Coombe House and attached terrace wall, steps, ha-ha, north wall, gate and pond of sunken garden


Heritage Category: Listed Building

Grade: II

List Entry Number: 1025752

Date first listed: 11-May-1983

Date of most recent amendment: 22-Dec-2016

Statutory Address: Coombe House, Cowfold Road, Bolney, Haywards Heath, RH17 5SG


Ordnance survey map of Coombe House and attached terrace wall, steps, ha-ha, north wall, gate and pond of sunken garden
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Statutory Address: Coombe House, Cowfold Road, Bolney, Haywards Heath, RH17 5SG

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: West Sussex

District: Mid Sussex (District Authority)

Parish: Bolney

National Grid Reference: TQ2482521480


House, with a C15 core, and a circa 1616 L-wing, restored and greatly extended circa 1919 in an Arts and Crafts style by the architect Granville Edward Stewart Streatfeild (1869-1947) for Theophilus Maxwell Davies. A conservatory and orangery, added in the later C20, are not of special interest.

Reasons for Designation

Coombe House, Cowfold Road, Bolney, a timber-framed building dating from the C15 with a C17 parlour wing, restored and extended circa 1919 by the architect Granville Streatfeild in Arts and Crafts Style, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: a combination of a vernacular timber-framed building with a surviving C15 open hall bay and a C17 four-bay parlour wing extended by asymmetrical well-articulated circa 1919 wings in varied good quality materials which successfully integrated the earlier parts of the house; * Plan: the C15 open hall was ceiled over in the C17 and a chimneystack inserted, the C17 four bay wing had three bays opened out into a great hall with a gallery circa 1919 but is still readable. The 1919 plan has principal rooms facing south and a room layout typical of a large gentleman's house of the period; * Interiors: fittings and fixtures include three C17 ceilings, a stone fireplace, wooden fireplace bressumers and doors, together with circa 1919 interiors with metalwork and joinery of high quality and staircases, chimneypieces and plastered beams; * Degree of survival: only a fragment of the C15 hall house is visible. Most of the first floor wall frame and roof structure of the C17 wing survives, but the floor to three bays and some wall frame were removed in 1919 to construct a great hall with a gallery. About a third of the circa 1919 Coombe House, mainly the service wing, was detached in the 1960s, and some linked parts demolished to provide a separate property.


The earliest part of the building is a C15 two storey range, probably originally with an open hall, running north to south, and now adjoining the north side of the west end of the later great hall. Thomas Walker Horsfield's 1835 'The History and Antiquities of the County of Sussex' states: 'Coombe House, an ancient mansion in Bolney, stands on a commanding eminence. The parlour and chamber over are of large size and wainscotted. This at an early period was owned by a family of the name of Costidel, of whom was James Costidel, who, in the year 1452, settled on Richard Costidel one messuage and 140 acres of arable land and 7 acres of meadow at the time that the Weald was first cleared of forest'.

In the C17, probably circa 1616, according to the date on a rebuilt end gable, a floor was inserted into the C15 wing and a parlour cross-wing added at right angles to it, changing the footprint of the building to an L-shape. The C17 addition now comprises the great hall and the adjoining sitting room with a bedroom over to the east.

The property appears on the 1813 Ordnance Survey drawing and on the 1842 Tithe map it is shown as L-shaped and was occupied by James Steyning at that date. The property is shown as Coombe House on the 1875 First Edition 25'' Ordnance Survey map. Large ponds are shown to the north and south of the house, a number of buildings are shown to the north of the house, probably farm buildings, and a track leads down from the north. There is no change on the 1897 version. On the 1911 Third Edition the outline of the house is still L-shaped.

In 1919 the owner, Theophilus Maxwell Davies, commissioned the architect Granville Edward Stewart Streatfeild (1869-1947) to restore and extend the existing building in an Arts and Crafts style. According to a statement by the owner at the time of these alterations, which is framed and located in the property, all the door furniture, light fittings, pendants and gates were made by the wrought iron maker Mr. W Smith of Balcombe Street, St. Pancras, London.

The GARDEN AND GROUNDS were also laid out at the same time, possibly by Streatfeild and the stone for the terrace, dry walls and steps were obtained from the fields beside the garden.

