Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:


Ordnance survey map of PETWORTH HOUSE
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Statutory Address:

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

West Sussex
Chichester (District Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
SU 97586 21891



29/382 Petworth House

22.2.55 1

A Mansion. Property of the National Trust. This is the most important residence in the County of Sussex. The first building here was erected by the first Baron Percy who was granted a licence to crenellate in 1309. Of this building, the main structure of the chapel at the north end of the present house survives. The wine cellar beneath what was once the great hall probably dates from the C14. The eighth Earl of Northumberland rebuilt or enlarged the house between 1576 and 1582 and the ninth or "Wizard" Earl again did so after 1621. A block of this date survives towards the north end of the house, and also the long beer cellar in the basement which runs the whole length of the house. The main body of the house was erected by the sixth (or "Proud") Duke of Somerset between 1688 and 1696. The architect was a Frenchman, and it has been suggested that it was Pierre Puget. Christopher Hussey does not consider this to be the case and has suggested Daniel Marot. The back part of the house was never finished, and the whole of the east front north of the porch has never had any symmetrical arrangement of windows, etc and shows some of the older work of this house. The centre of the main front originally had a rising roof or dome and statues. A fire occurred in 1714, and Christopher Hussey has suggested that these were destroyed in that fire, but Dallaway's History of West Sussex states that they were removed by the third Earl of Egremont. Sir John Soane made plans for refacing the main front of the house with stucco but these were never carried out. About 1780 the third Earl of Egremont converted an arcaded loggia on the north side of the house into a room with a glass roof now called the North Gallery, to contain part of his famous collection of pictures and statuary. Between 1869 and 1872 Anthony Salvin remodel- led the rooms at the south end of the house as the private apartments of the family and added the porch on the east side.

The house is 322 feet long. The main or west front has 3 storeys and 21 windows. It is built of local freestone ashlar with Portland stone for the ornamental sec- tions. Above the first floor is a heavy moulded cornice. Another cornice above second floor and solid parapet with panels of balustrading. Mansarded slate roof. The 3 centre window bays and the 3 window bays each end project and have cornices over the ground floor windows surmounted by busts and elaborate volutes above the first floor windows supporting the cornice. The 3 centre window bays are flanked by rusticated pilasters with ornamental panels above the first floor win- dows and imitation balustrading below them, also projecting cornices over the ground floor windows with consoles. All the windows in the front are sash windows with coved reveals, keystones over and glazing bars intact. In front of the House is a terrace approached by 3 steps with, at each end, a short wall ending in a pier surmounted by an urn. From this branches out a cast iron railing which separates the garden from the park and double gate with creating.

The south side has 3 storeys and basement above ground level. Six windows, those in the basement having segmental heads. The 2 centre window bays break forward slightly.

The north front is flanked by rusticated pilasters with a complicated design of lines and niches in them. Beyond it projects on the ground floor only the North Gallery. This has 5 round-headed windows (now boarded up), each flanked by rusti- cated pilasters.

The south end of the east front, up as far as Salvin's porch, has been refaced in the same manner as the other fronts. This has 5 windows and then a projection of 3 window bays with rusticated quoins. Three storeys and basement above ground level. North of this the porch projects at right angles and joins the house to the Estate Office.

In the centre of it is a carriage arch through it forming a porte cochere flanked by twin free-standing rusticated columns on high plinths. On each side of the arch is a solid portion containing one window and a niche flanked by rusticated pilasters. Cornice and blocking course over the whole. The east face to the north of the porch is plain and undecorated, with windows irregularly placed. Stone rubble and cement. It has 5 buttresses and at the north end a projection containing the high pointed window of the Chapel in a wide reveal and a large segmental-headed window over this.

The interior includes the Carved Room containing probably the finest work that Grinling Gibbons ever executed in a private house; carving by John Seldon in the Chapel and elsewhere; and the Grand Staircase painted by Louis Laguerre in 1715- 1720 after the fire.

Many famous people have been entertained at the house; Edward VI in 1551; the Archduke Charles of Austria, afterwards the Emperor Charles VI on 28 December 1703; the Prince Regent, the Tsar Alexander I and Frederick William III of Prussia on 24 June 1814; and Edward VII on many occasions.

Listing NGR: SU9763321862


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

Legacy System number:
Legacy System:


Books and journals
Dallaway, J, History of the Western Division of Sussex, (1815)
Dallaway, J, History of the Western Division of Sussex, (1815)
Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England, Part 44 West Sussex,


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

Images of England

Images of England was a photographic record of every listed building in England, created as a snap shot of listed buildings at the turn of the millennium. These photographs of the exterior of listed buildings were taken by volunteers between 1999 and 2008. The project was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Date: 29 Jun 2006
Reference: IOE01/14474/29
Rights: Copyright IoE Mr Michael Parry. Source Historic England Archive
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