Few are aware that the civil parish of Southwater extends northwards to just beyond the Boar’s Head pub on the Worthing Road, and includes historic Denne Park House, which is Grade II Listed.
The house sits at the top of Picts Hill, at the far end of an impressive avenue comprising two rows of lime trees on each side that stretches about a third of a mile (500m). The original trees were thought to have been planted in the 17th century by Sir Thomas Eversfield.
The sandstone property itself dates from 1605 but it’s seen many changes and extensions over the centuries, with the front having new fascias to stay in line with the architectural fashion of the era. The original parts comprise the four storey tower on the left and the three gabled sections in the middle. There were a number of quarries on the estate and these supplied the Horsham stone roof tiles that are still evident.
The records of the manor of Denne date back to the mid 10th century but no evidence of any medieval predecessor to the current house has been traced. The Dukes of Norfolk owned the estate until 1572. In that year it was forfeited to the Crown when Thomas Howard, the fourth Duke, was executed for plotting against Elizabeth I to bring Mary Queen of Scots to power.
Between 1572 and 1605 the estate changed hands a number of times before being conveyed to Sir Thomas Eversfield, whereupon he built the house. At that time, the Eversfields were major landowners in Southwater, with their property extending as far south as Station Road. Over the next three centuries the estate continued to be passed down through the family, several of whom were Members of Parliament for Horsham and the local area.
In 1939 the house was occupied by Christchurch Boys School at the outbreak of war. Between 1943 and 1944 it was occupied by the Royal Regiment of Canada. Around 1948 the property was bought by Captain C. R. Cook of Chesworth House who converted the main building into apartments and it remains that way today.
A booklet entitled ‘The Eversfields of Denne’ by Susan C. Djabri is available to purchase from the residents’ association. More information can be found HERE.
Please note, the Denne Park Estate is private property. There is no public access to the house or gardens, although there are public footpaths that cross the estate.