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Wadhurst College, Formerly South Park

A Grade II Listed Building in Wadhurst, East Sussex

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Latitude: 51.0603 / 51°3'37"N

Longitude: 0.315 / 0°18'53"E

OS Eastings: 562323

OS Northings: 131550

OS Grid: TQ623315

Mapcode National: GBR NS4.GGM

Mapcode Global: FRA C6K9.SNG

Plus Code: 9F323867+4X

Entry Name: Wadhurst College, Formerly South Park

Listing Date: 7 October 2009

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1393467

English Heritage Legacy ID: 506917

Location: Wadhurst, Wealden, East Sussex, TN5

County: East Sussex

District: Wealden

Civil Parish: Wadhurst

Built-Up Area: Wadhurst

Traditional County: Sussex

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): East Sussex

Church of England Parish: Wadhurst St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Chichester

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Listing Text


995/0/10132 MAYFIELD LANE
07-OCT-09 Wadhurst College, formerly South Park

Country house, later in educational use. Completed in 1885, designed by Adolphus Croft, an in house architect for Gillow and Company (later Waring and Gillow) for John Bruce. It is in Domestic Revival style with influences derived from Queen Anne style, eclectic timber framing of the north west and the Rhineland. The later C20 extensions to the west are not of special interest.

MATERIALS: Ground floor mainly red brick in Flemish bond, first floor tile-hung with fishscale tiles and has wide coved plastered eaves cornice with incised stylised floral motifs and timber-framed attic gables. Tiled roof with terracotta ridge tiles and end finials and tall channelled brick chimneystacks. Windows are a mixture of sash windows with glazing bars to the upper part only and mullioned and transomed casements.

PLAN: An asymmetrical building of two storeys and attics with principal rooms mainly to the east and service wing to the west. The staircase hall extends over two floors on the north side so that most of the principal rooms have a view south over the Weald.

EXTERIOR: The principal feature of the north or entrance front is an off central four storey saddleback tower with timber framed gable and brick round-headed blank arcading directly below, probably concealing a water tank. The second floor has casement windows with curved pediments on brackets but a plainer first floor and the ground flooor is eleborately carved with some terracota work, including some pilasters with busts of knights and ladies, round-headed shell niches and a projecting pediment over the main entrance supported on brackets. The two western bays have an attic gabled oriel and a first floor oriel. To the east are two ornamental gabled attics, one projecting, and a first floor oriel window. The westernmost projecting section is of a simpler character and the ground floor has a projecting C20 brick extension.

The east side has two timber framed attic gables, a two storey canted bay with sandstone architraves and a ground floor square bay. There is some decorative wooden balustrading.

The eastern part of the south or garden front has four elaborate timber framed attic gables, one curved and one canted, and two storey bays with sandstone dressings. Adjoining is a single storey early C20 brick addition (possibly a billiard room) with stone mullioned windows positioned near to the cornice and a large projecting gable with round-headed arch. Further west is a single storey brick ballroom with deep coved cornice and projecting canted bay with timber-framed gable.

The detached C20 classrooms are not included in the listing.

INTERIOR: The entrance vestibule has a strapwork ceiling and tessellated floor with leaf design, and the double door leading into the staircase hall has upper round-headed panels with wrought iron grilles.

The staircase hall has a coffered ceiling, panelling with a cornice of blank arches, a series of doorcases with curved cornices and nine-panelled doors with central carved panels. There is an elaborate fireplace with marble bolection-moulding, engaged Romanesque columns and overmantel with strapwork features including panels, two blank niches and console brackets with the initials JB. The western side has an elaborate cornice of swags and urns, piers and round-headed arches opening onto a well staircase with twisted balusters and Jacobean type newel post. The staircase landing has stained glass with the initials JB.

The eastern ground floor room has a plastered ceiling with floral patterns, dado panelling and the bay window has armorial stained glass. The elaborate oak fireplace has pilasters, built-in mirror and projecting overmantel supported on brackets of grotesques. The door has carved panels and mutule bands.

The south drawing room has an Adam style ceiling with oval medallions containing cherubs, cornice of urn and sphinxes, pilasters and six fielded panelled door. The ceiling decoration continues into the curved bay window and the window surrounds have round-headed arches and pilasters. However, the panelled dado and fireplaces are in a Jacobean style. The fireplace has twelve carved panels to the overmantel and built-in seats.

The adjoining dining room is in the Jacobean style with strapwork ceiling with sunflower, poppyhead and cherub motifs, a deep cornice with urns and an elaborate fireplace with marble fireplace with possible De Morgan tiles and surround with pilasters, nine-panelled doors with carved central panel and fixed floral paintings above the doors. A room to the west of the entrance has a plainer oak fireplace.

