DescriptionLutyens won the National Bronze Medal for this design which is one of a set of seven sheets. He was aged nineteen. As a drawing it is assured and formal in its presentation, following the hard-ruled manner of the Shaw office. Its architecture is also close to Shaw’s ‘Old English’ and has particular echoes of Pierrepont and Merrist Wood in Surrey, which Lutyens would have known well. His use of Gothic traceried windows, however was a personal motif which he later repeated at Chinthurst Hill… and Castle Drogo…The Tudor bay at the south-west end also anticipates what was to come later at the Buckhurst Park music room and at Castle Drogo. (Richardson, 1994, p.24) In the early C20, Buckhurst Park was leased from the De La Warr family by Mr and Mrs Robert Benson, for whom Sir Edwin Lutyens designed additions to the house and a new formal garden. Gertrude Jekyll provided planting plans. In 1952, it was again occupied by the Sackville family and the estate remains in private ownership…
GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS The formal terraced gardens lie below and parallel to the south-west front of the house and were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1903. Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932) produced planting plans although the present planting dates from the 1990s. French windows open onto a paved terrace which steps down to a narrow grass walk terminated at either end by a low raised wall and a seat. A flight of steps at each end of the grass walk descends to a further broad grass terrace containing a rectangular walled sunken garden. Semi-circular stone steps on three sides of the garden lead down to an oblong lily pool with a central fountain (restored in 1992 from use as a swimming pool), surrounded by paving, narrow grass walks and with mixed borders at the foot of the rose-covered retaining walls.
South-westwards below the sunken garden terrace, the slope is retained by two massive, parallel, high-buttressed walls, the lower supporting a grass walk. Mixed planting fills the niches between the buttresses. At both the north-west and south-east ends of the buttressed walls, a complex flight of straight and semi-circular steps with intervening landings links the various terrace levels to the principal lawn (formerly a tennis court) below. A stone pergola extends south-westwards from the foot of each flight to frame the lawn. The terrace containing the sunken garden extends north-westwards in a series of hedged compartments to the north-east boundary of the kitchen garden where it terminates in a bastion of yew hedge enclosing a sundial. (Historic England, list entry 1000230)
BibliographyRichardson, M. (1994) Sketches by Edwin Lutyens: Drawings from the Collection of Royal INsistute of British Architects (RIBA Drawings Monographs No. 1). London: Wiley.
Historic England. BUCKHURST PARK. [Online] Available from: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1000230
Also Cited InAntram, N. (2013) Sussex: East with Brighton and Hove. The Buildings of England. New Haven: Yale University Press.
T, 1912. COUNTRY HOMES GARDENS OLD & NEW: BUCKHURST PARK.–I. SUSSEX, THE RESIDENCE OF .. MR. R. H. BENSON. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 31(801), pp. 686-695.
COUNTRY HOMES GARDENS OLD & NEW: BUCRHURST PARK.–II. SUSSEX: THE RESIDENCE OR MR. R. H. BENSON. 1912. Country Life (Archive : 1901 – 2005), 31(802), pp. 722-729.
ClientRobert H Benson