Oakwood Park, East Ashling 5285

England, West Sussex, Chichester

Brief Description

The site was developed between 1810 and the 1830s, and consists of gardens and parkland around the principal building, which is now a school.

Detailed Description

The 1875 Ordnance Survey 25 inch map shows elaborate gardens, parkland with definite clumps of trees, an obelisk, woodland rides and an extensive kitchen garden. This lies to the north of the house and shows a divided walled garden with glasshouses and fruit trees. What may be stable buildings lie to the north-west of the house. The vista from the obelisk runs almost the whole north/south extent of the estate, through the woodland into the park. It would appear that the gardens adjacent to the house had been formalised by 1875.

The painting by Porcher of Oakwood in 1864 shows parkland running up to the house. The Ordnance Survey map shows walks running from north to south of the front of the house, although the slope to the house still exists. To the west of the house lies the formal forecourt with the main drive running to the south. To the west of the forecourt is shown a further formal layout of garden. The open parkland lies to the east of the house and gardens. The whole estate is a network of rides and paths.

The 1961 Ordnance Survey 6 inch map shows much of the estate as it was, although the clumps are gone from the parkland and the obelisk is no longer marked. The area around the house is now a school and the parkland in divided ownership. The estate is worthy of further investigation. Other modern buildings exist on the estate.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Oakwood House was built by William Dearling around 1835. It was described as `a neat mansion delightfully situated on an elevation commanding picturesque and extensive views?.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Funtington
History

Detailed History

At the eastern end of the parish of Funtington, the greater part of Saltbox Common was developed around 1810. This allowed the creation of three small country estates with houses in the Regency style: Oakwood, Northlands and Sennicotts. The remaining pieces of common were enclosed officially in 1834 and absorbed into the estates. The three houses were each requisitioned during World War 2. Travelling east from West Ashling towards Chichester, Oakwood is to the right of the road, hidden in its own extensive woods and grounds. It has been a popular preparatory school since 1943, when Richard and Nora Fenn brought their school back to the Chichester area after three years' evacuation in a Cornish hotel.

Oakwood House was built by William Dearling around 1835. It was described as ‘a neat mansion delightfully situated on an elevation commanding picturesque and extensive views'. It was probably designed by James Elmes, who also designed Sennicotts and St John's Church in Chichester. William and his father, John Dearling, who was a Mayor of Chichester, were brewers. The family also owned Kingsham Farm, now the site of Chichester High School, and benefited financially from development to the south of Chichester.

The house was subsequently owned by Reverend George Purcher, his daughter, Charlotte Amelia, and her husband, John Baring. In 1879 it was the seat of John Baring ‘a modest mansion' boasting ‘no false display of pompous decoration, ill bestowed'. On John Baring's death in 1888, Oakwood passed to the du Pre family, descendents of his sister Emily. She lived there until World War 2. The house and gardens were then bought by Captain Richard Fenn and the rest of the extensive estate was bought by the Green family. Oakwood is now owned by the Lyne family.