This is a partially walled garden with fine herbaceous borders and walls supporting climbers such as clematis and roses with a bed of bush roses set in the lawn. There is also a second garden mainly of shrubs with more appropriate plants nearer the moisture of the lake. An American Garden was planted in the late-18th-century. The site is famous as the birthplace of the poet Shelley.
Field Place is a Manor House first built around 1353 by Richard Felde.
Detailed DescriptionIn 1905 R C Travers described the grounds in the English Illustrated Magazine Vol 30 - 'the Youth of Shelley'.
'The house stood in wooded grounds a pleasant common outside. From a distance the property is marked by some tall spruces. The lawn rises slightly away from the house to the meadows and to the south undulating grasslands well set with trees. To the North (there is) a walled garden and a wilderness of rhododendrons and curious ivy bushes called the American garden. In the south meadow three large ponds have been drained and turned to pasture.'
A grove of great elms stands opposite the west front.
In 1942 Hugh Harris, Sussex County Magazine Vol 16 'Shelleys birthplace' noted that during the 19th century the property was at one time reduced to 27 acres but then acquired some 215 acres. (It would seem the farming interest was somewhat cyclical). The lime tree avenue is noted as well as an orchard and kitchen garden. Flower gardens and a distant lake with water lilies is also remarked upon but without any further detail to place these.
A G Hellyer, in 'English Gardens' Country Life Ltd (first published 1956) provides a description of the gardens and several photographs. He describes a partially walled garden with fine herbaceous borders and walls supporting climbers such as clematis and roses with a bed of bush roses set in the lawn. There is also a second garden mainly of shrubs with more appropriate plants nearer the moisture of the lake. A vegetable garden is also mentioned.
Robert Pearson's 'The Gardens at Field Place' (Gardeners Chronicle, 1960, vol 148) records that the gardens had only been developed in the past thirty years or so. The large walled garden near the house provided a home for many lovely plants...clematis such as C. macropetala and the well known varieties 'Ville de Lyon' 'Lasurstern' and the well known 'Nelly Moser'. Wisteria sinensis alba, Actinidia chinensis, Kolkwitzia amabilis, Ceonothus 'Gloria de Versailles' and Philadelphus 'Belle Etoile' to mention a few. The herbaceous borders are described as a delightful summer show against the Horsham stone walls and well-kept turf. In the early season were superb clumps of delphiniums, mostly unnamed seedlings. The American garden, greenhouses and the cutting garden were approached through wrought iron gates.
Pearson attributes the name of the American Garden to the Redwoods there. 'Azaleas....are widely planted in the American garden, together with such plants as pieris forrestii, Magnolia soulangiana nigra, bamboos, auratum lillies and the lovely yellow Paeonia mlokosewitschi'.
Near the lakes Mr Pearson describes a four acre garden with cleverly contrived vistas planted with a variety of ornamental trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. An extensive rock garden and drifts of astilbe, Iris kaempferri, and primulas along with other moisture loving plants reached down to the water.
The long flower borders were also planted with Prunus Shirofungen to give a mantle of white blossom in their season. Other plants mentioned were Buddleia alternifolia, Philadelphus Virginal, Niellia longiracemosa, deutzias and Chaenomeles Knap Hill Scarlet combined with roses, iris and paeonies.
Although not visited, it is suggested that the gardens are extremely attractive. Recent redevelopment may, however, limit their historical significance. It would be interesting to see them and for an expert to examine the rhododendrons, azaleas and ivies in case there are rare specimens. Also, some of the specimen trees in the grounds may be of note. The present owner has carried out an extensive program of restoration to the buildings which has been closely followed by the Horsham History Society and was the subject of a Europa Nostra award.
1.Hugh Harris, Sussex County Magazine Vol 16 1942, "Shelleys Birthplace"
2.R C Travers English Illustrated Magazine Vol XXX 1905 "The Youth of Shelley"
3.A G Hellyer, English Gardens published by Country Life Ltd 1956
4.Robert Pearson Gardeners Chronicle 1960 Vol148 "The Gardens at Field Place"
5.Susan Djabri "The Shelleys of Field Place" Horsham Museum Society
6.West Sussex County Times "Shelley Bicentenary" supplement, Horsham Library
8.Archives of Frere and Co of London, ref SAS-F/369 13 Dec1817, 374 30 Jul 1850 (relating to sales of farm property and land)
- Manor House (featured building)
- Description: Field Place is a Manor House first built around 1353 by Richard Felde. This element is now the East Wing. The property passed to the Mychel family who had extended to the South Wing by 1525.
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- Description: American garden.
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- Tree Avenue
- Description: In about 1900 the eastern approach was planted as a lime avenue.
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Detailed HistoryField Place is a Manor House first built around 1353 by Richard Felde. This element is now the East Wing. The property passed to the Mychel family who had extended to the South Wing by 1525. Edward Shelley purchased the property in 1729 and it passed on his death to his nephew Timothy who was then living in America where he had married an American. It is thought that this connection caused John Shelley to plant an 'American garden' for his mother when he re-built the stables in 1785.
The farm buildings and land are now separate properties. In about 1900 the eastern approach was planted as a lime avenue.
The property was bought by its tenant, G N Charrington, in 1929. He is recorded as having restored the gardens by 1949. The present owner acquired Field Place in 1982 and has carried out an extensive restoration of the house.The poet Shelley was born at Field Place in 1792. His life and writings have been the subject of much interest and there is an extensive collection at the Horsham Museum and elsewhere. There are only passing references to the gardens, however.
- Associated People
Jim and Helen Jewell
Sussex Gardens Trust