The 1938 Fourth Edition map shows the house as extended by Streatfeild, a formal garden with an ornamental pond with a rectangular outline with curved ends attached by a brick wall and gate to the east of the house and a drive leading to the north of the house. This map also shows the line of the ha-ha to the south of the terrace on the south side, and the division of the south lawn from the rest of the grounds. A large curved yew hedge on the east and west sides of the lawn may survive from this phase. Pre-existing ponds had stone edging and steps added which were sourced from surrounding fields. In the 1930s the landholding stretched in a large sub-rectangular block from Wineham Lane in the west to Bolney Chapel Lane in the east. The northern boundary was Cowfold Road, and the southern boundary extended into the parish of Twineham and in part across Bob Lane.

Theophilus Maxwell Davies lived at Coombe House until 1953 when the property was sold. In the early 1960s the property was sub-divided into two separate properties, the principal rooms remaining as Coombe House but the service wing was physically detached by the demolition of adjoining rooms in the two properties and named Little Coombe House.

The architect Granville Edward Stuart Streatfeild DSO OBE FRIBA (1869-1947), the son of a Northumberland rector, was educated at Marlborough College, articled first to the architect W O Milne in 1887, joined Reginald Blomfield as an improver in 1890, became assistant to Sir Thomas Graham Jackson in 1891 and studied at the RA schools. He started in independent practice in London in 1893 and clearly had a particular interest in vernacular houses as an article about three timber-framed houses in Cowden, Kent in the 1895 Volume of 'Archaeologia Cantiana' is illustrated with his drawings. He married Lucy Deane, a suffragette and one of the first female factory inspectors in the United Kingdom, in 1911. He was a member of the Sevenoaks Rural District Council and died at Westerham in 1947.


The core is late C15, with a circa 1616 L-wing, but it was restored and greatly extended circa 1919 in an Arts and Crafts style by the architect Granville Edward Stewart Streatfeild (1869-1947) for Theophilus Maxwell Davies. A later C20 conservatory and orangery on the east side are not of special architectural interest.

MATERIALS: the C15 and C17 ranges are timber-framed with plastered infill. The early C20 additions are part timber-framed, part brick in English bond and part tile-hung with some weather-boarded gables. The roof is entirely of Horsham stone slabs with tall moulded brick chimneystacks. The windows have metal casements with leaded lights and decorative catches.

PLAN: the original C15 part was rectangular in shape running north to south, probably with an open hall. In the early C17 the open hall was floored over and a parlour wing of four bays was added at the south end running eastwards, converting the plan to an L-shape. Circa 1919 the plan was greatly extended and the C15 part became an outer and inner hall with gallery over and the floors were removed from most of the C17 wing to provide a full-height Great Hall with a sitting room on the ground floor and bedroom above. An extension to the east of the original part of the property included the principal well staircase, a study and billiard room on the ground floor (later dining room and kitchen) and additional bedrooms and dressing rooms on the first floor. An attic storey contained some servants bedrooms. A further extension to the west provided a dining room (later Library) additional bedrooms, a day and night nursery and service rooms but in the early 1960s the day and night nursery and service end of the house were detached from Coombe House and given a separate address, Little Coombe, with the loss of some fabric adjoining the two parts. Currently (2016) Coombe House comprises on the ground floor an entrance hall leading into the Great Hall, a billiard room/library, a reception hall with main staircase, sitting room and dining room, kitchen and a later C20 conservatory and orangery. The first floor has a master bedroom and dressing room to the west, three other bedrooms, bathrooms and service stairs leading to two bedrooms in the attic.

EXTERIOR: the north or entrance front is asymmetrical and of two storeys and seven bays. The off central projecting gable has carved barge-boards and pendant at the apex with the date 1616, panelled timber-framing with plastered infill and a chamfered bressumer. The first floor has two two-light casement windows. The ground floor is of brick in English bond and has two two-light casements and a wide wooden double door. The set back section to the west has a tile-hung upper floor and the ground floor is of brick in English bond. There is a six-light casement on each floor. To the east of the central gable the first floor is timber-framed with plastered infill over a brick ground floor in English bond with a six-light first floor staircase window. The western end terminates in a projecting brick gable with a partly projecting end chimneystack. Attached at the west end is a red brick wall including a round-headed arch with cast iron pedestrian gate which forms the north boundary to the formal or sunken garden, which contains a rectangular pond with curved ends.

The east end has a hipped dormer and a projecting hip at the south end. It has casement windows on the first floor but is mainly obscured by a later C20 Conservatory and orangery on the ground floor.

