- Heritage Category:
- Park and Garden
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- East Sussex
- Lewes (District Authority)
- East Sussex
- Lewes (District Authority)
- East Sussex
- Lewes (District Authority)
- National Grid Reference:
- TQ 42140 19150
Parkland dating from the early C18 and forming the setting for a country house. The pleasure grounds dating from the late C18, have considerable ornamental planting introduced in the mid C19 and developed further into the early C20.
Little is known of the early history of Newick Park, but there seems to have been a medieval deer park situated to the south of the modern site, embracing Old Park and Oldpark Wood, situated to the east of Town Littleworth, and Park Farm (to the south-east of the registered area, OS 6", 1873).
Newick Place, a mid C16 iron master's house was rebuilt in the late C17 for Francis Millington. On his death c1693, the estate was inherited by his daughter Martha who was married to Thomas Mansell, created Baron Mansell of Margam in 1712. In 1713 the gardens were described as being situated in 'very healthfull air (in) dry sandy country'. The walled garden was well planted with a wide variety of soft fruit, there was a 6 acre orchard with fruit trees and 'on the South West side of the house is a fine Grove of Trees & Rookery wch. Protects it from the only Sea Wind that could affect it and all the Avenues leading to the house are planted with different walks of trees, as Limes, Wallnuts, Chestnut, Elm and Oak..'. These details relate to letting particulars which also itemise 36 acres of woodland and a park consisting of 170 acres of arable, pasture and meadow (Mansell, 1713).
The property remained in the Mansell family until 1765, when it passed to George Venables Vernon, 2nd Baron of Kinderton and his wife Lady Louisa (née Mansell). An estate plan and survey of 1765 shows the extent of the northern part of the estate with the house, walled garden (on its existing site), a lawn to the south and the Home Field to the north-east of the house. This complex was surrounded on the east and south sides by the Great Mead with formal avenues of trees leading out from the house, lawn and Home Field into Great Mead, where there was a fishpond situated in the southern corner (Budgen, 1765). The Vernons rebuilt the main part of the house as it is seen today -it was known as New Place- and they seem also to have carried out extensive landscaping (Yeakell and Gardner 1783, 1795).
From 1794-1809, Newick Park was let to Sir Elijah Impey (1732-1809) who had served in the East India Company as Chief Justice of Bengal. He undertook some alterations to the house and estate, including building Pinnacle Lodge at the eastern entrance. The estate was acquired in 1816 by James Henry Sclater (1793-1864), a founder member of the RHS, who together with his son James Henry the younger (1819-97) was responsible for much of the ornamental planting between 1840-60. This included The Dell, described in 1876 (Journal of Horticulture, 1876) and praised by William Robinson in his book The English Flower Garden. Robinson made particular note of the Fern Garden which used both native and exotic ferns massed in both shady and sunny spots. A series of photographs c1900 by the Rev. F S Sclater (1853-1933) show Newick Park and its gardens with planting in the style advocated by Robinson (Landskip and Prospect, 1989).
Sir William Joynson-Hicks bought Newick in 1920 and continued the planting of exotics, particularly new species from America and the Mediterranean. The site remains in private ownership. Planning permission for a golf course in the park was granted in 1991.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING Newick Park lies to the north of Lewes, about 1.6km south of Newick village on the Newick-Barcombe Road, which leads southwards off the A272 Haywards Heath-Maresfield. The park of 74ha adjoins the Newick-Barcombe Road on its northern side and for a section of its western boundary to the south of Ridgeland Bridge it lies alongside the Cockfield Lane /Town Littleworth Road, both being minor country roads. On its other boundaries the parkland is surrounded by arable and small blocks of woodland.
The house is sited in the northern part of the site with the parkland extending to the south, on south-facing slopes which fall away to the Longford Stream which runs in a direction north-west to south-east. Beyond the stream the land rises again to form a wooded ridge. Immediately to the west of the house is a wooded valley, The Dell, with a gently sloping plateau of arable land beyond further westwards. The principal views lie south-westwards from the house over Lower Park Pond to the South Downs in the distance. Other views are gained looking towards the house from the Longford Stream and from the wooded ridge to the south of the house.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The principal drive enters Newick Park at Pinnacle Lodge (early C19, listed grade II) situated on the south side of the Newick-Barcombe road. This lodge, built in the gothic style for Isir Elijah Impey, has been described as a 'charming late Georgian folly' (Nairn and Pevsner, 1977). From here the drive leads south before curving round westwards to approach the east front of the house. From this drive there are views out to the south and east over the gently undulating countryside.
