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Written by JulieW
(11/30/2006 12:25 p.m.)
I thought you might be interested to see it.
It has a rather interesting history.
From 1620 till 1731 it was the home of a branch of the Wither family. In 1731 it passed to Edward Bramston on his marriage to Henrietta Maria Wither.
In 1763 it passed to their son William Bramston who married Mary Chute, of The Vyne. It was this couple who are the Mr and Mrs Bramston mentioned in JA's letters.
Mary Bramston was a keen reader and appears to have brought from George Austen his copy of Dodsley's Collection of Poems by Several Hands when his library was sold off when the family moved to Bath.
Sir Hugh Smiley(BT) who was the Chairman of The Jane Austen Society till his death in 1990 lived there as a boy.
He had fond memories of the Hall:
From 1919 to1926 my father rented Oakley Hall from Major Archibald Hicks-Beach, whose family had inherited the house from the Bramstones.
Miss Bates of Manydown Park formerly the home of the Bigg-Withers, once told me that there had been a first edition of "Pride and Prejudice" in the library at Oakley.
And apropos of nothing but a lovley story....
In January 1920 Sir Edward Cooper , Lord Mayor of London , who lived at Berrydown Court, near Overton gave a children's fancy dress party at the Mansion House(in London-JW). I went as Mr Ddarcy . My jacket - which I still have - was made by a tailor in Basingstoke. The five Miss Portals from Overton went as the Misses Bennets
JAS Report (1988)
Some of the contents of the library managed to stay in the house when it became a bording school, Hilsea College( a co- educational independant boarding school).
I'm not sure if they are stil there..but from the Oakley Hall website( linked below) there stil appear to be a good colection of books!
It is still avaiable to visit today...it's a rather expensive conference centre( I don't think we'll be using it in the future for a ROP trip however much we'd like to...)
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