Sackville House

East Grinstead, West Sussex

Overview

We will be holding free public open days at this property on 10 & 11 September 2022. Click below to book your free tickets.

Open Days

Built about 1520, this is a substantial timber-framed house with rooms of wood and lime plaster and the patina of centuries past. When you enter the yard you escape the bustle of modern day East Grinstead and find yourself in a large, peaceful garden. It was rescued in 1919 and was bequeathed to us in 1995, so that everyone could enjoy it.

We have recently rephotographed this Landmark

  • CotCot
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower
  • Explorer PacksExplorer Packs

Beds 2 Single, 2 Twin, 1 Double

Sleeps
8
4 nights from
£595 equivalent to £18.59 per person, per night

A timber-framed house that still has its portland garden

Sackville House stands on the south side of East Grinstead’s broad High Street. Timber-framed, like most of the older houses here, and roofed in thick Horsham stone, it was built with a fine jettied frontage in about 1520 as a substantial house running back from the street with a yard at the side. It was remodelled 50 years ago, adding fireplaces and wall paintings. 

What is really exceptional about Sackville House lies behind. East Grinstead was laid out in the thirteenth century, a street of houses each with a long plot of land behind, called a portland. Most of these have since been divided and built on, making ours a rare survival. Only in one small area, opposite the church, do they survive in anything like their original form. The garden here, some 630 feet long, slopes to the south, passing through several stages from formal terrace to wild nuttery. The contrast, and combination, are delightful.

A generous gift to the Landmark Trust

Sackville House was rescued from decay in 1919 by Geoffrey Webb, a stained-glass artist and uncle of Sir Aston Webb, the architect. His daughter, Ursula, left it to us, with the wish that it be kept as a dwelling. It was Ursula Webb’s brother, Father Benedict, who first wrote to the Landmark Trust saying that "nothing would give our family more happiness than to know that the future of Sackville House is assured as a residence and with its beautiful garden intact". We were delighted that he was the first person to stay here after our restoration, to see that his family and sister’s wishes will be respected.

Floor Plan

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Map & local info

Sackville House stands on the south side of the lively High Street in East Grinstead, a busy market town and capital of the surrounding historic area of outstanding beauty known as the High Weald. Follow the footpaths to explore the mysterious, ancient, wildlife-rich woodlands of the Weald and join in the many activities on offer.

Both Standen, a beautiful Arts and Crafts house set in a picturesque hillside garden, and Chartwell, the family home of Sir Winston Churchill, are fascinating historic houses to visit nearby. Hammerwood Park is also open to the public during the summertime and stages a varied programme of musical events.

Hop onto a steam train at the Bluebell Railway Station for a fun trip through the heart of Sussex in vintage style.

For more ideas and information on things to see and do during your stay at Sackville House, take a look at our Pinterest page.

Please Note: The Landmark Trust does not take any responsibility and makes no warranties, representations or undertakings about the content of any website accessed by hypertext link. Links should not be taken as an endorsement of any kind. The Landmark Trust has no control over the availability of the linked pages.

Clear directions
FAQs
What you need to know about this building
  • No.
  • From the street.
  • East Grinstead – 0.5 miles.
  • There is parking in the yard area for two cars.
  • There is gas fired central heating and an open fire.
  • Logs may be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit signalchecker.co.uk. Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc.
    There is also an electric cooker, a dishwasher and a microwave.

  • There are three bathrooms, two with baths and one with a shower. There are two additional wcs.
  • The internal stairs are not especially steep.
  • Yes, some of the doorways have low headroom.
  • As this property is in a town, you may experience a level of noise associated with an urban location.
  • There is a large garden (not enclosed).
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.
Facilities
  • Sometimes our kitchens and bathrooms have to be imaginatively fitted into the available space in buildings where before there were none, but they are all planned and equipped to a high and modern standard.
  • Yes, Landmarks are fully equipped with sheets and towels. All the beds are fully made up for your arrival.
  • Yes, our kitchens are well equipped with cookers and fridges. There are freezers and dishwashers (in larger buildings) and, where space allows, microwaves as well as a wide and standard range of utensils. A full equipment list is available at time of booking.
  • Logs are provided at many of our Landmarks for an additional cost.
  • Mobile coverage varies. Some Landmarks have an excellent signal, but others have none at all. If you are concerned, you can check with the housekeeper before your arrival.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
  • A welcome tray with tea and sugar awaits your arrival and you will find a pint of milk in the fridge. We also provide toilet rolls and a bar of soap per basin, but no other toiletries. Hairdryers are provided.
History

48 plots with house and portland

East Grinstead was laid out as a borough in the early part of the 13th century with its wide High Street used as a market place. It was flanked by 48 plots and each plot, known as a burgage, had a house on it with a piece of town land or ‘portland’ running behind it, the main purpose of which was to provide food for the occupants - agriculture in an urban setting.

At just over 40 feet Sackville House’s plot is wider than the norm (33 feet) for the town and unusually long at 630 feet. Its position nearly opposite the church was clearly an important one.

