Shepherd's Hill (also known as Sheppard's Hill)6926

Uckfield, England, East Sussex, Wealden

Brief Description

Shepherd's Hill is a formal, compartmentalised garden laid out from 1926 around four sides of a contemporary house, both designed by the architect Sir Edward Maufe. Features include pools, terraces, avenues, and 18th-century privy and a brick-built summerhouse.

History

The site at Shepherd's Hill was allotted to Sir Robert Fagg and John Fagg of Wiston in 1710. It is thought that Robert Fagg used an existing fire-damaged house on the site as his hunting box whilst planning a new mansion and stables. The stables had been built by 1740. In 1926, the property was purchased by the architect, Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe. Between 1926 and 1928 Maufe converted Fagg's original stable block and flanking outbuildings to a forecourt for a new country house.

Terrain

The site is in the undulating countryside of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Detailed Description

SITE DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Shepherd's Hill is situated in a rural location in the undulating countryside of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty with distant southerly views to the South Downs. The c3.5ha site lies c2km south of the A272 Heathfield to Hayward's Heath road, 1.75km south of the village of Pound Green. The site is bounded by Pound Lane to the west, a local road running north-west from Pounsley to Pound Green to the south and is surrounded by pastureland to the north and east.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

The entrance to Shepherd's Hill is from the south-east entering the site from the north of the Pounsley to Pound Green road via a concrete aggregate surfaced drive (now, 2005, in poor repair). Formerly, the entrance was 180m further west at the junction of the Pounsley to Pound Green road and Pound Lane (OS 1929). This entrance, on the south-west side of the site, comprises 2m high, brick gate piers (listed Grade II*) with stone bases and tops, each surmounted by a stone vase and hung with double-leaved, curved wooden gates. These survive (without vases) but now (2005) form the entrance to ‘Munnings', a late C20 conversion of Maufe's stable block, now in separate ownership. Until the site was divided (from 1976) the drive to Shepherd's Hill ran north-east along a 20m poplar lined avenue (RIBA) to the forecourt of Maufe's converted stable block. The drive continued through a central arch in the stable block ascending to a courtyard on the west front of the new house.

The present (2005) c200m entrance drive to Shepherd's Hill runs north-east for 70m with westerly views to the house across a paddock (80m x 80m) enclosed by a Sussex post and rail fence. The east side of the drive, bordered by mature trees with an understorey of rhododendrons, forms the site boundary, with filtered views to surrounding fields and woodland. The drive then turns sharply to the north-west, running along an avenue of young limes with the paddock on the south side and views over pasture to woodland to the north. Eighty metres along this section, on the north side of the drive, is a detached, timber-built, triple garage with tiled, hipped and pitched roof and three pairs of wooden doors with concrete parking area to the front (late C20 addition). The drive continues north-west for a further 50m, with views south-west across yew enclosed gardens on the east side of the house. It follows the curve of a 2m high yew hedge before turning south-west to enter the rectangular, gravelled courtyard through brick gate piers with stone bases and caps (listed grade II*). Immediately inside the courtyard, on its north-west side, narrow stone steps give access to an C18 privy, built of brick with a tiled roof and with windows on three sides. It is now, 2005, used as a summerhouse and is currently under repair. A mature, wide-spreading oak standing 10m south-west of the privy forms the central feature of the courtyard, the house lying 10m beyond on the south-west side of the courtyard.

PRINCIPAL BUILDINGS

Shepherd's Hill (listed grade II*) is a two-storey (with attic), red brick house built in Flemish bond with grey headers, with three bays under a tiled roof and with brick chimneystacks at both ends. Facing west, the house was designed in 1926 by Sir Edward Maufe in a style considered by some as ‘outside the main stream of his work' (Country Life) and influenced by his admiration for Swedish architecture and decoration. A sculpture, commissioned by Maufe from Eric Gill - a shield with two ravens, a lion and the figures of a man, woman and child with a row of shells (shells were the Maufe family emblem) and the motto EX FORTE DULCEDO - is displayed within a keystone above a full-height entrance porch on the west side of the house. To the east of the porch, an early C20, single-storey brick extension was further extended into the tiled roof in the late C20. The brick facing on the south end of the house has now (2005) been tilehung.

