Sennicotts 5769

Chichester, West Sussex, England, West Sussex, Chichester

Brief Description

Sennicotts lies at the eastern end of the parish of Funtington. There is a Regency-style house, approached from a driveway from the south-east. There are many fine trees, some of which were lost during the 1987 storms. The gardens lie mainly to the north-west of the house, with parkland surrounding the gardens to the south, west and north of the property. There is also a kitchen garden and evidence of a home farm.

History

Sennicotts was built by Charles Baker of the East India Company, son of a Chichester surgeon. Sennicotts is thought to have taken its name from 'seven cottages' on Saltbox common. The greater part of Saltbox Common was developed around 1810 to create three small country estates with houses in the Regency style. Sennicotts was one of those estates, and is thought to have been designed by James Elmes. The remaining pieces of common were enclosed officially in 1834, and absorbed into the three estates. There is no estate map in existence.

Detailed Description

The house is Regency with a balustrade and paved terrace on the north-east and south-west sides of the house. The house has had some famous visitors and was occupied from 1939-1945. In 1947 the house was bought by a member of the Bowes-Lyon family, Captain G. Bowes-Lyon and his wife, who were keen gardeners. Looking from the terrace of the house to the west are two very large rhododendron beds created by this family. The tree planting in the gardens include Irish yews, weeping pears and a Wellingtonia.

Near the northern boundary was an avenue of beech trees known as Cathedral Walk. This had originally been planted to mark the coronation of Queen Victoria, but was lost at the time of the hurricane in October 1987. In 1989 a new avenue of trees was planted, this time with limes. It appears that a number of trees in the garden and parkland had been planted in groups of three. The grouping is not always in evidence now, as some of the trees have been lost.

To the south of the lawn, an area which may have been part of the parkland has become part of the gardens. The grass appearance indicates change of use. To the west of the main terrace beyond a lawn area is a shrubbery with narrow paths, (‘pleasure walks'). Six of the paths meet at a summer house. The existing summer house dates from 1990 as the original Chinese summer house had been badly damaged in the storms of 1987. The planting in the shrubbery is Victorian, and includes camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. There is evidence of a thuja tree.

To the western end of the shrubbery is a small pond with a heron created by Margaret Rey, to replace the original statue of a satyr by Dietz, a German sculptor working in France in 1680. Much of the garden statutory no longer remains.

To the west of the lawn and shrubbery area is clipped yew hedging bordering the garden and parkland. From the shrubbery to the north-west is another garden with a late-Victorian wall running along one side enclosing part of the kitchen garden. The original wall has been added to and in places is ten to fifteen bricks higher. At the northern end is a wall of much larger bricks. This garden has now been laid to lawn and there is evidence of Bowes-Lyon planting. There are two lions on plinths brought from an estate in Northumberland by members of the family.

A walk with pleached limes leads to a circular area known as Pan's Garden. There was once a three-tiered fountain there, but it was destroyed in 1987 and only Pan and his pipes remain. There is also a large circular mill stone which is a reminder of the Rank's family connection with milling. A lantern tree (crinodendron) was planted in 1976 and there is also rhododendron planting.

Continuing to walk to the north of the rat barn wall, then north-east of the enclosed kitchen garden, the path leads to various out buildings which had an agricultural use, with evidence of Home Farm buildings as suggested earlier. At the back of these buildings is the walled garden, where there are fruit trees including a fig and an apple tree known was the Aldwick Beauty, originally brought from the Aldwick Estates.

A large area of the garden is under cultivation with vegetables and flowers. The greenhouse against the west wall was replaced in 1970 as the previous one fell down. The site of the old boiler-house can be seen, and there is also a water pump, which could produce enough water to last for ten minutes in the event of a fire.

To the east of the kitchen garden is the stable block, now used to house cars. The coach house was altered in 1930 and bricks known as ‘Midhurst Whites' were used in order to fit in with the older parts of the building. To the east of the stable block is a midden, originally used for horse manure.

The property is very carefully maintained by the present owner Mr James Rank.

