The current state of the site is unknown. Sales particulars from 1922 indicate that at that date there was a circular carriage drive, rose and flower gardens, parterre, summerhouses, an orchard, fishponds, a lake with boathouses, a centrally-heated winter garden and a 19 hectare park. It is not known how many of these features survive today.
The sales particulars from 1922 indicate that:
The entire estate consisted of 182 acres of which the pleasure grounds covered 14 acres.
There was a circular carriage sweeping to the front of the house with a large central flower bed. Lawns surrounded the house with terracing and stone balustrading and walling with wide flights of steps. Other areas of the pleasure grounds included rose and flower gardens, a formal parterre with sundial and summerhouses, some of which were revolving. Within the estate there were fine trees, large specimen conifers, rhododendrons and flowering shrubs.
The house itself had a centrally-heated winter garden. To the south of the house was a four-acre kitchen garden with fruit trees (espalier, pyramid and wall), a number of greenhouses including a vinery, a cucumber house, a fig and peach house and two large plant houses.
Further features included an orchard, consisting of 1.5 acres, four fish ponds, a lake (used for coarse fishing) with boathouses, two tennis courts, croquet lawns, badminton courts and an enclosed sunbath featuring hot and cold running water. There was also a 47-acre park with oak and forest trees, a warren and pasture. Sporting amenities were provided by a private nine-hole golf course, shooting ground and pheasantry.
Attached to the estate was the Home Farm consisting of 106 acres with farmhouse, two semi-detached villas, three stone-built houses and a number of small cottages.
The site dates back to at least the 1500s. The house was re-built at some time after 1795, then again at some time after 1832.
In the 1500s Shernfold Place was owned by the Crowherst family. By 1638, when it was bought by a William Johnson, the estate consisted of 36 acres with buildings, garden, closes, orchards, barns and various lands and woods. Later owners included Edward Budgen (1746) and Charles Edward Pigou, High Sheriff of Sussex (1795) who built a new house on the site of the old mansion.
In 1832 the freehold of Shernfold Park passed into the hands of Colonel John By, a Royal Engineer in Canada and founder of Bytown which later became Ottawa. His daughter married the Honourable Percy Ashburnham, second son of the third Earl of Ashburnham, who built the present house replacing the one erected by Charles Pigou. The architect for this new house was Lewis Vulliamy. John, the nephew of Percy Ashburnham, eventually became the owner and sold the property to a Benjamin Newgass.
Benjamin Newgass lived in Liverpool for many years, where he was involved with the Liverpool Jewish Board of Guardians, a body that helped poor Jews to survive, start businesses, and get apprenticeships for their children in the city. In connection with the latter, he handed over to the then Treasurer scrip in the Nashville and Louisville Railway stock - "a considerable sum" to found an apprenticeship fund for Jewish boys and girls.
Benjamin was a cotton broker, and interesting in that he was originally from Bavaria, from where he appears to have gone to the United States, became a citizen there, then moved to Britain, and was naturalised as British in 1877. During World War 1, Shernfold Park was converted into a military hospital. When Benjamin Newgass died in 1921, it was purchased by Wellington Williams. By 1947 his son Gerald, a Member of Parliament, had become the new owner.
- Associated People
Sussex Gardens Trust