Oldlands 6983

Haywards Heath, England, East Sussex, Wealden

Brief Description

Much of the 19th-century ornamental gardens have been lost in late-20th-century development of the site and what remains are probably features created during Bernard Eckstein's ownership in the 1930s and 1940s. Features include an azalea walk, stone lions, and ornamental lily pool and an arboretum.

History

From 1870, gardens and a park of some 12 hectares were developed to the south of the new house under the direction of the head gardener, Edward Luckhurst, `one of the most able and accomplished gardeners of the day'. The estate was extended after 1920, but was then broken up after 1948, and the house was converted into apartments. The house and gardens, now with additional residences, remain in private multiple ownership as Oldlands Estate Ltd.

Detailed Description

Much of the 19th-century ornamental gardens have been lost in late-20th-century development of the site and what remains are probably features created during Bernard Eckstein's ownership in the 1930s and 1940s. Forty metres north-west from the west side of Oldlands Hall there is an entrance to the Azalea Walk guarded by two stone lions, two further entrances up stone steps being found some 50m and 60m along the drive to the west. The Azalea Walk, an extensive area with rhododendron and azalea glades leading to woodland (now in separate ownership), also features a Japanese-style pavilion (now, 2005, dilapidated) and a pet cemetery dating to the 1920s, enclosed within a yew hedge.

Approximately 10m from the south-east side of the house there are the remains of a rock garden adjoining an ornamental lily pool and, beyond, an arboretum which led along grassy slopes to a chain of lakes (now, 2005, neglected and in separate ownership) some 200m to the east and south-east. On the south side of the house formal stone terraces give views across a ha-ha and surrounding pasture and woodland to Oldlands Farm and beyond. A semi-circular flight of steps lead from the stone terrace to the lower stone-paved walks in terraces with a succession of six lily pools (now, 2005 with little water) to an ornamental pool (now without the deer and fawn fountain described in 1949 Sales Particulars).

Features
  • Hall (featured building)
  • Description: Built from 1869 to the designs of Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt, Oldlands Hall is built of ashlar with a gabled roof of red tiles and 16th-century style chimneys, described as `really no style in particular? (Nairn and Pevsner). The two-storey house with attic had a symmetrical facade with its main entrance on the north and an extensive service wing, now converted to apartments.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Statue
  • Description: Two stone lions at the entrance to the Azalea Walk.
  • Walk
  • Description: The Azalea Walk, an extensive area with rhododendron and azalea glades leading to woodland.
  • Steps
  • Description: Stone steps.
  • Pavilion
  • Description: A Japanese-style pavilion (now, 2005, dilapidated).
  • Pet Cemetery
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Hedge
  • Description: The pet cemetery is enclosed by a yew hedge.
  • Planting
  • Description: Remains of a rock garden.
  • Pool
  • Description: A succession of six lily pools (now, 2005 with little water).
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Arboretum.
  • Lake
  • Description: A chain of lakes (now, 2005, neglected and in separate ownership).
  • Terrace
  • Description: On the south side of the house there are formal stone terraces.
  • Steps
  • Description: A semi-circular flight of steps lead from the stone terrace to the lower stone-paved walks.
  • Pool
  • Description: An ornamental pool (now without the deer and fawn fountain described in 1949 Sales Particulars).
Ha-ha
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Maresfield
History

Detailed History

On the Oldlands estate, Alexander Nesbitt built a new house (Oldlands or Oldlands Hall) on the edge of Oldlands Wood, north of the Tudor farmhouse (OS map 1875). From 1870, gardens and a park of some 12 hectares were developed to the south of the new house under the direction of the head gardener, Edward Luckhurst, ‘one of the most able and accomplished gardeners of the day' (1875). Luckhurst regularly wrote about his work at Oldlands (Journal of Horticulture), which included a parterre, rose garden, herbaceous border, woodland planting, kitchen garden and a series of ornamental lakes. The Oldlands estate passed to Nesbitt's godson, Reginald Nesbitt Wingfield Larking, in 1900 and was occupied by a Sir James Pender until 1905 when it was sold to Ventura Paul Misa, a partner in a firm of sherry shippers.

In 1920 Oldlands was sold to a Frederick Eckstein, passing on his death to his son, Sir Bernard, who increased the size of the estate to around 153 hectares by purchasing Furnace Wood to the south of the property. Sir Bernard carried out many alterations to the house and gardens, employing a Leslie Wood of the firm of Wood and Wolford, local chartered land agents, to construct a series of six terraces, each with its own lily pool, on the south side of the house (Sales Particulars, 1949). Following Sir Bernard's death in 1948 the estate was broken up. The house and gardens were bought by a Mrs Webster in 1950, who converted the house and stable block into 13 apartments, the woodland being sold separately. The house and gardens, now with additional residences, remain in private multiple ownership as Oldlands Estate Ltd.

References

References