Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Small is beautiful - Alfriston Clergy House

The Arts & Crafts terraces are a feature of the garden at Alfriston
Take a half timber-framed house in Sussex with a thatched roof, add three acres of gardens, throw in a little history and you've got a picture postcard of Olde England - it would be hard to find anywhere more representative of our ancient heritage on a glorious summer day than Alfriston Clergy House! I visited this afternoon and wanted to share this charming property with my readers.
The half timber-framed Clergy House dates from the mid 14th century
The house was built in the 14th century and sits at the edge of a village green, presided over by St Andrew's Church. It was derelict by the end of the 19th century, but was saved by the local vicar, Reverend Benyon. In 1896 the National Trust, which had been created just one year earlier by three Victorian philanthropists - Miss Octavia Hill, Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley - took the Clergy House on as their first historical property. Now, more than a century later, it continues to attract visitors from all over the world to look at both house and garden.
Former tenant, Sir Robert Witt, laid out and planted the Arts & Crafts style terraces at Alfriston
The house is framed on three sides by garden. At one side there is an orchard filled with medlar and quince; in the middle there are reed beds overlooking the River Cuckmere; and at the far end there are terraces, planted and decorated in Arts & Crafts style by the tenant who lived there in the 1920s - Sir Robert Witt - who brought the huge terracotta jars, which are such a notable feature here, back from his overseas travels.
The house overlooks the reed beds at the edge of the River Cuckmere
If you're going to visit Alfriston, it's well worth walking round the village too. This is a quintessential English hamlet, filled with charming small shops, pubs and restaurants. The Clergy House is open six days a week until the end of August 10.30-17.00 (closed on Thursdays). And if you fancy visiting other gardens in the area, Charleston is near by, as is Michelham Priory.
The flower and vegetable potager at Alfriston

10 comments:

  1. Another delightful, informative post, Charlotte. I love the neatness and tranquility of Alfriston.

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  2. That is a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. That is something special.

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  4. Wow Great post! Love the photos they are lovely! I just found your blog and see we have a lot in common you should check my blog out and follow if you like
    I always follow back

    :) Kendra

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  5. Oh how pretty! And perfectly tended.

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  6. The potager is amazing...so full of goodies!

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  7. Hi Charlotte
    what a great place. Just love the historic feeling of a garden that must have so many stories to tell. Simply beautiful, captured by a skilled eye. Thanks for sharing.

    Eva
    Evigglade.blogspot.com

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  8. Your blog is gorgeous! So much inspiration in your posts! Love it!

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  9. How splendid these gardens, I feel like I've been on a tour of England! I love the old English classics, (Bronte, Austen, Dickens) and these gardens remind me of the stories. I'm following you from Rome! My compliments for a gorgeous blog!

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  10. A beautiful reminder of my visit here some years ago.

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