The western service end has a stained glass panel of flying ducks in the corridor and two rooms have Adam style wooden fireplaces. The service staircase has thin turned balusters and turned newel posts with ball finials.

An early C20 room, possibly built as a billiard room, has a large skylight in the panelled ceiling and an alcove with baronial type fireplace wih pilasters and coat of arms. There is a spiral staircase to the west.

Further west, the former ballroom has a deep coved ceiling divided into three panels with large glazed skylights and deep bracket cornice. In the centre of the north wall is a full height alcove with balustraded musicians' gallery with fretted overthrow supported on columns over a fireplace. Opposite on the south wall is an elaborate arched and fretted surround in front of a garden entrance with columns and balustrading. The west wall has a further fireplace with bolection moulding flanked by atlantes supporting a cornice and columned overmantel, probably originally containing a central mirror or painting, but after 1930 bearing the shield and motto of Wadhurst College. The east side has a stage with plain proscenium arch. There are two pedimented doorcases.

On the first floor a north and south-eastern bedroom have stained glass floral motifs to the transomes. The south-eastern bedroom has a panelled wooden surround to the fireplace and arched brick interior and the north-eastern bedroom has a fireplace with full-height overmantel with pilasters. There are three painted wooden fireplaces with eared architrves and rised centre panels. Two fireplaces to smaller rooms have oval paterae.

The staircase to the attic floor is a smaller rectangular well staircase with turned balusters, Jacobean type newel post and stained glass skylight. Rooms in the attic have sloping roofs and smaller cast iron fireplaces.

HISTORY: Originally the house was called South Park and was described as newly built in a local directory of 1885. The Directory states that the architect was Adolphus Croft Esq. He was an in-house architect for Gillow and Company, later Waring and Gillow.

The original owner was John Bruce, who had owned the estate since the 1870s and
commissioned Croft to demolish an existing farmhouse and build a new mansion. The 1885 directory entry states "The present residence [...] has been built [...] from designs by Adolphus Croft Esq. It is in the Queen Anne style, half-timbered with ornamental red brick facings and carvings. The interior is admirably appointed, and no expense whatever has been spared [...] The principal rooms are in the Renaissance style, except the drawing room, which is in the Adam style."

By 1890 the house was occupied by the architect's brother, the artist Arthur Croft. Arthur Croft (1828-1893 or 1902) specialised in painting mountain scenery in Britain and the Alps. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1868.

In about 1930 South Park became a boarding school for girls called Wadhurst College. The Legat Ballet School joined it in the 1980s and in the early 1990s Wadhurst College was amalgamated with Micklefield School from Seaford and was known as Micklefield Wadhurst. In 1997 it became a branch of Bellerbys college.

SOURCES: Nairn and Pevsner "The Buildings of England. Sussex." 1965. P617.
www. Wadhurst. info/wadhurst/trefoil/schools.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: Wadhurst College, formerly South Park, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* It was built as a country house called South Park in 1885 in the Domestic Revival Style with an interesting blend of Queen Anne, north western counties timber framing and Rhineland influences by Adolphus Croft, house architect for Gillow and Co., later Waring and Gillow.
* It has complete high quality interiors in Renaissance or Adam style, including oak joinery, plastered ceilings, stained glass and fixed paintings above doorcases.
* The house survives remarkably intact both externally and internally.
* It groups with another estate building, the former stable block.
* Although little is known of the first owner, John Bruce, the second owner Arthur Croft (brother of the architect) was a notable artist who specialised in painting mountain scenery.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

Wadhurst College, Mayfield Lane, Wadhurst is designated for the following principal reasons:
* It is an exuberant Domestic Revival country house built in 1885 with an interesting blend of Queen Anne features, eclectic timber framing and influences from the Rhineland by Adolphus Croft, house architect for Gillow and Co., later Waring and Gillow.
* It has complete high quality interiors in Renaissance or Adam styles including elaborate oak joinery including main staircase, fireplaces (some with tile-work), a variety of doorcases, musicians' gallery and fretted screens, plastered ceilings in Renaissance or Adam style, stained glass windows and staircase skylight and two fixed floral paintings over doorcases.
* The house survives remarkably intact both externally and internally.
* Another estate building, the former stable block, survives and is listed separately at Grade II. The house was designed to take full advantage of the magnificant south view over the Weald.
* Although little is known of the first owner, John Bruce, the house has some historical interest as the second owner from 1890, Arthur Croft, (brother of the architect) was a notable artist who specialised in painting mountain scenery.

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