Dutton Homestall (also known as Stoke Brunswick School)5003

East Grinstead, England, East Sussex, Wealden

Brief Description

Dutton Homestall is an early-20th-century garden laid out with a sunken garden. The site has Pulhamite rockwork and bog gardens to the south and east of an Elizabethan timber-framed manor house.

History

There has been a dwelling at the Homestall since the 14th century. By 1830, there was a simple farmhouse on the site with no garden. By 1903 the house was derelict. Subsequently, under the ownership of H. Partridge, it was restored and enlarged (as shown in a 1907 photograph), and its grounds 'tastefully laid out'.

Detailed Description

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Dutton Homestall sits on a plateau in a natural hollow on the borders of East and West Sussex approximately one kilometre north-east of the village of Ashurst Wood, two kilometres north of Forest Row and two kilometres south-east of East Grinstead. The site, covering approximately 14 hectares, is sheltered on three sides by a ridge, bordered to the east by Homestall Road and by the agricultural fields of surrounding farms on the north, south and west. The house is set back from the road and screened by woodland and ornamental trees with views south and east to hanging woods on the surrounding hillside.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

Dutton Homestall is approached from the west off the road leading north from Ashurst Wood towards the main East Grinstead-Tunbridge Wells road (A264) and at a distance of 3.5 kilometres. The entrance is through stone piers (the gates, now, 2004, removed) flanked by low stone walls and along a tarmac-surfaced serpentine drive extending 300 metres to the house and, until the mid 1930s, a public road.

Immediately to the east of the drive is a two-storey Tudor-style (20th-century) gate lodge of stone and brick, timber with plaster infilling on the first storey and a tiled roof. The lodge is surrounded by a lawn with mature trees and a holly hedge. Two hundred metres further on from the lodge and facing the road is a single-storey bungalow of brown-stained weather-boarding with a tiled roof.

Both buildings are backed to the east by the woodland of Crockers Bank now, 2004, overgrown, but with remnants of ornamental planting including pines and flowering cherries. On the west side of the drive for 80 metres from the entrance and on flat ground is a school cricket pitch, enclosed on the west and south by 6 metre hedges and on the north by woodland. An open, brown-stained, weather-boarded cricket pavilion is located in the north-east corner.

At the cricket pavilion the drive curves to the west. A 100 metre stretch from the pavilion on the east side is planted with holly, viburnum, aucuba and rhododendron. A one metre high three metre stone wall is sited 20 metres after the curve to provide a viewing point to the house and garden in the valley (now, 2004, obscured by trees), its location clearly shown on the 1931 Ordnance Survey map.

A further 20 metres along the drive there are steep steps down to a sunken garden. West of the drive, woodland rises to meet the northern edge of the cricket pitch which is accessed by a path through a 1920s rock garden. This is located on the curve as the drive turns north for the final 100 metres towards the house. On axis with the main south-west entrance front, on the west side of the drive and accessed by broad stone steps, is a cricket field on a raised level lawn (possibly the site of earlier tennis or croquet lawns) with a Tudor-style pavilion on the north side. Opposite the steps a bonded gravel drive between lawns leads to the rectangular entrance forecourt formed by the wings of the house and now (2004) used as a staff car park.

From the forecourt a grass bank with central stone steps leads up to the level of the original 15th-century south-west wing of the house and a stone terrace. The main tarmacadum drive continues for a further 20 metres north past the turn to the house, leading to the entrance and car parking for the classroom buildings to the north-west of the house. It then becomes a track to Shovelstrode Farm before rejoining Homestall Road.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUND

A stone terrace on the west of the 15th-century Homestall wing looks over a small lawn (15 metres x 10 metres) open on the north side and enclosed by stone balustrading (with 20th-century repairs) on the south and west. There is a narrow border of low evergreens on the south side whilst in the south-west corner of the garden a low, single-leaf, wrought iron gate hung on stone piers leads to a shrubbery. An ornate double-leaf, wrought iron gate at the south end of the terrace opening onto a valley leads south down three flights of six steps divided by terrace walks to a sunken garden with ornamental pool.

