Ashcott Homestead

    The Homestead started life in 1860 as two adjoining huts with old English newspaper lining the walls.

    English brothers John and Walter Tucker named it Ashcott, after their Somerset birthplace.

    John settled in the house with his wife Marie, changed his name to A’Deane to get her bequest and went on to be a member of the Hawke’s Bay Provincial Council.

    Towards the end of the century, the single-storey bungalow was transformed into a two-storey villa using local totara timber.

    Mr A’Deane’s eldest son and namesake John took over the homestead in 1886, added two bedrooms and a large billiard room and grew the stock to 18,000 sheep and 800 cattle.

    He also established the Hawke’s Bay Hunt, with many fences on the property still having lowered places to jump.

    At that time the guests would have travelled up the 14-kilometre private driveway, which is now Ashcott Rd.

    Among the guests were Lord and Lady Plunket, commander in chief of the Royal Navy Lord Jellicoe, the Prince of Wales, later Edward VIII, and Prime Minister Richard Seddon.

    The prince played a game of tennis at the homestead in 1920, while Mr Seddon visited to explain that the estate had to be broken up because of a new policy towards large landowners based overseas. As a result, Mr A’Deane sold about 600 hectares. The house remained in the family until Margaret A’Deane died in 1970. It was then locked up and fell into disrepair.

    Ashcott was used as a grain store and hayshed before becoming a “bohemian commune” with artists and potters in residence.

    The homestead was registered as a category 2 historic place in 1983.

    (The Dominion Post 3/12/2012)