Priesthawes Manor (also known as Presthaus, Priest Hawes, Priest Haws, Priesthaus)6924

Eastbourne, England, East Sussex, Wealden

Brief Description

Priesthawes Manor has a late-19th and early-20th century garden laid out around the remains of a 16th-century manor house. There are surviving elements of garden and landscape features from the 16th century onwards.

History

Priesthawes is shown on maps from at least 1610, a new manor house being built to the east of the old by James Thatcher, possibly in the 1590s, using stone from Pevensey Castle. By 1621 there was a 'fair garden' on the site, but by 1783 a drawing shows it as a partial ruin. In 1859 the site was sold to a Frederick Tuppen, who restored part of the manor house. Further improvements were made by Captain William Taylor after 1872.

Terrain

Priesthawes Manor is situated on naturally flat ground above Hankham Level.

Detailed Description

SITE DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Priesthawes Manor is situated on naturally flat ground above Hankham Level with views south-east across the surrounding low lying pastureland and wooded hillside. It lies c1.2km north-west of Hankham and c2km east of Polegate off the east side of the B2104 between Hailsham and Langney, 7.5km north of Eastbourne. The c.6ha site is bordered on the north-west and south-west by the drive to neighbouring Priesthawes Farm and on the north-east and south-east by surrounding farmland, part of the estate until the early C20 but now (2004) in separate ownership.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

Priesthawes Manor is approached from the east side of the Hailsham Road through decorative double-leaf c1m high wrought iron gates hung on round cast iron piers topped by a moulded finial and flanked by a two-rail wooden fence. A tarmacadam drive leads 300m north-east from the road to what was probably the C16 carriage entrance of the manor house, this part of the house being demolished after the house became largely derelict near the end of the C18. The drive then continues a further c250m north-east of the house to Priesthawes Farm. On the north side of the entrance gate from the Hailsham Road a single Scots Pine remains from the late C19 planting, the drive now, 2004, bordered on each side by grass verges and an avenue of young lime trees, with views across surrounding grass and pastureland. On the north of the drive, c100m from the entrance, the south-west buttressed walls of the C16 garden can be seen across the fields.

Approximately 60m from the entrance gate on the east side of the drive, before it curves sharply north-west, is a five-bar wooden gate with a gravel drive beyond marks the C19 and present entrance to the manor house. On the west side of the gate, a stone pier is flanked by a 1m high random course stone wall topped by a wrought iron fence, forming the garden boundary as shown on maps from 1898. The gravel drive, bordered by shrubs and trees, bears 60m north towards the south-west front of the manor house, mature Holm oaks on the east of the drive obscuring views to the fields beyond. The gravel drive terminates in a carriage sweep at the main entrance of the manor house on the south-west front. The carriage sweep is bordered on the west by a 2m high, climber-covered, brick wall with a wrought iron gate with stone surround giving access to the drive to Priesthawes Farm. In the centre of the carriage sweep is a triangular-shaped flower bed, shown on maps from 1898 and now, 2004, with modern planting.

PRINCIPAL BUILDINGS

Priesthawes Manor incorporates the fragments of a three-storey C16 manor house with stepped gables, two outer wings, a porch-turret and turrets in the angles. Probably only the south-east section of the manor house remained by 1783, but this was restored and enlarged during the C19, the ruins of the western part being converted to outbuildings. The manor house now, 2004, has an uneven roofline comprising a two-storey red-roofed building with attic, built of brick with cement facing which abuts a two-storey, grey-roofed section with two bays and mullion windows on the south front. The entrance porch (C20) on the south-west is low-eaved with grey-tiles.