From the mid C18-c1830 the main drive entered the south western tip of the estate at Park Gate 8km to the south-west of Newick House on the Cockfield Lane at Town Littleworth. It crossed through Oldpark Wood, ran northwards across Old Park and cut through the centre of the woodland cut with etoile rides, over Longford Stream then, near the house, turned sharply westwards (Blandford, 1991). This took it past the stable block to arrive at the east front of the house.
PRINCIPAL BUILDING Newick Park (listed grade II) was remodelled in the mid C18 by Lord and Lady Vernon, but some C16 work survives internally. The stable block (C18, listed grade II) lies to the north-west of the house.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS An C18 ornamental screen wall (listed grade II) adjoining the stable block, conceals farm buildings from the house and stables. Also adjoining the stable block is an ornamental dairy (late C18,listed grade II). The farm buildings include an C18 granary (listed grade II) and Hay Barn (listed grade II), together with an early C19 Game Larder (listed grade II), and Ice House (early C19, listed grade II), which lies in the field beyond the eastern end of The Dell and the Dairy.
A narrow terrace runs the length of the south front of the house with a lawn directly to the south which is bounded by the ha-ha, separating the park from the gardens. The ha-ha forms a boundary on this south and on the east sides. Field archaeology suggests an extensive garden in this area, of which nothing above-ground survives.
The Dell lies directly to the west of the house, and is essentially a stream bed in a steep cutting which becomes increasingly steep as it runs northwards towards Pinnacle Lodge. It has been suggested that its form is the result of early C16 iron workings, and several iron-rich chalybeate springs rise in the area (Landskip and Prospect, 1989). It is an enclosed area, not visible from the house and was laid out with winding paths to form pleasure grounds, by the early C18. At its eastern end there are a series of natural sandstone rock faces. Between 1840-60, James Henry Sclater and his son added to the existing early C18 plantings, introducing a variety of specimens brought back from plant hunting expeditions to the Far East. They built a Norwegian Hut and Rustic Summerhouse which stood on the northern bank of the dell neither of which survive although an earlier brick summerhouse (C18, listed grade II) survives. A brick-faced bridge with rustic rockwork, dated 1865, crosses the steep gorge of the Dell and carries a path across from the Stable and Dairy to a walk along the north side of the Dell.
PARK From the west end of the pleasure gardens, a path leads down the western side of the park to Lower Park Pond, a lake constructed sometime in the late C18. To the south of this the park slopes gently upwards towards the Old Park. Lodge Pond, further to the south-east is not documented until the late C18.
The present area of landscape parkland seems to have been formed from enclosure fields during the mid-late C18, although its relationship to an earlier medieval deer park cannot be discounted, as noted above. By 1783 there was an elaborate etoile, a series of rides arranged as a star shape radiating from a central point, cut through the woodland on the summit of the hill to the south of Lower Park Pond and just to the north of Old Park Wood (Yeakell and Gardner, 1783, 1795). Only a few of the original trees from this feature now remain. The carriage drive which led in from the south-west corner of the park at Park Gate led through the centre of the etoile before crossing the parkland.
KITCHEN GARDEN To the north of The Dell is the 2ha brick-walled kitchen garden (listed grade II) which dates from the C18. Along the outside of its south and east walls are the remains of double avenues of sweet chestnut.
Printed Chris Blandford Associates, Newick Park. A Landscape Proposal (March 1991) Landskip and Prospect, Newick Park, Sussex (1989) I Nairn and N Pevsner, Buildings of England: Sussex, 1977, p572 Journal of Horticulture and Cottage Gardener, 63 (1876),pp 349-50 Gentleman's Magazine, v.63, 1054 W Robinson, The English Flower Garden, 1883
Maps Richard Budgen, Survey of the Newick Estate for Lord Vernon, 1765 (East Sussex County Record Office) Yeakell and Gardner, An actual topographical survey of the County of Sussex' 1783 (East Sussex County Record Office) Yeakell, Gardner, and Gream, Map of Sussex, 1795 (East Sussex County Record Office) C and J Greenwood, A new survey of Sussex, 1823-24 (East Sussex County Record Office) OS Old Series, 1" to 1 mile, published 1815 OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1873
Illustrations Photographs of Newick Park and Gardens, c 1900 by the Rev F Sclater (1853-1935). Private collection
Archival items Mansell Family Archives (1713-5). Copies held at East Sussex County Record Office (AMS 5675/1-5 Sale particulars, 1925 (East Sussex County Record Office)
Description written : Register Inspector : Dr H Jordan Revised K Campbell, June 2000
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
- Legacy System number:
- 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