Bitterne Grove (Now St Mary’s College)

Built c1790 by Richard Leversuch on what is thought to be the site of an older building.

Shortly afterwards it was purchased by the eccentric James Dott from where the expression ‘dotty’ is thought to come.

After James Dott’s death in 1844, Bitterne Grove passed to Alexander Hoyes who in turn passed away 1875. In 1878 the property and land were sold for £6,600 to Major Thomas Bramston Hamilton R A. His widow continued to live at the house until c1900 when it was acquired by I H Sanders (but occupied by Mrs Bramwell).

Bitterne Grove was purchased by French Catholics who first used it to train priests and then in 1922 opened a boarding and day school for boys. Subsequent additions to the building were a chapel and a fourth storey to the house itself.

During WWII, Bitterne Grove was used as a Home Guard station and luckily although a lodge was destroyed by bombing, the house suffered very little damage.

The house is currently the residence of the brothers of St Mary’s College.

(Text from THE LOST HOUSES OF SOUTHAMPTON by Jessica Vale which is available to browse at our Heritage Centre)