It seems that the first house to be built on the site of the present house, was constructed in 1608, when it was described as having… “four chambers and garretts, with one barn, faire orchard and gardens thereunto adjoining.”
Segdwick Park’s 750-year history has seen all manner of change, but thanks to the vision of its owners in the last 150 of those years it’s a wonderful West Sussex house with famously beautiful gardens.
‘The corner of West Sussex with Horsham at its centre would seem to be endowed with special attraction for the gardenmaker,’ wrote Christopher Hussey in Country Life in June 1942. ‘There are Leonardslee, South Lodge and the late Mr. Millais’s garden at Compton’s Brow, and in this select company the garden at Sedgwick Park is one of the most distinguished.’
Sedgwick Park was created as it exists today when it was the country seat of the Hendersons, whose efforts in transforming a neglected home into a gem were tireless. An earlier Country Life article describes Mrs Emma Henderson as ‘having proven herself a genius’ for her vision as she worked with Harold Peto and Sir Ernest George on remodelling Sedgwick in the late 19th century. Various castles and houses have stood on this site since the mid-13th century, but it was the Hendersons who turned a neglected property into something special.
The attention lavished on the place won great fame and acclaim for Sedgwick Park, which had previously been a ruin that suffered an ignominious fate: ‘Hundreds of loads of stone from the old castle ruins were carted for road-mending; its site was then used for grazing land,’ wrote Hussey.
‘When in 1862 Mr Henderson bought the estate from Mr James Tudor Nelthorpe, this spoliation was stopped.’
The house as it stands now is a 15-bedroom home set over three floors, with a floor plan so extensive and dizzying that the new owners might need a map to navigate the place for their first week or so. Not that getting lost is much of a bother in such a beautiful home, where the period features lend grace and beauty to the generously-sized rooms.