an heir of the family has turned the stone school next door to the church a family home. The house was also owned by Lord Forster when Governor General of Australia in 1919 and it was him who sold the house to Lionel de Rothschild of the banking family, and it is his son Edmund de Rothschild that owns the house today
The main centre of the village by the church comprises of cottages that were originally built for the estate workers and the earlier ones were built of a strange yellow coloured brick that were made at a brickworks on the estate. A large number of gardeners and labourers were employed when the gardens were being designed and the greenhouses built and houses were built for them in the 1920s in red brick with toilets inside and later they had electricity installed.
The shop that stood on the T junction and
which along with a village club and post office was built by Mr de
Rothschild has now been long closed,and is being turned into a dwelling
but it has retained the bow windows.
St Katherine's church was bujilt in the 19th century and some of the stonework came from a monastic chapel which had once stood at Lower Exbury, and in the churchyard were graves of the Milford family and which later were removed and interred in a family vault when the church was renovated in 1907
The monument which really catches the eye of the visitor is the Forster memorial bronze in the Memorial Chapel and this has the figure of Alfred Forster son of Lord Forster laying recumbent on the top, he was a Lieutenant in the Royal Scots Greys and died of his wounds at the end of the First World War.
While Forster was i hospital he became friends with a young sculptor called Cecil Thomas and when peace finally came Lord and Lady Forster the parents of Alfred commissioned Cecil to design a memorial to Alfred and his elder brother John (see above) who was also killed in WWI. This bronze memorial was so impressive that it was taken and exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1924. The detail of the uniform is so well done that even the lacing of the boots can be seen.
At the Exbury Club in the interval between the two world wars amateur dramatics were held, a dance band played and whist were held for the workers of the estate and an annual children's party was held during the summer.
Operation Bardsea was designed to use agents drawn from Monika as
paratroopers specializing in sabotage and subversive activities in
specific operations just behind bridgeheads on D-Day.........
The result was that in 1919 he bought the adjoining Exbury Estate and created the gardens, which now enjoy international fame. But Inchmery House remained the Rothschild's family home since then, and was only put on the market because the decision was taken to re-establish Exbury House as the principal family residence."