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genealogy of the Bird and Musgrove families
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Chestham Park

The manor house at Chestham Park was purchased by John Coveney around 1874 and then left to his nephew, Henry Ross, whose widow, Eliza Bird, lived there until her death in 1904.

Chestham Park, Henfield BN5 9AP

The park at Chestham, north of the village of Henfield, was formed about 1825, when the house called Chestham Park was built. In the 19th and early part of the 20th century, the owners or occupiers of these larger houses dominated village society.

Chestham Park was the home of John and Lucretia WOOD between 1816 and 1830.  In 1861 Chestham belonged to Henry Wood RIDEOUT, and was let for shooting. 

Before 1874 it was sold by a member of the WOOD family to James SCOTT; he sold it to John COVENEY, who had devised it before 1876 to his nephew, Henry ROSS.

In 1881 the occupier of "Chestham House" was Henry ROSS, a 41-year old farmer and his wife Eliza. There were no children in the house, and the servants included a butler, cook, parlour maid, housemaid and kitchen maid.
ROSS was succeeded between 1887 and 1895 by his widow. 

Col. G. A. STEBBING was both owner and occupier of the estate in 1914. 

In 1921 he sold it to his brother-in-law Edward HICKS; Mrs HICKS, evidently Edward's widow Ethel, was one of the two chief landowners of the parish in 1930 and 1938. 

Her daughters sold the estate in 1945 to the impresario Prince LITTLER (d. 1973), whose widow sold it to Mr. K. G. WAGSTAFF. 

I understand from the curator of the museum and writer of “Henfield through the lens of Marjorie BAKER” that the present owner does not open the house to the public or become involved in village life, as had previous owners. 
The Marjorie BAKER book contradicts the above not mentioning any ownership by James SCOTT saying that “the WOOD family owned it until the 1860’s, and then the new owner, John ROSS (not John COVENEY ?), enlarged the house in 1876.” I believe this is probably wrong.

At the centre of the south side of the present house at Chestham Park, is a five-bayed Italianate villa probably built in 1825, with notably deep eaves. The present kitchen wing at the back is probably mid 19th-century; a billiard room and library were added between about 1875 and 1882, as was a large conservatory - all during the Henry ROSS period of ownership.  The house was extensively renovated for Prince LITTLER with a new entrance porch being built at the back, many architectural features added including fireplaces and doors, some said to have come from Clumber, Nottingham.

The kitchen garden, west of the house, is apparently early 19th-century. The gardens south-east of the house, which include glades of flowering trees and shrubs, formal paths, and a water garden, were laid out for Prince LITTLER by Percy CANE.  In 1983 the park remained open pasture with some isolated trees and a tree-lined avenue leading to the house.   I went to look at the House but it is hidden up a long driveway behind large gates and a big barking dog ! I saw the property from the road and, although difficult to see, it still looks very much like it does in the above photograph.


Linked toEliza Margaret Bird; Percy Hyde Bird; John Coveney; Henry Ross

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