The south or garden front is asymmetrical and of seven bays, including three projecting gables. The western gable is weather-boarded with carved barge-boards and pendants and has a single-light casement. The projecting timber-framed first floor has plastered infill and a five-light oriel window. The brick ground floor in English bond also has a five-light casement window. The set back adjoining section is of similar materials but has close-studding to the upper floor, two two-light casements on the first floor and a four-light casement on the ground floor. The central gable has carved barge-boards and pendants, small panel framing and a canted three tier five-light window to the Great Hall. The next section to the east is tile-hung to the upper floor, with occasional courses of curved tiles, and has a small central gable with a casement window and an entrance with a studded wooden door. The eastern end projecting gable is weather-boarded with carved barge-boards and moulded pendants over a projecting timber-framed first floor with plastered infill and a five-light casement window. The brick ground floor has a canted seven-light mullioned and transomed window.

The west end, separated from the circa 1919 service end of the house in the early 1960s, has a brick ground floor and is tile-hung above with some curved tiles.

INTERIOR: the entrance hall has early C20 double doors with ornamental hinges. The corner window incorporates two reused oak beams and the floor has ripple stone flagstones.

The north end of the Great Hall, originally the C15 open hall bay, has a massive C17 oak bressumer to the fireplace with rush-light marks and a circa 1919 tapestry with floral motifs attached at its base. The chamfered ends and the Flemish bond and Herringbone brickwork are early C20. On each side are c.1919 ornamental metal light fittings. The ceiling joists are chamfered.

The Great Hall extends over two floors and is of three bays with jowled posts. The upper part of the frame is exposed with square panels. The west wall has ogee arches. The roof has staggered purlins with a ridge-piece. The three queen struts and collars appear to be of early C20 date. The open fireplace at the east end appears to have been assembled circa 1919 using some old materials. The window seat has oak balusters underneath and there is a section of oak panelling on the south side of the fireplace. The windows have lion motifs to the catches.

The billiard room/library to the west has wide oak double doors with ornamental hinges and decorative door handles with crown emblems. The early C20 stone fireplace has a four-centred arch with stops and there are early C20 chamfered ceiling beams.

The main staircase is a circa 1919 oak well staircase with turned balusters and poppy head finials to the newel posts.

The sitting room to the east of the Great Hall has a C17 four-centred arched stone fireplace with stops flanked by oak doors. The ceiling has a C17 chamfered spine beam with lambs tongue stops and plain floor joists which were originally plastered over.

The adjoining dining room (originally a billiard room) has a large baronial type stone fireplace flanked by metal torcheres within a carved oak framed alcove. The fireplace has an ornamental cast iron fire-back of 1919 with similar decoration to the ceiling beams, which are of moulded plaster depicting squirrels, birds, flowers and grapes.

The kitchen (originally a study) has some exposed plain beams and an enunciator.

The first floor corridor in the C15 wing contains a similar fireplace to the one directly below it but with the addition of two small wooden cupboards. The tie beam and posts appear to be original but the crown-post roof appears early C20. The first floor C17 formerly external north wall of the parlour wing is exposed along the corridor and the eastern end section is separately framed from the rest.

The bedroom to the east of the Great Hall, which adjoins the corridor, has the C17 wall frame of small panels visible on three sides of the room, a chamfered spine beam, plain floor joists (originally plastered) and two cupboards either side of the fireplace with ledged plank doors and early C20 cock's-head hinges.

There is a separate attic staircase with moulded balusters and square moulded newel posts. The south-east bedroom has a chamfered spine beam. The attic roof has been lined and the roof structure was not visible.

SUBSIDIARY ITEMS. The grounds, which were also laid out c1919, possibly also by Streatfeild, include a formal or sunken garden, attached by a brick wall and gate to the east end of the house, containing an ornamental pond with a rectangular outline and curved ends. Attached to the south front of the house is a terrace of local stone, including ripple stone, which leads opposite the central gable to a southern spur with a flight of five semi-circular stone steps and an attached dry stone ha-ha.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that the conservatory and orangery, added in the later C20, are not of special architectural or historic interest.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 302396

Legacy System: LBS


Books and journals
L F, Salzman (Editor), A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 7, The Rape of Lewes, (1940), 136-140
Thomas, Walker-Horsfield, The History and Antiquities of the County of Surrey, (1835)
Granville Streatfeild's Biography, accessed 05/10/2016 from http://www.scottish
Heritage Collective Report on Coombe House, Bolney. June 2016 Project reference: 2294
Streatfeild's 1919 plans and elevations of Coombe House are held by the owners at Coombe House

End of official listing