Barnham Court (also known as Barnham House)5308

Littlehampton, England, West Sussex, Arun

Brief Description

The house was built around 1640, with associated gardens. There is an orchard, garden and warren to the south-east of the house. There is also a large marl pit and further orchard. A path linking the house to the nearby church is still extant today. A small formal garden with criss-crossing paths was laid out behind the building in the 19th century. Tall hedges of box and yew survived in 1916 but most had gone by 1992.

History

The medieval manor house mentioned from 1253 appears to have stood on the site of the present Barnham Court or in the close to the east of it. In 1337 it had a dovecot and two gardens.

Features
  • Pond
  • Description: A pond north-west of the house was extended southwards in the 1970s to surround a high island approached by a bridge from the east.
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house is a red brick mansion built in the time of the Stuarts. Its pillasters, window surrounds and shaped gables are very like Kew Palace in Surrey, Albourne Place and Ford Place. Pevsner considers it the best of its date in the county.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Orchard, Rabbit Warren
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Barnham
History

Detailed History

The medieval manor house mentioned from 1253 appears to have stood on the site of the present Barnham Court or in the close to the east of it. In 1337 it had a dovecot and two gardens.

The present Gentry's house dates from around 1640. The house is a red brick mansion built in the time of the Stuarts. Its pillasters, window surrounds and shaped gables are very like Kew Palace in Surrey, Albourne Place and Ford Place. The manor being owned elsewhere, the builder would have been a lessee, possibly with City of London connections (Hudson). Pevsner considers it the best of its date in the county.

The house was probably built for a rich merchant in the style known as Artisan Mannerism. Although often part of a working farm, the house has been a gentleman's residence, the style and calibre of the building setting it apart from a farmer's dwelling. The interior was re-modelled in the early-19th-century and the 17th-century servants' wing was extended upwards in a matching style.

In 1670, the house was assessed as having 12 hearths. When the manor demesne was sold to Reverend Thomas Musgrave, it consisted of 201 acres. In 1756 Barnham House, as it was then known, was owned by John Page of Watergate, MP for Chichester. By 1779, it was owned by George White Thomas, MP of Yapton and Watergate and was still in his possession in 1835. The 1849 Tithe Map and Apportionment for Barnham shows the ownership to be with Charles Crosbie and occupied by Richard Cosens. By 1859 the owner was Richard Cosens whose family had leased it since 1756 or earlier.

In 1762 an avenue of limes ran north-eastwards from the entrance front of the house.

There is an orchard, garden and warren to the south-east of the house. There is also a large marl pit and further orchard. A path linking the house to the nearby church is still extant today. The churchyard field to the north of the house, beyond the 1849 boundary was owned by the Duke of Richmond, together with the farm buildings, but now appears to have been absorbed into the grounds of Barnham Court.

A small formal garden with criss-crossing paths was laid out behind the building in the 19th century. Tall hedges of box and yew survived in 1916 but most had gone by 1992. By 1880, the garden was more formal, with an avenue from the house to the farm and a layout of paths to the west (main front) and north with a pond.

Land to the north of the house between the house and the Barnham brook, including the former marl pits was laid out as a wild garden in the late-1930s. A pond north-west of the house was extended southwards in the 1970s to surround a high island approached by a bridge from the east.

Passing through various ownerships, the estate belonged to a Mrs Kittow in the early-1930s. It was sold in 1934 to William Forse and it remained in the family until 1993.

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References

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