Along the west side of the C16 carriage drive, c30m south-west of the manor house, a C19 lodge (now Lodge Cottage) and outbuildings (now Garage Cottage) have been converted to residential use, whilst 20m to the west, outbuildings are used as workshops. Approximately 150m north-east of the manor house lie the buildings of Priesthawes Farm, now in separate ownership and not part of this site.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The ornamental gardens lie on the north-east, east, south-east and south-west sides of the manor house, with small courtyard gardens within the remaining walls of the C16 building on the north-west side. Adjoining the carriage sweep on the south-west of the house, a tree and shrub bordered lawn extends to the garden boundary with views across a ditch and two rail wooden fence to surrounding pastureland. A gravel path along the south-east front of the manor house leads through an arch in a yew hedge to a tree and shrub bordered garden with the remains of C19 plantings including a Monkey Puzzle tree, now, 2004, in poor condition, and a copse (shown on C19 maps) on the north-east garden boundary. This garden contains largely late C20 features including a rustic-style wooden pergola, a lawn with rose borders and a sunken lawn with a small, ornamental, serpentine-shaped pool. On the north side of the garden an opening in a climber-covered, wooden, slatted fence leads to the site of a former orchard (C19 OS maps), now the site of a swimming pool with crazy paving surround, grass borders and a pool house on the north.

KITCHEN GARDEN

Forty metres to the south-west of the manor house is a square walled garden (70m x70m) shown on maps from at least 1778 as quartered, with paths on the perimeter and partly planted with trees. Although thought to contain a bowling green and a raised terrace walk until at least the C18, by the early C19 the walled garden was also referred to as a kitchen garden. Now in separate private ownership, it is cultivated as an ornamental, vegetable and fruit garden, its walls, now, 2004, overgrown with ivy and self-seeded plants and in a state of poor repair.

REFERENCES

Books and articles

Thomas Walker Horsfield, The History, Antiquities and Topography of the County of Sussex Vol 1 (London: Messrs Nichols & Son, 1835), 302-3.

The County of Sussex: its history, antiquities and topography. Cassell's Topographical Guides (London: Cassell, Petter & Galpin, 1866), 160.

L.P.Salzman, The History of Hailsham, the Abbey of Otham and the Priory of Michelham (Lewes, 1901), 191-197.

‘Post Mortem Inquisition of Queen Elizabeth', Sussex Record Society Vol 3 (1920), pp 87-88.

Viscountess Wolseley Some of the Smaller Manor Houses of Sussex (London & Boston, Medici Society, 1925), 130-146.

David McLean, ‘A link with the USA', Sussex County Magazine vol 24 (1950), 18.

John Farrant, Sussex Depicted. Views and Descriptions 1600-1800. Sussex Record Society Vol 85 (Lewes: Sussex Record Society, 2001), 334.

Maps

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

Robert Morden, Sussex 1695. 1:318000. Old Sussex Mapped website www.envf.port.ac.uk/geo/research/historical/webmap/sussexmap/morden106hastings1rg.jpg.

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

Westham Tithe Map 1835 (W.Figg). East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) Ref TD/E84

OS 25" to 1mile: 1st edition published 1875; 2nd edition published 1898; 3rd edition published 1909; Revised edition published 1937

Illustrations

S.H. Grimm, Sussex Drawings. Rape of Pevensey. (a) Drawing 97: NW View of Preisthawes 1783 (b) Drawing 98: SE View of Preisthawes (undated) (c) Drawing 99: Priesthawes in the Parish of Westham the Seat of John Thetcher Esq 1620 taken from a Map of that Date (undated). BL Ref Additional MS 5671.

Archival Items

John de Ward's Survey of Priesthawes Estate 1621, East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) Ref AMS 6270/38-48.

Archive of the Portman Family of Buxted Place 1648-1755. ESRO Ref SAS/PN/554, 582, 585, 590, 595, 600, 601, 604, 611, 613, 614, 731.

Frances Wolseley's Diary October 13, 1923. Frances Wolsey Topographical Papers Vol 23, Hove Public Library Ref NRA 10081.

