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St. Mary's House and Gardens

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This historic house in the downland village of Bramber was built in 1470 by Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, Provost of Eton College and founder of Magdalen College Oxford.

The fine interiors which include the Kings Room, the Monks' Parlour and the unique Elizabethan Painted Room with its intriguing trompe de l'oeil murals give an air of tranquillity and timelessness.

Informative guided tours tell of fact and legend from earlier Knights Templar foundations to the present day. Once the home of the real Algernon and Gwendolen portrayed in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, St Mary's is also reputed to have been the setting for the Sherlock Holmes story The Musgrave

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, and has served as a location for a number of television series, including Dr Who.

St. Mary's today is the home of author and composer Peter Thorogood and the Library contains his unique collection of works by the Victorian poet and caricaturist Thomas Hood. In the octagonal Dining Room visitors see a fine collection of English costume-dolls. Other family rooms on view are decorated with a variety of panelling and examples of 16th and 17th century marquetry and painted leather.

The house and gardens have been wonderfully restored by designer and conservationist Roger Linton. The charming gardens with amusing topiary include an exceptional example of the 'Living Fossil' tree, a magnificent tall magnolia and the ivy-clad Monk's Walk.

The Victorian Walled and Pleasure Gardens (over 3.5 acres), hidden for over half a century, have been beautifully restored. Visitors can see the 140 ft. fruit wall, heated pineapple pits with original stove house, potting shed with Rural Museum, Jubilee Rose Garden, Terracotta Garden, English Poetry Garden and woodland walk.

General Information:

  • Refreshments available

  • Gift shop

  • Free car-park

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  • Directions

    Off the A283 10 miles from Brighton and 56 miles from London.
    Trains hourly to Shoreham-by-Sea from London Victoria with connecting bus 20.

    St. Mary's House and Gardens Postcode for SatNav: BN44 3WE


    +44 (0)1903 816 205
    +44 (0)1903 816 205

    The Street
    West Sussex
    BN44 3WE

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