Two flights of steps lead out from the sunken garden up the hillside beyond to the entrance drive. The top terrace is stone-flagged with a narrow border of irises below the balustrade and a stone seat at the west end, the east end reaching to the 1903 extension (now, 2004, a conservatory with aluminium sliding doors), used as the headmaster's office. The two remaining terraces are grassed, the rough stone retaining walls being planted with sun loving rock plants such as alyssum and aubrietia (of limited range compared to those described in articles of the 1930s and 1950s).

At the bottom of the terrace steps, a sunken garden, enclosed by stone retaining walls, is laid out with four grass plats each with a central conifer which have replaced (late-20th-century) the 1930s quartered rose garden. A stone-edged rectangular pool with curved ends and a fountain form the central feature of the garden, empty corner plinths indicating the position of the topiary box trees in wooden boxes shown in contemporary photographs (1930s). The stone pool edge, surrounding flagstones and paths (reputed to be surplus London paving) are (2004) in poor repair.

On axis with the pool, an octagonal stone summerhouse with a tiled roof (shown on the 1931 Ordnance Survey map) is reached via seven steps up between crumbling retaining walls on the west side of the sunken garden. Twenty metres to the south-west of the summerhouse house on the west side of the drive, concrete slabs cross boggy ground to a rock garden on the hillside, accessed by uneven rocky steps (now, 2004, with wooden posts and guide ropes). This extensive rockwork (shown on the 1910 Ordnance Survey map) is a mixture of natural and Pulhamite rock with winding paths and glades across the hillside but now (2004) overgrown and crumbling.

On the same axis as the ornamental pool on the east side of the sunken garden, rocky steps lead east down to rock and bog gardens comprising a series of springfed streams (2004, some dry), pools, waterfalls and crossing points set in a valley amongst rough grassland and natural rocky outcrops and sheltered by shrubberies and woodland. Steep, broad, grass slopes rise to the stone and cobbled terrace on the south front of the house, from which there are views over the valley garden and surrounding shrubs and trees. A wooden railed fence encloses the largest pool (20 metres diameter and 30 metres from the south-east corner of the house) and a second pool (20 metres east of the house) is dry.

Twenty metres to the north of the enclosed pool, two hard tennis courts with wire-mesh fencing are laid out on level ground with views over sports pitches to the beech hedge on the Homestall Road boundary. Five metres to the north of the tennis courts, a swimming pool with concrete surrounds and a path bordered by lawns is enclosed by a low lonicera hedge. The pool (now, 2004, covered by a plastic domed roof) and a nearby half-octagonal shaped stone and wood changing room with tiled roof (forming the south end of the east kitchen garden wall) are mentioned in the 1957 sales particulars. Paving slabs lead from the pool enclosure to a flight of steps to the house. Grass tennis courts are laid out on the lawn outside the pool enclosure.

REFERENCES

Books and articles

Frances Wolseley, Some Sussex Byways (London: Medici Society, 1930), 14-15.

Frances Wolseley, ‘Sussex Gardens - No.2. Homestall', Sussex County Magazine Vol IV (June 1930), 446-50.

H.A.B. ‘The Homestall, East Grinstead', Country Life 73 (June 28 1933), 99-101.

Margaret Ashworth, ‘Dutton Homestalls, East Grinstead', Garden Design 29 (1937), 6-11.

The Story of Dutton Homestall, no author or date but during World War 2 (Private Collection: Stoke Brunswick School).

‘Rock Garden', House and Garden (April 1956), 80-83.

Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England Sussex (London: Penguin Books, 1965), 54, 505.

Ashurstwood Historians, Ashurstwood in the Twentieth Century (Danewood Press, 2000), 64-65, 71.

Maps

Christopher and John Greenwood Map of the County of Sussex 1829. East Sussex Record Office (ESRO).

Homestall Farm and Cherry Garden Farm in the Parish of East Grinstead in the County of Sussex 1830. West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) Ref Add Mss 40, 278.