Twenty metres north-west and downhill of Shepherd's Hill, the C18 stables and outbuildings with linking brick and flint arcades (early C20) now (2005) form the property known as ‘Munnings' and comprise residential accommodation.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The garden compartments lie on all four sides of the house and include Maufe's sunken garden with semi-circular pool, yew hedged enclosures, double flower and shrub borders, stone terraces with low stone walls and a swimming pool with summerhouse (Country Life). From the entrance porch on the west front of the house, a York stone path leads west to a flight of broad stone steps leading down to, and forming the eastern boundary of, a sunken walled garden (15m x 20m) with a central lawn and wide, well-stocked shrub and flower borders. The north wall of this sunken garden is formed by the upper floor of the converted stable, now part of ‘Munnings'. Its stone flag paving below this wall, overhung by a mature fig tree and Magnolia grandiflora, is now, 2005, in need of repair. A semi-circular, ornamental pond abuts the stone paving, its star-patterned base and walls of ‘blue cementone with full half-inch white joints' and octagonal ‘concrete base for bronze figure' (RIBA), now obscured by overgrown plants. The western boundary of the sunken garden is formed by a wall with a series of open arches, designed as a viewing point to a garden previously on the east of the stable forecourt, but now overlooking a neglected piece of grass surrounded by trees.

From the top of the broad stone steps, a stone flags path run southwards the c15m length of the house bordered on the east by lawn and on the west by a raised planting bed along the top of the sunken garden. At the corner of the house, further stone flags lead east across grass to a south-facing brick and stone terrace enclosed by low stone walls and views across a lawn to the site boundary, c25m to the south. Following the line of the house to its east front, a broad, stone-flagged terrace runs northwards along the house front with formal planting beds overlooking a swimming pool added in the late C20. The pool is set within paving and sloping lawns and is enclosed on its north, east and south sides by 1.5m high, clipped yew hedges. Steps lead up from the east side of the pool to a stone seat set within an alcove in the yew hedge.

Twenty-five metres northwards along the hedge a gap gives access to the drive. Overlooking the pool in an elevated position is Maufe's brick-built summerhouse with four supporting columns at its entrance, folding glass doors and a seating area, its walls decorated with three plaster heads. On axis with the summerhouse and swimming pool, a gap on the southern side of the yew enclosure leads to a 25m long avenue of fruit trees set in rough grass and terminating at trees on the south boundary. From the east terrace, a flight of steps leads up between 2m high camellia bushes to a 25m long grass walk lined by mixed borders on each side and set within a yew-hedged enclosure; two yew arches at the far end give access to the drive. Approximately 10m along the grass walk, a further gap in the hedge on the west side leads to symmetrical flights of steps - each with ornamental railings incorporating two cherubs, the letter ‘M' and a shell - descending to the courtyard on the west front.

REFERENCES

Books and articles

John Cornforth, ‘Shepherd's Hill, Sussex. The Home of Lady Maufe', Country Life (October 9 1975), 906-909.

Margaret Richardson, ‘Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe' in Dictionary of National Biography Archive (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004-5). via. oxforddnb.com/articles/31/31429-nav.html (accessed 25 July 2005).

Maps

William Gardner, Thomas Yeakell and Thomas Gream A Topographical Map of the County of Sussex. http://thesussexweald.org

Christopher and John Greenwood Map of the County of Sussex 1825. West Sussex Record Office.

Buxted Tithe Map 1841. East Sussex Record Office (ESRO) ref TD/E135

OS 25" to 1mile: 1st edition published 1874 (Sheets 28/14, 41/2); 2nd edition published 1899 (Sheets 28/14, 41/2); 3rd edition published 1910 (Sheets 28/14, 41/2); Revised edition published 1929 (Sheets 28/14, 41/2)

Shepherd's Hill (Sussex). Design for pool in west garden. Undated. RIBA Drawings Collection ref MAUFE PA1020/1.

Illustrations

Shepherd's Hill, Buxted, Sussex. 10 b&w 20x25cm (or smaller) prints of house and garden 1926-8. RIBA Photos Collection ref 35944.

B/W photograph showing the view from the road to the stable forecourt. Undated but probably 1926-8. RIBA Drawings Collection MAUFE II/B Shepherd's Hill Furniture File.

Pencil drawing (possibly for a tile design) of the stable forecourt. Undated. RIBA Drawings Collection MAUFE II/B Shepherd's Hill Furniture File.

Archival Items

Archive of the Pelham Famiy of Stanmer, Earls of Chichester. Copy of proceedings on writ of partition 19 April 1710. ESRO ref SAS/A374

The Winston Archives. Title deeds, settlements, wills and manorial documents. West Sussex Record Office (WSRO) ref WISTON.

English Heritage Listed Building Entry 5208 (26 November 1953) Hadlow Down Blackboys. Shepherd's Hill including terracing, steps, gatepiers and garden house.

Shepherd's Hill Sales Particulars, Knight Frank 2002. ESRO ref AMS6384/69.

