A mid to late C20 plantsman's garden with formal elements and extensive ornamental woodland.
A house and park were established at Heaselands by 1874 (OS 1st edition). In 1898, Sir Alexander D Kleinwort began to form the present family estate, his son, Mr Ernest Kleinwort coming with his wife to live at Heaselands in 1932. He rebuilt the house and, from 1934 until his death in the late 1970s, designed and laid out the gardens, influenced by neighbouring Sussex gardens such as Sheffield Park (qv) and by the writings of the landscape architect Richard Sudell (1900-68). Heaselands later became the home of his son, Sir Richard Kleinwort and the estate remains (1998) in private ownership.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Heaselands lies adjacent to the west side of Isaacs Lane, which forms the A273, some 2.5km north of Burgess Hill and 1.5km south of Haywards Heath. The 22ha registered site comprises c 2ha of formal gardens and lawns adjacent to the house, 16ha of ornamental woodland, water gardens and a small area of parkland, and c 4ha of paddocks and kitchen gardens. The site slopes gently to the south-west and is cut north-east to south-west through the centre by a narrow stream valley which becomes progressively deeper and steep-sided through the south-west half of the site. The roughly triangular site is enclosed along its north-west and east boundaries by mixed shelter belts, the eastern belt, dominated by pine and rhododendron, abutting Isaacs Lane. To the south, the ornamental woodland merges into the woodland of Great Wood, beyond which the high crest of the South Downs, some 9km distant, may be glimpsed. The surrounding landscape in the immediate vicinity of the site comprises gently rolling, well-wooded mixed farmland.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES
Heaselands is approached from Isaacs Lane in the north-east corner, a gravelled drive flanked along part of its length by exotic conifers and tall shrubbery entering between stone gate piers and following a gentle S-shaped curve 1km south-westwards to the forecourt on the principal, east front of the house. The forecourt is enclosed on its east side by an extensive sandstone rockery, laid out in the 1930s and planted with dwarf conifers and a wide range of acid-loving shrubs. The present drive was laid out by Ernest Kleinwort c 1963 for use in preference to the former drive which, flanked by lawns dotted with specimen tees and shrubs, enters through wrought-iron gates beside a lodge (built between 1898 and 1909) some 0.8km further south along Isaacs Lane, and follows a westerly course to the east front.
The present house sits on level ground at the west-centre of the estate. It is H-shaped in plan and built in soft pink and brown brick with two storeys and a further attic storey below a pitched roof, which is partly of Horsham slate and partly tiled. The entrance front has two projecting gabled bays, one of which, with the two-storey entrance porch at the south end, is half-timbered. The house was rebuilt in its present form in 1933(4 on the site of a previous farmhouse, shown on the 1st edition OS map of 1874 and enlarged by 1909. To the immediate west of the house, ranges of brick outbuildings, stables and coach houses form two open courtyards.
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS
The formal and ornamental woodland gardens lie on the slopes to the south-west, south and south-east of the house. The garden front opens from a central loggia onto a raised terrace, laid out with stone paving and two small, lozenge-shaped lawns, and surrounded by a low parapet. South from the terrace and on the central axis of the loggia, a flight of stone steps and a path lead 10m down to the rectangular Sunken Garden. Laid out by 1937, its sandstone walls enclose raised perimeter beds, planted in 1997 as rose borders, and a central lily pool flanked by four quarters of lawn surrounded by stone-paved paths. The Sunken Garden is set within the broad sweep of the main lawn, which extends some 140m southwards from the terrace down to the stream valley, its steepening lower slopes dotted with specimen trees of mixed ages and a few island beds of low shrubbery. West of the Sunken Garden the lawn is enclosed by tall shrubbery with mature pine trees, against which sits a small brick and tile-roofed tea house while to the far south-west a stone-walled ha-ha separates the lawn from the Park Field beyond.
On the south-east side of the lawn, enclosing borders of mixed shrubbery with trees conceal several self-contained gardens, laid out on terraces cut into the southward slope. A path from the east end of the Sunken Garden leads to a further, stone and slate-roofed garden house, on the south side of which an oak door leads into the Walled Garden. Constructed in 1948 on the site of a former tennis court and enclosed on its north and west sides by brick walls, its raised borders are edged with sandstone blocks and planted with low-growing rhododendrons and conifers. Beyond the tall, clipped yew hedge which encloses its east side is a tennis court laid out in 1937 and surrounded by further clipped yew. On the immediate south side of the Walled Garden and tennis court and entered down circular steps from the lawn is a rectangular former Rose Garden, originally a children's garden and now (1997) laid out with four beds of lavender varieties around a central sundial. Steps on the south side lead down into the Paved Garden, surrounded by clipped yew hedges and redesigned in the late 1970s from a former herbaceous garden to the present twelve square beds set in stone paving and planted now (1997) with roses and, at the east end, with herbaceous peonies. South of the Paved Garden and entirely surrounded with shrubbery is a walled enclosure containing a swimming pool. The sheltered southward slope on the east side of these contained gardens is planted as a Warm Garden with species including rhododendron, magnolia, hydrangea and camellia.
South of the main lawn and enclosed gardens the west-flowing stream valley contains the Water Gardens, constructed in 1957-8 as a series of linear ponds connected by waterfalls and meandering lengths of stream. The surrounds of the three upper, larger ponds are abundantly planted with exotic trees, shrubs and waterside plants while the lowest pond and the westward continuation of the stream run beneath a canopy of mature oak and pine underplanted with massed spring bulbs and clumps of evergreen azaleas. On the south side of the stream valley, on ground rising more gently towards the south-east boundary of the site, the Rhododendron Woodland, developed from 1957, is planted with massed rhododendron beneath a canopy of oak woodland, shown established in 1874 (OS 1st edition), mixed with pine planted in the mid C20. In the far south-east corner of the woodland, just to the north of the boundary with Heasewood Farm, an open, c 100m x 30m glade is now (1997) sown for wild flowers; on its north side, on the site of a former croquet lawn, island beds containing a National Collection of Knaphill azaleas are laid out.
A small area of parkland, the Park Field, extends for some 250m south-westwards from the house on a gentle slope from the ha-ha to the boundary woodland. It is dotted with a few isolated conifers of mixed ages, planted since 1909 (OS 3rd edition).
The kitchen garden lies to the north of the house and the northernmost service courtyard. Of the two rectangular, brick-walled enclosures, the westernmost is now (1997) planted with orchard trees in lawn while the easternmost contains an indoor swimming pool, constructed in the 1960s.
To the north-west of the present drive and on land between the drive and the eastern boundary along Isaacs Lane, some 3.5ha of land are laid out as grassed paddocks enclosed by post and rail fencing.
Country Life, 140 (8 September 1966), pp 536-8
Heaselands, guidebook, (nd, c late 1970s)
T Wright, Gardens of Britain 4, (1978), pp 151-2
Horticultural Week, (18 April 1986), pp 20-1
Heaselands, West Sussex: Inspector's Report, (English Heritage 1988)
OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1874
2nd edition published 1899
3rd edition published 1912
OS 25" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1874
3rd edition published 1910
Comprehensive notes and sketches made by Ernest Kleinwort during the construction of the garden are held in a private collection. [Notes compiled from this archive including references to Richard Sudell's Landscape Gardening (1933), are contained in the Inspector's Report on Heaselands.]
Description written: November 1998
Register Inspector: VCH
Edited: June 2000