Tithe Map for Ashurstwood 1840. WSRO Ref TD/E45.

Additions to Homestall, East Grinstead, for H. Partridge Esq (n.d. probably 1903) ESRO Ref DW/A2/1 (series 1)153.

Proposed Alterations for H. Partridge March 1903 ESRO Ref DW/A2/1 (series 1) 113.

Homestall, East Grinstead. Proposed Alterations for Lord Dewar September 1933. ESRO Ref DW/A2/14/2017.

Aerial map of Ashurstwood 1947. WSRO Ref Acc 13063.

OS 25" to 1mile: 1st edition published 1873; 2nd edition published 1899; 3rd edition published 1910; Revised edition published 1931

OS 1:10,560 1961 edition

OS 1:2500 1973 edition

Illustrations

Homestall Farm c1900 before reconstruction (Private Collection: Stoke Brunswick School).

Homestall Manor, Ashurst Wood. Two postcards undated (Private Collection: Stoke Brunswick School).

Homestall, Sussex Topography Vol 20 1930. Hove Public Library Frances Wolseley papers Ref NRA 10081.

Dutton Homestall Convalescent Hospital 1940 (Private Collection: Stoke Brunswick School).

Archival Items

Shovelstrode Sales Particulars, Harrie Stacey, East Grinstead 1907. WSRO Ref SP2579.

Dutton Homestall Sales Particulars, Knight Frank & Rutley, London W1 1957. (Private Collection: Stoke Brunswick School)

Description written: April 2004

Features
  • School (featured building)
  • Description: Dutton Homestall (listed Grade II*) comprises a half-H plan shape occupying three sides of a courtyard formed of two older houses in 1933. The original 15th and 16th-century two-storey timber-framed house, known as Homestall, with attic, plaster infilling, tiled roof and casement windows, forms the south-west wing. It is now used as a school office and headmaster?s accommodation. The east wing, a 16th-century timber-framed building with plaster infilling and close-studding, brought from Cheshire, is Dutton Hall. It has an elaborately carved, two-storey porch with gable over and an inscription to `Syr Peyrs Dutton?, dated 1562.Forty metres to the north-west of the house on an area shown as woodland until 1961 (Ordnance Survey map), a range of late-20th-century buildings has been constructed as classrooms, toilet facilities and play areas.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The north-west corner of the 1930s kitchen garden is located 50 metres to the north of the house (now adjoining the classroom buildings) on the northern boundary of the site. The garden, which covers some 90 metres x 60 metres, walled on the north and east sides in stone with stone buttresses, terminates at the south-east corner in the swimming pool changing room. A stone, hexagonal summerhouse with tiled roof is set centrally in the north wall. Metal ties and a few wall fruits remain but the area is now laid to grass and used for sports.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Drive
  • Description: The entrance is through stone piers (the gates, now, 2004, removed) flanked by low stone walls and along a tarmac-surfaced serpentine drive extending 300 metres to the house.
  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: Immediately to the east of the drive is a two-storey Tudor-style (20th-century) gate lodge of stone and brick, timber with plaster infilling on the first storey and a tiled roof.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Pavilion
  • Description: An open, brown-stained, weather-boarded cricket pavilion.
  • Planting
  • Description: There is a rock garden. This extensive rockwork (shown on the 1910 Ordnance Survey map) is a mixture of natural and Pulhamite rock with winding paths and glades across the hillside but now (2004) overgrown and crumbling.
  • Latest Date:
  • Planting
  • Description: There is a a sunken garden, enclosed by stone retaining walls. It is laid out with four grass plats each with a central conifer which have replaced (late-20th-century) the 1930s quartered rose garden. A stone-edged rectangular pool with curved ends and a fountain form the central feature of the garden, empty corner plinths indicating the position of the topiary box trees in wooden boxes shown in contemporary photographs (1930s).
  • Terrace
  • Description: A stone terrace on the west of the 15th-century Homestall wing looks over a small lawn.
  • Gate
  • Description: In the south-west corner of the garden a low, single-leaf, wrought iron gate hung on stone piers.
  • Steps
  • Description: There are three flights of six steps divided by terrace walks.
  • Pool
  • Description: Ornamental pool in the sunken garden.
  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: There are two grassed terraces.
  • Summerhouse
  • Description: There is an octagonal stone summerhouse with a tiled roof
  • Latest Date:
  • Stream
  • Description: There is a series of springfed streams (2004, some dry), pools, waterfalls and crossing points.
  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • Description: The pool is now, 2004, covered by a plastic domed roof.
  • Latest Date:
  • Tennis Lawn
  • Description: Grass tennis courts are laid out on the lawn outside the pool enclosure.
Access & Directions

