In medieval times Gatehouses were heavily fortified entrances to cities or towns, or buildings such as castles and manor houses. Some still exist, such as Bargate in Southampton and at Durham Castle.

At the end of the Middle Ages, they tended to lose their defensive purpose and were converted into beautiful, grand entrance structures to manor houses or estates. In the 19th century gatehouses became separate free-standing buildings and more of a monumental structure designed to harmonise with the manor or mansion.

Well-known Gatehouses in the Wycombe area include that in London Rd at Loudwater, which was an entrance to the estate of Sir Philip Rose, and in Hughenden Valley Rd at the entrance to the National Trust property Hughenden Manor. Less well-known is a Gatehouse which was at another entrance to the Hughenden estate in Hughenden Rd, some half a mile south of the main entrance.

This gatehouse is known as Wycombe Lodge. It is in the ownership of Wycombe District Council and is now let as a private residence.

Wycombe Lodge was the second carriageway entrance to Hughenden Manor created for Benjamin Disraeli. It was built in 1870-71 to a design by the estate surveyor George Vernon and his son Arthur. George Vernon was the Land Agent managing Hughenden Manor and Arthur had just finished his training as an architect. This was under Edward Buckton Lamb, who was the architect hired by Disraeli in 1862 to remodel Hughenden Manor House.

This carriageway entrance crossed the Hughenden stream with a simple bridge and ended with antique iron gates and entrance piers. The entrance gates were removed from the parkland after the land transferred to the Council and now form the entrance to the walled garden at Hughenden Manor. Some of the Wellingtonia trees planted by Disraeli still remain near this entrance.

Similar Gatehouse in Canada

Interestingly there is similar Gatehouse to Wycombe Lodge at the entrance to Point Pleasant Park in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. This was built in 1896 as a dwelling for the park-keeper. A prominent local architect, who was responsible for over 250 buildings during his career, was retained to design the building.

The local Sable Island Institute are interested in the possibility that Wycombe Lodge was the model for the gatehouse at Point Pleasant Park. Whilst the design and overall dimensions are similar, there many differences of detail between the two buildings.

This could suggest that it was a resident of Wycombe or Hughenden who was familiar with the general appearance of Wycombe Lodge who emigrated to Nova Scotia, and then influenced the design of the Gatehouse there. Perhaps it was a local person who regularly walked past Wycombe Lodge, and was fascinated by its appearance, who after emigrating to Nova Scotia passed on his knowledge to the architect there.

Is there a reader with an ancestor who emigrated to Nova Scotia in the period 1885 - 95 who may have been that person? If you have any suggestions please email me or telephone 01494 755070.