Horselunges Manor 5042

Hailsham, England, East Sussex, Wealden

Brief Description

Horselunges Manor has a formal garden laid out around a timber-framed Elizabethan manor house within the confines of a 15th-century moat. The site has surviving elements of garden and landscape features from the 15th century onwards.

History

Godfrey (1935) suggested that a moated, timber-framed house with a Great Hall was built either by John Devenish, King's Sergeant, who died in 1477, or by his son Sir John Devenish who died before 1518, but was reduced in size probably in the early-16th-century.

Detailed Description

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Horselunges Manor House stands within a spring-fed moat which is surrounded by the low-lying ancient demesne land of the Manor of Hurst on the outskirts of the village of Hellingly, approximately 300 metres south-east of Hellingly church. The site, which covers some ten hectares, (around 6 hectares within the moat) is 600 metres north of the village of Horsebridge, 2.5 kilometres north of Hailsham and 10 kilometres north-west of Eastbourne, set back on the south side of Station Road.

Station Road is a local road linking to the Hailsham-Tunbridge Wells road (A267) on the west and the Hailsham-Battle road (A271) on the east. It is bordered on the west by the Cuckmere River, on the east by a disused railway line (the Cuckoo Walk), on the north-east by Station Road and on the south and north-west by the fields and woodland of adjoining properties.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

Horselunges Manor is approached from the south side of Station Road through 1970s electronically-operated double-leaf wrought iron gates hung on brick piers topped by 19th-century stone eagles and flanked by two metre evergreen hedges. A tarmacadum and gravelled drive, curving gently to the south-west, leads 100 metres to the manor house. It is bordered by white painted posts with chain links, backed by a rustic ranch-style wooden fence with wire mesh on the north-west side.

Approximately 50 metres from the entrance, on the north-west side, are views over a pond created in the 1980s and backed by a two metre conifer hedge on the boundary with adjoining Horselunges Cottage. Twenty metres south-west of this fishpond is a further pond shown on maps from 1825, but now, 2004, reduced in area, overgrown by self-seeded crack willow and alder and surrounded by a wooden fence.

For around 100 metres on the north-east of the drive, wild flowers in long grass grow below shrubs and trees, a tree-sheltered glade some 50 metres along the drive being the site of a 1960s apiary (designed for commercial honey production) now, 2004, cultivated as a wild flower meadow. Adjoining the glade is a third pond, also shown on 19th-century maps and now, 2004, enlarged and surrounded by mature trees.

The drive terminates in a square parking area (20 metres x 20 metres) with an Elizabethan-style garage, with accommodation above. This is on the south side, and was built in the 1960s to incorporate an existing bull-pen. The west side of the parking area is enclosed by the eastern 100 metre long arm of an approximately ten metre wide and five metre deep quadrangular moat, arms on the west and south also being 100 metres long and on the west 70 metres long. The moat is crossed by a stone-paved and timber bridge with wooden handrails and ornamental drawbridge chains, three black bollards preventing vehicle entrance. The entrance to the moated garden is through a wooden, nail-studded, double door set in a brick surround. Part of a wall encloses the north-east corner of the garden, possibly incorporating 18th-century brickwork.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The garden on the east house front comprises two grass plats divided by a straight stone flag path from the moat door to a stone terrace running the length of the house. The plats are surrounded by a perimeter path enclosing an area around 20 metres x 30 metres. Immediately to the north of the door from the moat the perimeter path extends around ten metres along the buttressed brick garden wall, with a mixed border below. The path then turns due west to continue around 20 metres to the steep brick steps up to the first floor of the converted and white-washed 18th-century stables.

In the far north-east corner of the east garden is a mature, twin-stemmed ash set in lawn, its canopy overhanging the cottage and the garden wall on the north and east sides. In the area created by the juxtaposition of the cottage and former stables, a quadripartite rose garden (around five metres square) with stone flag cross- and perimeter paths, has a well head as a central feature, with a flower border along the cottage wall on the north side.

The garden on the south and south-east side of the house is the site of the walled garden shown on 19th-century maps, now (2004) walled only on the western side. It is separated from the moat on the south and east by a simple wooden pergola (dating from the 20th century) with stepping stones below, and open on the north side. Here are the remains of the early-20th-century topiary and knot garden now (2004) a lawn (some 30 metres x 30 metres) divided into 16 sections by stepping stones. Each section features a large, flat-topped, large-leaved, box cone. One mature fruit tree survives, now covered with clematis.

