Parham Park is an Elizabethan house in Cootham, between Storrington and Pulborough, West Sussex, South East England, originally owned by the Monastery of Westminster and granted to Robert Palmer by King Henry VIII in 1540.
The foundation stone was laid in 1577 by the two-year-old Thomas Palmer, and Parham has been a family home ever since. Thomas Bishopp (later Sir Thomas Bishopp, 1st Baronet) bought Parham House in 1597. For 325 years his descendants continued to live at Parham House Estate until January 1922. Then in 1922 the Hon. Clive Pearson, younger son of Viscount Cowdray, bought Parham from Mary,17th Baroness Zouche in her own right, and he and his wife Alicia opened the house to visitors in 1948, after the Second World War when it had also been home to evacuee children and Canadian soldiers. Off the Long Gallery at the top of the house there is an exhibition which touches on the period between 1922 and 1948, with many family photographs as well as photographs of the building works which took place during that time.
Mr and Mrs Pearson, followed by their daughter Veronica Tritton, spent more than 60 years carefully restoring Parham and filling it with a sensitively chosen collection of beautiful old furniture, paintings and textiles, also acquiring items originally in the house. There is a particularly important collection of early needlework. What they created at Parham is a rare survival of mid 20th Century connoisseurship within a major Elizabethan house.
Now owned by a charitable trust, Parham House and Gardens are surrounded by some 875 acres (3.54 km2) of working agricultural and forestry land.
|Site of Special Scientific Interest|
|Area of Search||West Sussex|
|Area||263.4 ha (651 acres)|
|Natural England website|
Around the house stretches 300 acres (1.2 km2) of ancient deer park whose Fallow Deer are descendants of the original herd first recorded in 1628. This area had been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It has special biological interest for its epiphytic lichen flora, as an area for two rare beetles and its large heronry.
18th century Smuggling
Parham House had connections with an infamous smuggling raid on the Customs House at Poole in 1747 by the notorious Hawkhurst Gang. The body of one of the other smugglers was later found in the pond of the Parham House estate after being dumped there some 12 miles from where he had been beaten to death by his accomplices.
The 1995 film Haunted by British director Lewis Gilbert was filmed extensively at Parham. It is based on a novel of the same name by James Herbert, who had strong connections to Sussex, residing at the time of his March 2013 death in Woodmancote, West Sussex.
- Parham House and Gardens - official site
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