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Framfield Place


Features are known to have included lakes, kitchen garden and a fishpond. Norman Shaw made alterations to the house in the 1890s and Edwin Lutyens re-modelled the drawing room. The house was divided into six properties in 1971. The current status of the site is not known, though some features clearly survive.


The following material was contributed by Tom Baxendale 21/07/2015:

This house, built about 1765, and the adjoining estate, were the property of the Rideout family in the 18th century. The Rev. Richard Rideout sold the house and estate in 1817 to Alexander Donovan, later a Gentleman of the Bedchamber to King William IV and High Sheriff of Sussex in 1832.

Alexander Donovan made alterations to the house, a print and description of which appeared in Horsefield's ‘History and Antiquities of the Environs of Lewes' (1832) together with a catalogue of Mr. Donovan's extensive picture collection. He died in 1846, being succeeded by his son Alexander Donovan junior, who altered the house in 1847 (Kelly's Directory of Sussex 1895) including creating an elegant new drawing room facing the lake to the west.

Following the death of Alexander junior in 1886, his widow and daughters did not wish to continue at Framfield. The house and estate (826 acres at the Parliamentary Return of Owners of Land 1872) were sold to Francis Hugh Baxendale in 1890 (together with pictures, books and larger furniture), he and his family having occupied the house on a trial basis since 1887. Frank Baxendale's uncle and aunt, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Hornby Baxendale, had been long term friends of the Donovans and annual visitors to Framfield; hence no doubt the purchaser introduction.

Frank Baxendale employed R. Norman Shaw RA, who had built Greenham Lodge, Newbury for Lloyd Baxendale (Frank's father) in 1879-82, to further alter and enlarge Framfield Place. Alterations included joining the former morning room and library into a new drawing room - subsequently decorated by Shaw's protégé, the young Edwin Lutyens about 1892, and adding a billiard room.

Frank Baxendale died in 1918, leaving house and estate to his eldest son Captain Guy Vernon Baxendale, who, with his family, lived there until his death in 1969. Two of his sons, Joseph and David, were killed in action during World War 2. Their names are on the Framfield War Memorial tablet.

The house and estate were advertised for sale in 1939-40 as Guy wished to move to Greenham Lodge following the death of his uncle Harry Baxendale in 1937. But only Arches Manor, part of the estate, was actually sold.

An enemy bomb dropped nearby in World War 2 altered the underlying geological structure causing drainage of the lake, leaving it choked with reeds and bulrushes.

Guy's remaining son, Major William Lloyd (known as John) Baxendale lived with his family at Hailwell House on the estate, adjoining the walled garden, until his death in 1982, having sold Framfield Place in 1977. The house was divided, following its sale, into six dwellings, and the stable block into two more (since united into one). The grounds have since been much altered and extend to only 11 acres. The remainder of the estate was sold around 1991, except Hailwell House, which was sold after the death of Major Baxendale's widow in 2010.

The following material was contributed by Sussex Gardens Trust 25/06/2015:

Sales particulars for Framfield Place are lodged in the East Sussex Record Office (The Keep, Brighton). However, it can be assumed that the estate was not sold as Francis Hugh Baxendale died there in 1918. His son, Captain Guy Vernon Baxendale is subsequently listed as living there. During this period, the lake was full of water until the war, when according to Guy Vernon Baxendale (family information), a bomb altered the underlying geological structure which drained it, leaving it full of reeds and bullrushes.

Guy Vernon Baxendale had three sons, two of whom, Joseph and David, died in World War 2 and are listed on the Framfield War Memorial tablet. Guy's remaining son, Major William Lloyd John Baxendale lived at Hailwell House on the estate until his death in 1982. The estate remained in the family until the 1970s, and Hailwell House was only recently sold.

There are sales particulars for the estate dated 1939 but it wasn't sold (family information). Guy Vernon Baxendale was the owner at that time and had expressed a desire to move to what had been his grandparents' house, Greenham Lodge at Greenham near Newbury in about 1939. The advent of the war and his eldest son's death must have changed his mind, and hence the estate remained within the family.

The grounds have been much altered since the sale of the main house in 1977. Framfield Place remains divided but in excellent condition. The grounds extend to 11 acres.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • House (featured building)
  • Now Divided
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Lake
  • Fishpond
Key Information





Principal Building

Multiple Dwelling


Part: standing remains

Open to the public


Civil Parish




  • Sussex Gardens Trust

  • Tom Baxendale