The house when viewed from the south is framed by a mixture of fine trees including cedar, pine, oak, beech, sweet chestnut, yew and cork oak. . To the rear of the house is a large walled garden, with a crinkle-crankle fruit wall, and a large complex of farm buildings.
To the east, south and west of the house are the remnants of a parkland setting, with single tress and clumps of mixed varieties, condition and age (including some more recent plantings). To the north on rising ground are blocks of woodland (mainly beech conifer and yew with some hazel) linked by woodland strips and an extensive ride network with rhododendron and holly under-plantings.
The current land management is a mixture of free range poultry, sheep grazing and turf production, arable, vines and game.
The overall impression of West Stoke House and its surroundings is rather intimate with the house and church being the dominant feature within a pastoral setting. The views are relatively short and the whole site can only be appreciated by walking it.
The main conservation issues are:
• Conservation of the parkland surrounding the house, by retaining the land in pasture and replacing trees as they die off. Some additional tree planting would be beneficial.
• Retaining the remaining woodland ride network including the under-plantings of rhododendron and holly where present.
- Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts
West Stoke House is situated at map reference SU827088 in the parish of Funtington.
Rowland and Mary Leach
The manor of West Stoke was recorded in the 1100s and no doubt the existing house is the site of the manor house associated with the 11th century church of St Andrew. Little is recorded about the house. In 1764 the Duke of Richmond bought the manor. By 1835 the house was let to Charles Scrace Dickins Esq. (whose family was important enough locally to have memorials inside the church) and in 1880 it was occupied by Lady Victoria Wellesley.
In 1913 West Stoke House and its associated land was sold by the Duke of Richmond to W S Eastwood Esq. and in 1955 it was purchased by the Elwes family, who were the most recent private owners. The house is now used as an exclusive bed and breakfast establishment.
West Stoke Place and its church are shown on the map of 1724. By 1778 there is map evidence of parkland around the house, including what looks to be two lines of trees, one to the east and a double row to the south. A ride network through strips of woodland to the north is also evident, which by 1880 had become more extensive.
To date no documentary evidence has been found on the establishment of the designed landscape. However, the map evidence suggests the basic layout has changed little over more than 200 years.
The main changes have been:
• The development of the woodland rides, which show evidence of extensive ornamental under-planting with evergreen rhododendron and holly in the rides nearest to the house, becoming more native woodland as you go further away from the house. Perhaps these provided cool and attractive walks or rides for the Victorian residents of West Stoke House and their visitors.
• The loss of parkland through tree loss (many came down in the 1987 storm) and change of cropping to arable on the land to the north-west of the house.
- Features & Designations
- Description: To the rear of the house is a large walled garden.
- Crinkle-crankle Wall
- Designed Route
- Description: Woodland ride network, still partly extant.
- Walled Garden
- Fruit-growing Wall
- Key Information
Part: standing remains
Open to the public