Description written: July 2005

Features

Style

  • Formal
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: Shepherd's Hill is a two-storey (with attic), red brick house built in Flemish bond with grey headers, with three bays under a tiled roof and with brick chimneystacks at both ends.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Entrance
  • Description: The former entrance to the site comprises 2 metre high, brick gate piers (listed Grade II*) with stone bases and tops, each surmounted by a stone vase and hung with double-leaved, curved wooden gates. This is now the entrance to the converted stable block.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Stable Block
  • Description: The stable block has been converted for residential use.
  • Avenue
  • Description: An avenue of young limes.
  • Building
  • Description: A detached, timber-built, triple garage with tiled, hipped and pitched roof.
  • Courtyard
  • Description: A rectangular, gravelled courtyard.
  • Gate Piers
  • Description: Brick gate piers with stone bases and caps.
  • Privy
  • Description: The 18th-century privy is built of brick with a tiled roof and with windows on three sides. It is now, 2005, used as a summerhouse and is currently under repair.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: A mature, wide-spreading oak.
  • Pool
  • Description: Semi-circular pool.
  • Hedge
  • Description: Yew hedged enclosures.
  • Border
  • Description: Double flower and shrub borders.
  • Terrace
  • Description: Stone terraces with low stone walls.
  • Pool
  • Description: Swimming pool.
  • Summerhouse
  • Description: A brick-built summerhouse with four supporting columns at its entrance, folding glass doors and a seating area, its walls decorated with three plaster heads.
  • Path
  • Description: York stone path.
  • Steps
  • Description: A flight of broad stone steps.
  • Planting
  • Description: A sunken walled garden (15m x 20m) with a central lawn and wide, well-stocked shrub and flower borders.
  • Pond
  • Description: A semi-circular, ornamental pond has a star-patterned base and walls of `blue cementone with full half-inch white joints' and octagonal `concrete base for bronze figure' (RIBA), which are now obscured by overgrown plants.
  • Wall
  • Description: A wall with a series of open arches.
  • Terrace
  • Description: A south-facing brick and stone terrace enclosed by low stone walls and views across a lawn to the site boundary.
  • Terrace
  • Description: A broad, stone-flagged terrace runs northwards along the house front with formal planting beds.
  • Garden Seat
  • Description: A stone seat set within an alcove in the yew hedge.
  • Avenue
  • Description: A 25m long avenue of fruit trees set in rough grass.
Drive
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Mayfield and Five
History

Detailed History

CHRONOLOGY OF THE HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

The site of Shepherd's Hill (sometimes Sheppard's Hill) was held by the Pelham family, Earls of Chichester, until the early C18, the Pelham archives identifying Thomas Relf as the tenant of ‘lands and tenements... called Sheppard's Hill'. On partition of the Manors of Hendall, Buckhurst and Worth in 1710, a 78.5ha site at Shepherd's Hill was allotted to Sir Robert Fagg and John Fagg of Wiston. It is thought that Robert Fagg used an existing fire-damaged house on the site as his hunting box whilst planning a new mansion and stables, although only the latter, a ‘handsome' stable block, had been built by his death in 1740 (Country Life). Subsequent owners continued to develop the property, which by 1762 included ‘a capital messuage, coachhouse and stables' (Wiston archives), the core of the C18 house having been incorporated into a farmhouse with a reduced landholding of 50ha by 1841 (Tithe Map). Charles Goring is documented as the owner, the property, including a house with garden, lawn and orchard together with fields (pasture and arable), woods & plantations and a rabbit warren, being tenanted by John Smith. Ordnance Survey maps (1874, 1899, 1910) confirm that few changes took place in the following seventy years. In 1926, the property was purchased by the architect, Sir Edward Brantwood Maufe (formerly Muff), as a home for himself and his wife, Gladys, a designer, interior decorator and, from 1939, a director of Heal's.

Between 1926 and 1928 (OS 1929) Maufe converted Fagg's original stable block and flanking outbuildings to a forecourt for a new country house that incorporated the C18 farmhouse. The house rose above the forecourt roofs, the fall of the land on the west being hidden by an existing oasthouse and cottage to create a sense of enclosure (RIBA). Maufe designed brick gate piers topped by lead vases, one pair for the entrance from the road on the south and another pair on the north side of the site opening ‘into a crowsfoot of apple avenues', and developed gardens around the house. Sir Edward Maufe died in 1974, Lady Maufe remaining at Shepherd's Hill until her own death two years later. The stables and outbuildings were then sold and divided into a number of private residences, Maufe's house retaining only c2.5ha of his ornamental garden and paddocks as its setting. The site remains in multiple private ownership.

Period

  • Early 20th Century (1901-1932)
Associated People

Just one person associated to Shepherd's Hill

Contact

Telephone

01793 445050

Official Website

Click Here
References

References

Contributors

  • Sussex Gardens Trust

  • Barbara Simms

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