Description written: July 2004

Features
  • Gate
  • Description: Decorative double-leaf c1m high wrought iron gates at the east entrance.
  • Gate Piers
  • Description: Round cast iron piers topped by a moulded finial at the east entrance.
  • Drive
  • Description: A tarmacadam drive.
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: A single Scots Pine remains from the late C19 planting.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Avenue
  • Description: An avenue of young lime trees.
  • Entrance
  • Description: A five-bar wooden gate with a gravel drive beyond marks the 19th-century and present entrance to the manor house.
  • Boundary Wall
  • Description: A stone pier is flanked by a 1 metre high random course stone wall topped by a wrought iron fence.
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Mature Holm oaks.
  • Boundary Wall
  • Description: Two metre high, climber-covered, brick wall with a wrought iron gate with stone surround.
  • Flower Bed
  • Description: A triangular-shaped flower bed, shown on maps from 1898 and now, 2004, with modern planting.
  • Latest Date:
  • Manor House (featured building)
  • Description: Priesthawes Manor incorporates the fragments of a three-storey C16 manor house with stepped gables, two outer wings, a porch-turret and turrets in the angles. Much of the manor had gone by 1783, but that which remained was restored and enlarged in the 19th century.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Gate Lodge
  • Description: A 19th-century lodge (now Lodge Cottage) and outbuildings (now Garage Cottage) have been converted to residential use.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Courtyard
  • Description: There are small courtyard gardens within the remaining walls of the 16th-century building.
  • Path
  • Description: A gravel path along the south-east front of the manor house.
  • Arch
  • Description: An arch in a yew hedge.
  • Planting
  • Description: The remains of 19th-century plantings include a Monkey Puzzle tree, now, 2004, in poor condition.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Copse.
  • Pergola
  • Description: A rustic-style wooden pergola.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Pool
  • Description: A small, ornamental, serpentine-shaped pool.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: A square walled garden (70m x70m) shown on maps from at least 1778 as quartered, with paths on the perimeter and partly planted with trees.
  • Latest Date:
Lawn, Rose Border
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Westham
History

Detailed History

CHRONOLOGY OF THE HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Priesthawes was once part of the Manor of Downeashe, owned by the Prior of Michelham (possibly part of the estate of adjoining Glyndley Manor), but by 1508 leased by the Alard family to a Thomas Thatcher. Priesthawes (variously Presthaus, Priest Hawes, Priest Haws, Priesthaus) is shown on maps from at least 1610, a new manor house being built to the east of the old by James Thatcher, possibly in the 1590s, using stone from Pevensey Castle. De Ward's 1621 survey of Priesthawes estate for the Thatchers depicted ‘the old place' with dovecote and barns, the new building shown as a three storey house with turrets and gables. The manor house was then flanked by a ‘fair garden with divers sorts of trees of good and principal fruit, one fair kitchen garden and one fair court.... With divers ponds well stored with fish and a fair and large warren well stored with coneys' and a bowling green. Priesthawes remained in the Thatcher family until 1699 when the estate was split up, with Thomas Medley of Buxted Park buying the manor house in 1705. In 1719 it was described as ‘a messuage and 14 acres' but by 1783 Grimm's drawing shows it as a partial ruin, the property of George Medley. However, a contemporary map clearly shows a house with a quadripartite walled garden on its south-west (Yeakell & Gardner, 1778-83).

In 1810 the property came into the hands, by marriage, of Lord Liverpool, whose daughters sold it in 1859 to a Frederick Tuppen, who restored part of the manor house. In 1872 a Captain William Taylor of the 9th Cinque Ports Artillery Volunteers, later Mayor of Pevensey and County Councillor for East Sussex, bought Priesthawes together with adjoining Glyndley Manor. His improvements included planting an avenue of Scots Pines on the C18 carriage approach (1st ed OS map) and developing a garden on land north-east of the manor house. In 1899 Priesthawes Manor was sold again to a Robert Wright and in 1917 to the Wadmans, when the Elizabethan walled garden was still described as a ‘pleasaunce... divided by straight mown alleys into regular plots, one forming the Nosegay garden, another the Pomarium or Orchard, while other parts are reserved for herbs and vegetables' (Wolseley, 1925). The property was evidently later developed as an hotel, but in 1950 the C16 garden still retained a raised terrace walk ‘supported by a magnificent wall of red brick, buttressed and formidable' from which to view the surrounding landscape, although was primarily in use as a kitchen garden (McLean). In 1951 the manor house with extensive pleasure gardens, walled kitchen garden, glasshouse range and woodland (11ha) was on the market again. It remains in single private ownership.

References

References

Contributors

  • Sussex Gardens Trust

  • Barbara Simms

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