A two metre high wooden and wrought iron single-leaf gate, set in a brick arch in the wall on the west of the topiary garden, leads to the west garden. A stone flag path of some 60 metres, bordered by a decorative wooden fence, runs from the northern arm of the moat, along the west front of the house, to a swimming pool on the southern edge of the garden. North from the gate the path has views over flower beds, an informal lawn with specimen trees and the western arm of the moat with steps down to a landing stage, before reaching a raised herb bed and gate through to a paved area used as a small kitchen garden on the north side of the cottage.

South from the gate the path is bordered by a brick wall with narrow flower borders, passing through a low wooden gate to a 19th-century brick outbuilding with tiled roof (2nd edition Ordnance Survey map) 30 metres from the manor house, now, 2004, used as a pool house. The rectangular swimming pool with semicircular inset on the west side, in front of the pool house, has a stone flag surround and is enclosed by a one metre high brick wall with piers along its sides, allowing views across the west lawn.

PARKLAND

Outside the moated area, immediately due south of Horselunges Manor, lie arable fields (now, 2004, farmed organically), bounded on the west by the Cuckmere River. Depressions in the land possibly indicate the site of the former fishponds shown on the 1825 map. A ridge running along the east of the field containing the depressions has views over the adjoining land, giving rise to unsupported speculation that this was a standing for the former deer park shown on maps between 1575 and 1825. Approximately 100 metres from the manor house a concrete and wooden bridge across the river possibly indicates the approach route across the fields from Horsebridge also shown on the 1825 map.

REFERENCES

Books and articles

Thomas Walker Horsfield, The History, Antiquities and Topography of the County of Sussex Vol 1 (London: Messrs Nichols & Son, 1835), 318-319.

Walter Godfrey, ‘Horselunges - The Manor House', Sussex Archaeological Collections LXVI (Lewes: Sussex Archaeological Society, 1925), 1-17.

Rev. W. Budgen, ‘The Manor of Horselunges', Sussex Archaeological Collections LXVI (Lewes: Sussex Archaeological Society, 1925), 18-33.

‘Horselunges: A Memorable Spot', Country Life 75 (June 23rd 1934), 672.

Walter Godfrey, ‘Horselunges Manor, Sussex', Country Life 77 (January 5th, 1935), 12-17.

Ian Nairn and Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England Sussex (London: Penguin Books, 1965), 532.

M. Thorpe, ‘East Sussex Farm Life a century Ago', The Sussex County Magazine (undated), 328-332.

Maps

Christopher Saxton Map of Sussex 1575. British Library.

John Norden Sussex 1595. Royal Geographical Society.

John Speed Sussex Described 1610. Old Sussex Mapped website www.envf.port.ac.uk/geo/research/historical/webmap/sussexmap/speedhastings1rg.jpg.

Hailsham, Hellingly and Herstmonceaux Estate Map 1671. ESRO ref Add Ms 740.

Robert Morden Sussex 1695. Old Sussex Mapped website www.envf.port.ac.uk/geo/research/historical/webmap/sussexmap/morden106hastings1rg.jpg.

Richard Budgen Survey of the County of Sussex 1724. East Sussex Record Office (ESRO).

Philip Overton Survey of the County of Sussex 1726. British Library.

Thomas Yeakell and William Gardner Topographical Survey of the County of Sussex 1778-83. 2" to 1mile (Sheet 3).

Christopher and John Greenwood Map of the County of Sussex 1825. WSRO.

Hellingly Tithe Map 1843. ESRO Ref TDE/84.

London Brighton and Coast Railway. Plans and Section 1879. ESRO ref QDP/447

OS 25" to 1mile: 1st edition published 1875 (Sheet 56/9); 2nd edition published 1899 (Sheet 56/9); 3rd edition published 1910 (Sheet 56/9); 1932 edition (Sheet 56/9)

Illustrations

S.H. Grimm, View of Herstlunges near Haylsham 1784. Drawing no 87 in Grimm's Sussex Drawings. Rape of Pevensey. BL Ref Additional MS.Burrell.5671.fol.95

Two postcards of Horselunges Manor (undated). Private collection.