Features
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house is Regency with a balustrade and paved terrace on the north-east and south-west sides of the house.
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  • Garden Terrace
  • Description: There is a paved terrace on the north-east and south-west sides of the house.
  • Bed
  • Description: Looking from the terrace of the house to the west are two very large rhododendron beds.
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  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: The tree planting in the gardens include Irish yews, weeping pears and a Wellingtonia.
  • Tree Avenue
  • Description: In 1989 a new avenue of trees was planted, this time with limes.
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  • Tree Clump
  • Description: It appears that a number of trees in the garden and parkland had been planted in groups of three. The grouping is not always in evidence now, as some of the trees have been lost.
  • Shrubbery
  • Description: To the west of the main terrace beyond a lawn area is a shrubbery with narrow paths, (`pleasure walks?). Six of the paths meet at a summer house. The planting in the shrubbery is Victorian, and includes camellias, rhododendrons and azaleas. There is evidence of a thuja tree.
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  • Summerhouse
  • Description: The existing summer house dates from 1990 as the original Chinese summer house had been badly damaged in the storms of 1987.
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  • Pond
  • Description: To the western end of the shrubbery is a small pond with a heron.
  • Statue
  • Description: Is the small pond there is a heron created by Margaret Rey, to replace the original statue of a satyr by Dietz, a German sculptor working in France in 1680. Much of the garden statutory no longer remains.
  • Hedge
  • Description: To the west of the lawn and shrubbery area is clipped yew hedging bordering the garden and parkland.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: From the shrubbery to the north-west is another garden with a late-Victorian wall running along one side enclosing part of the kitchen garden. The original wall has been added to and in places is ten to fifteen bricks higher. At the northern end is a wall of much larger bricks. This garden has now been laid to lawn and there is evidence of Bowes-Lyon planting.
  • Statue
  • Description: There are two lions on plinths brought from an estate in Northumberland by members of the family.
  • Walk
  • Description: A walk with pleached limes leads to a circular area known as Pan?s Garden.
  • Statue
  • Description: In an area known as Pan?s Garden there was once a three-tiered fountain, but it was destroyed in 1987 and only Pan and his pipes remain.
  • Garden Ornament
  • Description: There is also a large circular mill stone which is a reminder of the Rank?s family connection with milling.
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: A lantern tree (crinodendron) was planted in 1976.
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  • Planting
  • Description: At the back of the agricultural buildings is the walled garden, where there are fruit trees including a fig and an apple tree known was the Aldwick Beauty, originally brought from the Aldwick Estates.
  • Greenhouse
  • Description: The greenhouse against the west wall was replaced in 1970 as the previous one fell down.
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  • Stable Block
  • Description: To the east of the kitchen garden is the stable block, now used to house cars.
Balustrade
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Funtington
History

Detailed History

Sennicotts was built by Charles Baker of the East India Company. He was the son of a Chichester Surgeon. Sennicotts is thought to have taken its name from ‘seven cottages' on Saltbox Common. The greater part of Saltbox Common was developed around 1810 to create three small country estates with houses in the Regency style. Sennicotts was one of these estates. The remaining pieces of common were enclosed, officially, in 1834 and absorbed into the three estates. James Elmes, who designed St John's Church in Chichester, is thought to be the designer of Sennicotts house.

Sennicotts lies at the eastern end of the Parish of Funtington. There is no estate map in existence. The Regency house is approached from the south-east along a driveway with many fine trees. These include a holm oak, red and white chestnut trees, beeches and a douglas fir. During the great storm of 1987, seventy five trees were lost throughout the grounds. In the more recent storms of 2001 a beech and an oak both fell. A mature douglas fir was planted near the house forty years ago.

The map of 1875 gives a greater indication of trees and woodland than more recent maps. There is also open parkland. The 1875 map indicates a kitchen garden with three greenhouses and Home Farm buildings which housed two cows, a small dairy and a flint-walled piggery. There is also a small building with a fireplace and chimney and a large barn. To the west of what was a stable block, the 1875 map indicates a possible orchard, also shown on a map of 1893 belonging to the owner.

The 1947 map shows far fewer trees and a greater lawn area, and there appears to be only one greenhouse. There was no indication of an orchard on this map. This may have been cleared when the site was occupied during World War 2. Service personnel used the old orchard area to grow their own vegetables as they needed to be self-sufficient.

The large barn was also in use at this time. World War 2 Spitfire aeroplanes used to fly from the grounds to the west of the property, using a stretch of the parkland as a runway. Along the northern boundary looking to the west can be seen evidence of a pollarded oak which enabled the Spitfires to fly through the trees when the parkland was used as a run-way. The 1965 map shows fewer trees on the property compared with the 1875 map, but more greenhouses are shown.

References

References

Contributors

  • Sussex Gardens Trust