ABOUT FRIARS CLIFF
Records show that early in the 18th Century Friars Cliff was mainly a patchwork of small, managed, arable fields and farmland, with very few houses. On the above map the whole area is described as ‘Common Gate’ but according to old Tithe maps the name likely relates to a 'piece' of gorse/common land close to Steamer Point that had a few points of access. To allow commoner rights to graze cattle there etc, the 'piece' would probably have been gated.
The current Friars Cliff area was purchased by the ex-Prime Minister Lord Bute (1713-1792) who built High Cliff House in the late 1770s. Lord Bute was the botanist who helped establish the Physic Garden at Kew, which became the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Lord Bute's estate was vast, stretching from Chewton Bunny in the East to Mudeford Quay in the West. After a few years High Cliff House crumbled into the sea, and was later replaced by Highcliffe Castle, built further inland by Lord Bute's grandson, Lord Stuart De Rothesay.
At an early stage the family also owned the Bure Homage estate but once Highcliffe Castle was built, the Bure Homage estate was sold in the 1830s to Sophie Dawes, Baroness de Feuchères, and later to the Ricardo family.
In the 20th century, the Highcliffe Castle and Bure Homage estates were sold off at different times to form the road layout and housing we now see in Friars Cliff.