Horsgate House

Contributed by Sue Burgess

Horsgate House, one of Cuckfield's landmark houses, was built in Gothic syle in 1865 for banker Richard Bevan, who was popularly known as "the father of Cuckfield" for his involvement in local life and his generosity with financial support for very many good causes.

The house has been been an opulent family home, a WWII billet for Canadian troops, and for twenty years a children’s nursery, before being converted into council-owned flats and bedsits in the 1980s.

Although it is now several years since the last residents left, the house still stands empty and boarded up against vandalism. The once beautiful parkland is now rough grazing for horses but the expansive view to the South Downs is largely unchanged and a reminder of why Richard Bevan chose this site 150 years ago.

Little evidence remains of its former glory but, despite currently facing a very uncertain future, it is still a handsome house with some interesting architectural details which we have recorded in our file.

Our recent main display commemorated 150 years since the building was built. Below, former nursery nurses at the Horsgate Children's Nursery enjoy the Horsgate House exhibition. They were joined by twins Mary and Anna Kelly, who were fostered from Horsgate as babies, and Pete Small, the husband of Ann (Group photo on right: Mary Kelly, Jenny Hartfield (nee Harper), Ann Small (nee Reeves), Rosemary Bird, Bobby Freeland (nee Taylor), Anna Kelly and Pete Small). They all first met over 50 years ago.

If you are interested in this or any other Cuckfield topics, why not visit us in the museum. Click here to see our opening hours.

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