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Little Green was first recorded under that name in 1695. It became the seat of the manor under the Peckhams who acquired it through a number of land deals. In 1734 Richard Peckham died a minor and the manor passed to his sister Sarah, who married Thomas Phipps. On Sarah's death in 1793 her eldest son Thomas Phipps succeeded and assumed the name of Peckham Phipps.

It was Thomas Peckham Phipps who invited Humphry Repton to visit Little Green in 1793 and advise on its improvements, and from the inscription, 'TPP 1802' on the present house it appears he also replaced the old manor house which Repton so disliked.

Little Green is shown as a significant house on a county map of 1724. By 1795 it appears as a collection of buildings within cultivated fields. However we know from Humphrey Repton's Red Book and his description of Little Green in 1793 that there was also surrounding woodland and sheep pasture with clumps of trees. Humphrey Repton visited Little Green in 1793. This was 17 years before he visited Up Park. Perhaps this represented one upmanship for Thomas Peckham Phipps of Little Green.

Repton recognised the landscape advantages of the site and capitalised on these in his red book recommendations. 'That beautiful glade to the east ... will be the most striking feature about the place with the following trifling alterations'. This mostly involved removing a hedge, fence and row of elms to open up views. He even suggested '...this valley made a leading feature, I think there will be no impropriety in changing the name Little Green to Little Green Vale or rather GREEN=VALE'. He also illustrated improved views to Compton Down, including the suggestion for a Doric on its top.

Repton disliked the old house of Little Green and made much of the need to replace it as part of the landscape improvements. His plan of 'The Green Vale' shows a new house and kitchen garden to the north, with an avenue cut through the woodland and the green vale leading up to the south lodge of Up park.

It would appear Repton's recommendations were carried out. The 1880 Ordnance Survey map (surveyed 1867 to 1874) shows the extent of parkland trees and clumps within Compton Park, the shape and bulk of Littlegreen Wood and the avenue cut through the woodland all of which bear a striking resemblance to Repton's recommendations as shown in his plan. The only change is the disappearance of the eastern track to south lodge by 1880. This illustrates that the landscape setting of Little Green has changed little over the last 200 years.

An undated (after 1895) photograph album of Little Green shows a well-kept landscape setting with mature parkland trees, the avenue cut through the large beech trees under planted with trimmed laurel or rhododendron edged by bulb plantings and a well-stocked kitchen garden.

The manor was bequeathed to the godson of Thomas Peckham Phipp,s Admiral Sir Phipps Hornby and in 1879 held by his son, Rear-Admiral Geoffrey T Phipps Hornby. However by 1880 he was living at Lordington and Little Green was occupied by T B Gunston Esq. In 1910, Geoffrey's son Capt. Geoffrey Stanley Phipps Hornby sold Little Green estate to Harold James Reckitt, who carried out many improvements to the house in 1913. On his death it passed to his brother Sir Philip Bealby Reckitt, 3rd baronet, who died in 1944.

West Sussex County Council purchased the property in 1948 and it was used as a children's home until it closed in 1956. Three years later it opened as Little Green School which it remains today.

People associated with this site

Improver: Humphry Repton (born 21/04/1752 died 24/03/1818)

Features

tree clump

Compton Down to the south-west of the house is a grassy hill rising sharply in front of the house to a height of 171 metres, topped by a commemorative clump of beech trees, named Jubilee Clump.

ha-ha

The house and gardens are separated from Compton Park by a low flint wall ha-ha around the house.