Compton Park (also known as Little Green, Little Green School )5203

Chichester, West Sussex, England, West Sussex, Chichester

Brief Description

Compton Park is a gentle valley running north-east/south-west which gives spectacular views toward Up Park House set nearly 100 metres above Little Green. Very little remains now of the parkland trees.

History

Little Green was first recorded under that name in 1695. Thomas Peckham Phipps 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.

Detailed Description

Little Green and its associated parkland named Compton Park is situated at map reference SU771157, to the north of Compton village and immediately abutting the south-western corner of Up Park.

The house, which is listed grade II, faces south, with a walled kitchen garden (now a football field) and remnants of a rockery and woodland garden to the north and rose garden to the east. The house and gardens are separated from Compton Park by a low flint wall ha-ha around the house, continuing as iron park paling along the woodland edge north eastwards to the South Lodge of Up Park.

There are two key features in the setting of the house.

Compton Park to the east is a gentle valley running north-east/south-west which gives spectacular views toward Up Park House set nearly 100 metres above Little Green. Very little remains now of the parkland trees, as can be seen from an undated photograph probably from the Victorian/Edwardian period which illustrates the earlier splendour of the park compared with a similar view today.

Now there are just a few scattered mature trees of beech with the iron park guards still embedded in the bark (the largest 3.5 metres in circumference), oak (4.7 metres in circumference), pine and sweet chestnut. The parkland is mainly in pasture with some arable. The remnants of woodland to the north and north east of the house, within the park paling are important in framing the valley and drawing the eye towards Up Park.

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.

The main conservation issues are:-Restoration of the parkland trees in Compton Park. Conservation of the parkland flint wall and iron paling park boundary and the woodland edge of Littlegreen Wood.

Maintaining clear views of Compton Down from the house and preventing scrub invasion on the grass slopes.

Removal of the overgrown leylandii screen to the north-east of the house to restore views up the valley and to the restored parkland.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Ha-ha
  • Description: The house and gardens are separated from Compton Park by a low flint wall ha-ha around the house.
  • Tree Clump
  • Description: 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.
Access & Directions

Directions

Little Green and its associated parkland named Compton Park is situated to the north of Compton village and immediately abutting the south-western corner of Up Park.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Compton
History

Detailed History

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.

Period

  • Late 18th Century
  • 18th Century
Associated People
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