Archival Items

Horselunges Manor Sales Particulars, Burtenshaw & Son, Hailsham 1924. ESRO Ref SAS/PS 21.

Horselunges Manor Sales Particulars, 1954. National Monuments Records Archives Ref SB00449.

Horselunges Manor Sales Particulars, Knight, Frank & Rutley, London W1, 1958. ESRO Ref SAS/PS 132.

Horselunges Manor Sales Particulars, John D. Wood & Co, London W1 1964. Private Collection.

Advertisement for the sale of Horselunges Manor, St. John Vaughan, Uckfield (date unknown). Barbara Simms.

Description written: July 2004

Features

Style

  • Formal
  • Manor House (featured building)
  • Description: Horselunges Manor (listed Grade I) is a two-storey, timber-framed house under a tiled roof, built at the end of the 15th century but probably reduced in size at the beginning of the 16th century. What remains is only part of one side of a probably quadrangular house of which the original hall has disappeared. The main east-facing front, with wide centred doorway and carved spandrels, is close-studded with plaster infilling, the first floor oversailing on a heavy moulded bressummer and brackets with miniature shafts beneath, which divide the front into bays. The windows have wooden mullions and transoms, all except one probably being early-20th-century restorations.At the north end of the house is a blocked carriage archway, presumably once the gatehouse with similar spandrels. Here the house has been joined by a small passage (dating from the 20th century) to the 18th-century stables of red brick on the ground floor and tile-hanging above, now used as accommodation. The north-east corner of the former stables adjoins a Tudor-style single-storey cottage (shown on 19th-century maps), now, 2004, also converted for residential use.
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  • Garden Building
  • Description: One hundred metres south-east of the manor house, outside the moated area, stand an 18th-century brick aisled barn of eight bays under a tiled roof (now, 2004, used as a workshop) and a further barn in the process of construction.
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  • Moat
  • Description: Horselunges Manor House stands within a spring-fed moat.
  • Gate
  • Description: Double-leaf wrought iron gates.
  • Finial
  • Description: 19th-century stone eagles.
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  • Pond
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  • Pond
  • Description: There is a further pond shown on maps from 1825, but now, 2004, reduced in area, overgrown by self-seeded crack willow and alder and surrounded by a wooden fence.
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  • Planting
  • Description: The site of a 1960s apiary (designed for commercial honey production) now, 2004, cultivated as a wild flower meadow.
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: The moat is crossed by a stone-paved and timber bridge with wooden handrails and ornamental drawbridge chains, three black bollards preventing vehicle entrance.
  • Plat
  • Description: The garden on the east house front comprises two grass plats divided by a straight stone flag path from the moat door to a stone terrace running the length of the house.
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: In the far north-east corner of the east garden is a mature, twin-stemmed ash set in lawn, its canopy overhanging the cottage and the garden wall on the north and east sides.
  • Rose Garden
  • Description: There is a quadripartite rose garden (around five metres square) with stone flag cross- and perimeter paths, has a well head as a central feature, with a flower border along the cottage wall on the north side.
  • Well Head
  • Description: The rose garden has a well head as a central feature, with a flower border along the cottage wall on the north side.
  • Pergola
  • Description: Wooden pergola.
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  • Lawn
  • Description: The remains of the early-20th-century topiary and knot garden now (2004) a lawn (some 30 metres x 30 metres) divided into 16 sections by stepping stones. Each section features a large, flat-topped, large-leaved, box cone. One mature fruit tree survives, now covered with clematis.
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  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: There is a paved area used as a small kitchen garden on the north side of the cottage.
  • Garden Building
  • Description: There is a 19th-century brick outbuilding with tiled roof (2nd edition Ordnance Survey map) 30 metres from the manor house, now, 2004, used as a pool house.
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  • Fishpond
  • Description: Depressions in the land possibly indicate the site of the former fishponds shown on the 1825 map.
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Drive
Access & Directions

Directions

The site is 600 metres north of the village of Horsebridge, 2.5 kilometres north of Hailsham and 10 kilometres north-west of Eastbourne, set back on the south side of Station Road.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Hellingly
History

Detailed History

On the site of the ancient Manor of Hurst (Herst), the location of Horselunges Manor is indicated by a charter of 1265 which refers to ‘a lane leading from the church of Helling to Herst'. Known as Hurst well into the 14th century, a suffix was then added to distinguish it from others with the same name, Lunges evolving from Lyngyver, a personal name in a charter at Hellingly dated 1318.

