Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1000202
Date first listed: 25-Mar-1987
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
County: East Sussex
District: Wealden (District Authority)
Parish: Little Horsted
National Grid Reference: TQ 46927 18431
A late C20 garden designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, within a setting of the remnants of C19 ornamental woodland and parkland.
Horsted Place was owned by the Law family in the mid C19. It was sold to Mr Francis Barchard in 1849, for whom Samuel Daukes built the present house. Barchard died in 1856, but his family continued to live at Horsted until it was bought by Lord and Lady Rupert Neville in 1962. They engaged Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe (1900-96) to alter the house and to design its setting and gardens. Following the death of Lord Rupert Neville in the mid 1980s, the house was sold and developed as the present hotel, with most of the parkland surrounding the garden being laid out as a golf course.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Horsted Place lies to the immediate north-west of the A26 Lewes to Uckfield road, c 3km south-west of Uckfield town centre. The registered site comprises c 1ha of ornamental gardens and a further 7ha of woodland and parkland. The site occupies the crest of a low ridge which slopes westwards and southwards down towards a shallow stream valley and which overlooks the level pasture land of the river valleys of the Uck and the Ouse, lying beyond the site some 1km further to the west.
A belt of woodland within the site screens the grounds from the main road which forms its eastern boundary although storm damage and subsequent road straightening immediately to the west of the church have opened up vistas of the house from the road. Farmland, crossed by an east/west line of pylons (c 350m north of the house), abuts the north-west boundary of the site, while to the south and west the site is bounded by the golf course, which merges into a landscape of pasture, ponds and small woodlands.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main entrance to Horsted Place, which also served the previous house on the site, is from the A26, c 280m north of the house. The drive enters through white timber gates, turns sharply south-westwards past the site of the C19 lodge (shown on the Tithe map of 1841 but now gone) and follows a straight course through a belt of woodland to the gravelled forecourt on the principal, north-west front of the house. A secondary, service access leads directly from the A26 to the house, 300m south of the main entrance.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Horsted Place (listed grade II) lies c 100m north-west of the main road, on the crest of the ridge, and enjoys extensive views to the south and west. It was built in 1850-2 in the Victorian Gothic style and is notable for its rich pattern of blue brick diapers on a red-brick exterior. The architect was Samuel Whitfield Daukes (1811-80) with George Myers (who executed many of A W N Pugin's designs) as the builder. Horsted Place was reduced in size in the early 1960s by the demolition of the servants' wing on its north-east side; alterations were carried out by Geoffrey Jellicoe and his partner Francis Coleridge. Daukes' house replaced a former house, presumably demolished by Barchard, which lay adjacent to the main road, c 110m to the south-east of the present house (Tithe map).
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The ornamental gardens lie to the south-east of the house and extend as a belt of woodland shrubbery south-westwards alongside the main road. The present layout was designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe in 1966 with planting developed by Lady Rupert Neville.
A flagged and shrub-planted terrace enclosed by a pierced, trefoil-pattern balustrade, built with the house in 1852, surrounds the house on its east and south fronts. The East Terrace opens onto a large, rectangular lawn. Four triangular corner beds of annuals now (1997) replace the lawn's former scatter of rose-filled white metal baskets, modelled by Carl Toms on Humphry Repton's designs for the Royal Pavilion at Brighton (CL 1956). A flagged, axial path borders the north side of the lawn. It is flanked on the north side by the Orangery, constructed in the 1960s as an eastward extension of the house, on the site of a former conservatory, to house a swimming pool. A high wall, part of the mid C19 garden layout, extends eastwards from the Orangery and shelters a wide shrub border at its foot. A parallel lower wall, topped by pleached limes, extends eastwards from the South Terrace, enclosing the lawn from the paddock and parkland to the south-west. The axial path passes beneath rose-covered metal arches and bisects the large sinuous shrub bed which encloses the eastern end of the lawn. A white-painted aviary, sited at the western corner of the shrub bed, overlooking the lawn, forms a focus for views from the house. Eastwards beyond the shrub bed, the path passes through a wrought-iron gate leading into the woodland shrubbery. A former hedge along this boundary marked the limit of the mid C19 formal, enclosed garden (OS 1st edition map surveyed 1873-5).
Secondary grass paths lead from the rectangular lawn around the north and south ends of the shrub bed. The northern path leads through a tunnel-arbour of apple trees before turning south, past the site of a metal folly (designed by Jellicoe but now (1997) gone) to meet the axial path at the wrought-iron gate. The southern path meanders southwards through grassy glades and light tree cover, planted as part of Jellicoe's scheme, towards the woodland shrubbery. A minor parallel path passes through a laburnum tunnel-arbour, constructed on a curve, which frames a vista of the parkland (now golf course) to the distant South Downs to the south-west.
East of the wrought-iron gate, the path turns and runs southwards through glades of ornamental shrubbery laid out within the belt of mixed native and exotic woodland, bordering the main road, which is shown established on the OS 1st edition but which was considerably damaged in the storm of 1987. A circular sunken lawn forms a feature on the path route c 100m south-east of the house. It is surrounded by sections of clipped box and shrubbery and is approached down steps from both the north and south. It appears to occupy part of the site of the previous house.
PARK The surviving (1997) areas of parkland lie to the west and south of the house. The area to the south, extending to the northern edge of the kitchen garden, is known now as the Paddock. It is shown on the OS 1st edition with a scatter of parkland trees. None of these survive and the Paddock has recently (mid 1990s) been replanted with several new clumps. A narrow belt of parkland to the west, with a few trees surviving from those shown on the OS 1st edition, separates the entrance front of the house from the golf course. All the remaining former parkland as shown on the OS 1st edition, beyond the west and south boundaries of the registered site, now forms part of the golf course.
KITCHEN GARDEN The kitchen garden lies 200m to the south-west of the house. It is a rectangular, brick-walled enclosure, measuring c 80m by 60m, with a glasshouse built within the garden on the north-west wall and with bothy buildings backing on to it. The garden is shown established on the Tithe map of 1841 and is now (1997), with the glasshouse, used for propagating purposes. Several former farm buildings, 30-40m north-east of the garden, have been converted to use as a management centre.
Country Life, 124 (7 August 1958), pp 276-9; (14 August 1958), pp 320-3; 154 (5 July 1973), pp 6-8 I Nairn and N Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Sussex (1965), p 564 T Wright, Gardens of Britain 4, (1978), pp 152-3 G Plumptre, Collins Book of British Gardens (1985), pp 130-2
Maps William Figg, Tithe map for Little Horsted, 1841 (East Sussex Record Office)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1874 2nd edition published 1899 3rd edition published 1911 OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1874 3rd edition published 1910
Description written: May 1997 Amended: July 1998 Register Inspector: VCH Edited: March 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 1109
Legacy System: Parks and Gardens
This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.
End of official listing