In 1922 Brigadier General Frank Marsh bought the Pinewood Estate in Hordle which then extended from Stopples Lane to Hare Lane and included hay meadows and a large and productive kitchen garden. He had served in the British army and been diplomatic attaché in Russia before the 1917 revolution. Like many relatively wealthy people he was attracted to the area by the healthy air, the proximity of the Forest for hunting and shooting, the sea for bathing and Lymington for yachting.
Frank and his wife Ursula were deeply involved in local affairs. Ursula helped raise money for the Hordle district nurse and both were involved in the Church and as patrons of local clubs. The grounds of the house were frequently used for village celebrations. With five children, the Marshes required a large number of staff in the house and on the estate. In the 1920s there were four live-in maids and a children’s nurse, but staffing was very difficult and they had to manage on fewer staff over the years.
According to his diaries, Frank frequently thought about selling up and moving back to London as he found Hordle very isolated and remote and found it very difficult to retain staff when there was nothing for them to do in the area on their days off.
Elizabeth Marsh, daughter of Frank, remembered her childhood: “At this stage I was very much in limbo being rather old for the nursery and in those days considered too young for ‘downstairs’. Rather a stultifying existence by today’s standards. There were no children of my age who my parents thought of ‘asking in’. I remember a very pretty little girl living down Stopples Lane whose parents ran a market garden who I did get to play with but she sadly died of dyptheria.”
During its life as a private residence Pinewood House and the surrounding estate provided many local people with lasting happy memories. The Hordle Village Fete, childrens’ parties, tennis parties and Brownie trips were all held there. His widow Ursula sold it in 1961 to run as a nursing home, it was demolished and developed in 1964/5.
The following gallery gives more information about the estate and the people who lived there.