The site was originally a deer park, but was disparked in 1618. An 1809 Estate Map shows the areas around the house laid out much as in an aerial photograph of 1967. Features include a kitchen garden, deer park, lakes, and a fine lime avenue.
The house was built by Henry Bowyer in 1574, the gatehouse being built a few years later, probably using stone from an earlier dwelling. The deer park was 192 acres and disparked in 1618 when it was no longer reserved for deer.
Detailed DescriptionThe 1809 Estate Map prepared for Warden Sergison, then called Cuckfield Place, shows the areas around the house laid out much as in the aerial photograph of 1967. Of interest is the oval pond between the gatehouse and the lime avenue which continued to the east beyond the Cuckfield-Ansty road. There was also an avenue to the south of the lower lake. The kitchen garden areas are not shown so can therefore be taken as later and Victorian additions. The deer park, lakes, fine lime avenue, and fairly formal shape of garden layout are shown. Geometric rides or walks in the style of the early -18th-century are cut into the woodland to the east of the park, by the upper Mill Pond. The boundary of the park is well-defined on the map.
There is not a great deal of written information about the park and gardens but various maps and photographs are included in the supporting material. Victorian photographs give good evidence of the importance of the estate. It would appear from the the maps that substantial development of the garden took place between 1871 and 1912. The parkland suffered severe damage in 1987 storm.
Viscountess Wolseley visited Cuckfield Park in 1928 when it was empty, awaiting tenants. She writes that a very high and ancient wall ran down the slope on the east side of the view from the house to the lake to the south side of the gatehouse and turrents. This wall shows clearly on the 1809 Estate map, with path and summerhouse. The gardens looked desolate as no one had been caring for them but it could be seen that nice shrubs had been put in. There was a fine group of ilex trees to the left of the house and a round stone water lily pond, raised grass walk extending from the Bowyer Shadow House (a gazebo built of small red bricks) to the Gothic Summerhouse. There were fine yew hedges, possibly not old. Towards the kitchen garden site to the east there was a narrow shaped garden. Herbaceous borders lead to paling and a gate with a view to parkland.
Letting Particulars for Cuckfield Park (no date, Wolseley Collection) states: Gardens and grounds are beautifully laid out with mature trees, a tennis court and croquet lawn, gravelled terrace, Dutch garden with summer house of stone, rose garden, bowling lawn with summerhouse, two walled kitchen gardens, two glasshouses, pits, peach house. 193 acres of parkland, two lake of 5 acres with boathouse, shooting over 800 acres.
- House (featured building)
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- Description: Oval pond
- Description: Lime avenue
- Kitchen Garden
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- Cuckfield Rural
Detailed HistoryThe house was built by Henry Bowyer in 1574, the gatehouse being built a few years later, probably using stone from an earlier dwelling. The deer park was 192 acres and disparked in 1618 when it was no longer reserved for deer, as it had been since the days of the Warennes, prior to occupancy of the Bowyers.
For a number of years the estate descended through the Bergavenny family, with a peerage going to George, 1st Earl of Abergavenny. Other families owing the estate were the Coverts of Slaugham, the Henleys and the Sergisons with whom it stayed until 1900. Since then, there have been a number of changes of ownership. Cuckfield Park has a well-documented history, partly through the deposited Sergison Papers in the West Sussex County Council Record Office.
The site is of archaeological interest, in part due to the ditch and bank remnants to the north-west of the park, showing the line of the original pale.
- 18th Century