Changes occurred to the name through the centuries (Herstlongever, Herslonger, Herstlunger, Horselunger, Horselonger, Hurstlunger). 18th-century maps refer to Herslung (Budgen, 1724), Horslung (Overton and Bowles, 1726) or Hellingly Place (Gardner, Yeakell and Gream, 1795) with Horselunges becoming the common form by 1825. Horsfield (1835) also suggested that Horselunges was a corruption of Hurst-longue, ‘the entrance into the wood', implying that it once formed the boundary of the ancient Sylva Anderida forest.

From the late-13th-century, the Manor of Hurst was closely associated with the Manor of Werlington, also in Hellingly and held by the Norman family of De la Haye. On the death of John de la Haye without heirs in 1293, Werlington Manor passed to his brother, Peter, and on his death to his daughter, Joan, then the wife of Philip de Herst, a rich landowner.

The two estates remained in joint ownership for several centuries until in the 15th century, through marriage, the Devenish family became the owners of the Manor of Hurst. Godfrey (1935) suggested that a moated, timber-framed house with a Great Hall was built there either by John Devenish, King's Sergeant, who died in 1477, or by his son Sir John Devenish who died before 1518, but was reduced in size probably in the early-16th-century.

In 1568, William Devenish sold the Manor of Hurst to a Herbert Pelham, who in 1599 was living at Michelham Priory, having conveyed Hurst to trustees to settle debts. Contemporary maps indicate a deer park in the vicinity of Horselunges Manor, emparkment being shown at Hellingly from 1575 (Saxton, 1575; Norden, 1595; Speed, 1610; Morden, 1695) and at Hellingly Place in 1825 (Greenwood).

By 1614 the Manor belonged to the Stone family who retained it until 1630 when John and Richard Stone sold it to an Anthony Cruttenden. Later documentation shows that in 1771 a Reverend John Bishop released the manor to a Henry Sayer and it was possibly during his occupancy that the house was painted by Grimm (1784).

Contemporary maps (1795, 1825) show the main approach to the manor house was from the south-west across the Cuckmere River, presumably to skirt the southern arm of the moat to enter across a bridge on the east of the house. The 1825 map, which also shows divisions within the garden, crops grown, adjoining landowners and possibly the remains of medieval fishponds (outside the moat to the south of the house), was perhaps drawn when Horselunges was conveyed to a George Palmer in 1825.

Ten years later Horsfield records a Mr Todd as owner and by 1843 the Tithe map shows Edward and James Hunt as owners of Horselunges (designated Horselunges Farm House) with around 97 hectares of surrounding land, mostly let to John Martin. The map shows the approach to the house from the north-east, between two ponds on the east side of the moat, from a track which became a road when Hellingly Station was built for the Tunbridge Wells and Eastbourne line in 1879 (2nd edition Ordnance Survey map). The 1st edition Ordnance Survey map shows additional buildings within the moated area and a quadripartite walled garden on the south-east of the house, as seen in an 1890 photograph.

Horselunges Manor was offered for sale with around 90 hectares of land in 1921 and again in 1924 when it was described as ‘a High Class Dairy Farm but suitable for market gardening, fruit growing and building development'. Contemporary photographs show a timbered house with a wooden fence around a small garden (1924 Sales Particulars).

The property was bought by a Mr R. Prebble Rowe who, in 1925, commissioned the architect Walter Godfrey to restore the house, adding gables and other period features and linking the manor house with the 18th -century stables and brick buildings to its north (1932 edition Ordnance Survey map). These alterations, including removing the northern side of the walled garden and the planting of a formal garden with box-edged knots and topiary, are shown on postcards probably from the 1920s when the house and garden were used as an antiques showroom and tea-garden.

Photographs of 1958 show mature planting described as a ‘small formal rose garden with symmetrical beds and clipped hedge' and ‘a larger similar garden with fruit trees' behind a new imposing entrance with a brick arch flanked by high walls, accessed over a stone paved and timber bridge.

Changes by subsequent owners include the addition of a swimming pool in the west garden, steps to a landing stage from the moat (1960s) and a new fishpond on the east side of the moat. The moated house and formal gardens, with arable land and outbuildings on adjoining ground, remain in single, private ownership.

Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here
References

References