Directions

The site is approximately one kilometre north-east of the village of Ashurst Wood, two kilometres north of Forest Row and two kilometres south-east of East Grinstead.
History

Detailed History

There has been a dwelling at the Homestall since the 14th century, the west wing reputedly being John of Gaunt's hunting lodge in the Ashdown Forest. It is, however, more likely to have been built as a farmhouse, the 1711 Terrier citing the owner as Charles Goodwin. It is named on Greenwood's Map of Sussex (1829) and by 1830 is shown as a simple farmhouse with no garden and part of the Shovelstrode Farm estate. The 1840 tithe apportionment lists the owner of the approximately 56 hectare property as Alexander Donovan (tenanted to Robert Mills).

By 1903 the house was derelict. Subsequently, under the ownership of H. Partridge, it was restored and enlarged (as shown in a 1907 photograph), and its grounds ‘tastefully laid out' with two tennis lawns, summerhouse, terrace walk and a kitchen garden (3rd edition Ordnance Survey map 1910).

In 1915 Homestall, and Shovelstrode Farm to the north (in total around 400 hectares), were bought by Lord Dewar, the whisky magnate, who in 1921 added a substantial service wing and developed a new garden from ‘an untidy slice of marsh'. This garden is shown on the 1931 revised edition Ordnance Survey map as a series of three terraces leading down to a rose garden with lily pool, Pulhamite rock garden with a ‘white cascade of water (that) leaps from ledge to ledge' (Viscountess Wolseley). Also shown is a bog garden, later described in Country Life (1933) as ‘one of the largest and most beautiful in the south of England'. At the same time Lord Dewar added a stud farm and kennels to the north and north-east of Shovelstrode Farm.

John A. Dewar inherited the property on his uncle's death in 1930 and on his marriage in 1932 made plans to substantially enlarge the house. Dutton Manor, the 16th-century seat of the Lords of Dutton in Cheshire, was dismantled and re-erected as part of Homestall (partly on the site of the early -20th-century kitchen garden and dovecote) under the guidance of the architect Guy Dawber. The two merged houses became known as Dutton Homestall.

To the existing garden was added a partly walled kitchen garden, swimming pool, tennis court and croquet lawn. It is probably at this time that the southern end of Shovelstrode Lane, skirting the south and west of the Homestall site, became a private drive, a new public road being built along the eastern boundary of the property to link up with the lane at Shovelstrode Farm, 750 metres to the north-west.

During World War 2 the house was first used as an evacuation hospital by the Red Cross, then from 1940 adapted as a convalescent hospital for army officers and later a rest home for operational pilots from Fighter Command. In 1954 on the death of John Dewar, the Shovelstrode estate of around 243 hectares, house, three stud farms and kennels was offered for sale in lots.

Sales particulars (1957) described ‘the magnificent rock garden... with ponds and waterfalls', ‘the formal rose garden', swimming pool, tennis court and croquet lawn and ‘a kitchen garden with many types of soft fruits... herbaceous and vegetable borders'. Dutton Homestall, surrounded by around 14 hectares of gardens, was bought in 1958 as the site for Brunswick School which, from 1965 with the addition of Stoke House, became the present Stoke Brunswick School.

Period

  • Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here

Other websites

Owners

  • Stoke Brunswick School

References

References