The ownership of a burgage conferred certain rights and privileges. For example, an owner could trade at the markets and fairs held in the market place outside their houses before non-burgage holders - thereby ‘forestalling’ them. The right to vote for a member of Parliament also depended on showing title to a burgage and so acquiring them became a way of exerting power and influence. It was in the 17th century that the Sackville family from nearby Knole started to actively acquire burgages and it is from this connection that the house got its name, although it doesn’t appear to have been known as Sackville House until the late 19th century. It is the same Sackville family that has given its name to the almshouses, Sackville College, lying nearly opposite Sackville House.

The house was built around 1525 as a four bay continuous jetty house with the original wagon way giving access to the rear. Behind the house, and detached from it for reasons of fire safety, was probably a two bay kitchen, of which part of the last bay overlooking the garden still survives. As a continuous jetty house, the ground floor would never have been open to the roof, and it probably consisted of a two bay hall with the buttery and pantry service rooms off one end. There is no evidence of how the hall was heated, as the brick chimney stack is a later addition of 1574, the date proudly carved into fireplace lintel in the middle bedroom.

During repair works to Sackville House, the removal of tongue and groove boarding in a small washroom of the eastern bedroom, revealed extensive remains of a brocade pattern wall painting, painted in a red ochre onto the plaster panels of the stud work wall. Its position in such a small confined space is highly unusual, and it is clear that it must once have formed part of a much larger scheme for the bedroom. There are some slight remains of painted decorative patterns on a beam at the east end of the sitting room, and these, together with those visible in the bedroom, are also likely to be part of the improvements to the house towards the end of the 16th century.

Around this time, the detached kitchen range was connected to the main house and corridors where formed behind the chimney providing privacy to the bedrooms. Such changes necessitated the provision of a new staircase at the back of the front range. In a further raising of living standards, the open kitchen fire was replaced with a large inglenook hearth. The roof was raised, as it was again in about 1700 when the dormers were probably added. The roof is covered or ‘healed’ in the wonderfully thick Horsham stone tiles that are such a joy of this region. The front door would have been in the centre of the present sitting room wall.

The final alterations, basically a rearrangement of rooms, and the insertion of hearths on the upper floors, and the reconstruction of the front wall of the ground floor hall house, date from the late 19th century.

For a short history of Sackville House please click here.

To read the full history album for Sackville House please click here.

To download a copy of the children's Explorer pack for Sackville House please click here.

Restoration

In 1919 the house was in a serious state of decay

In 1919, Sackville House was acquired by Geoffrey and Joan Webb from her father, Frederick Hanbury, who was Vice-Chairman of the pharmaceutical company, Allen and Hanbury. They found the house in a serious state of decay, with parts of the walls covered in dilapidated weatherboarding, and with trees allowed to grow right up against the house.

They carried out a full restoration and laid out the garden, doubtless assisted by her father, who, as a prominent member of the Royal Horticultural Society, employed 43 gardeners at his country home, Brockhurst. Two particularly unusual specimens have caught the eye of our gardener - a Persian ironwood tree, Parrotta persica, and a calico bush, Kalmia latiflora, both just below the bottom terrace to the right and left of the yew arch respectively.

Geoffrey Webb was a well-known stained-glass artist and he worked from a studio at the top of the house. The two roundels in the chapel were made by him. He came from an artistic family; it was his uncle, Aston Webb, who was had a series of commissions of national importance - Admiralty Arch, and works to the Victoria & Albert Museum and Buckingham Palace. It was Geoffrey’s daughter, Ursula, who with very great generosity, bequeathed Sackville House to the Landmark Trust at her death in 1995. She had worked tirelessly to defend the remaining portlands of East Grinstead from development, no doubt strengthened by her childhood memories of being able to ride from the garden right into Ashdown Forest without having to cross any roads.

We appointed Peregrine Bryant as our architect in 1995, and apart from building a new staircase running up from the back hall, it was felt little work was needed. We changed the position of the existing bathroom and added two more. We also felt that the view from the back of the house was so spectacular that the end room, until then a service room, should be the kitchen. This end room and the one above it were extended by some three feet towards the garden when the Webbs moved in, and the windows that they put in were originally much higher to prevent the servants from being distracted from their work. We lowered them by the same amount again.

The bottom of the new staircase is in what was the former kitchen. To improve its appearance and headroom, we removed a steel beam from the ceiling, which is now held up through the new bathroom partition. The old flooring was replaced with hand-made tiles.

In the front of the house, we made the cloakroom into one room, and in the corner of the sitting room where the family chapel is, we decided to block up the doorway from here into the hall. The design of most of the curtains in the house is based on the wall painting discovered in the bedroom lobby.

Outside we have painted the walls on the garden side with limewash. The yard has been repaved in brick and York stone, and the original stone wheel tracks, said to stem from the use of the house by a coffin maker, were revealed when the modern paving was taken up.

It was Ursula Webb’s brother, Father Benedict, who first wrote to the Landmark Trust saying that "nothing would give our family more happiness than to know that the future of Sackville House is assured as a residence and with its beautiful garden intact". We were delighted that he was the first person to stay here after our restoration, to see that his family and sister’s wishes will be respected.

By 2020, the Horsham stone roof required comprehensive repair. We had planned in major maintenance – and then the Covid pandemic hit. Thanks to the Cultural Recovery Fund, we were able to press on with a major campaign of repairs in 2021-22, making extensive repairs to the timber frame as well as the roof. Now the house is back to looking much as it always has, and once more in full good heart.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.