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8 bedroom detached house for sale

Chownes Mead Lane, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16

Offers in Excess of £5,000,000

Property Description

Key features

  • Grade II listed Country House
  • Exceptional setting in park-like grounds
  • 8 bedrooms, 7 bath/shower rooms
  • Pair of semi-detached cottages
  • About 20.5 acres in all

Full description

Tenure: Freehold

Grade II listed 8 bedroom Country House in an exceptional setting, with pair of semi-detached cottages and garaging with flat over, in beautiful gardens and grounds of over 20 acres.


Chownes Mead is situated on the southern slopes of the Weald just outside the market village of Cuckfield which came to prominence as an important coaching stop between London and Brighton. This popular village offers a good collection of local shops and services which provide for 'day to day' shopping needs. The larger towns of Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill are 1.2 miles and 3.4 miles respectively and offer more comprehensive shopping and leisure facilities.

The area has exceptional road and rail communications with the A272 and A23 within easy reach. There is an excellent train service from Haywards Heath which offers a main line service to London Bridge/Victoria (from 43 minutes) and Brighton (from 14 minutes). Gatwick airport is approximately 14 miles offering flights to many national and international destinations.

There are many highly regarded schools in the area such as Worth Abbey, Ardingly College, Great Walstead Prep School, Hurstpierpoint College, Burgess Hill School for Girls and Cumnor House.

There is a vibrant cultural scene in Sussex, with world-class opera at Glyndebourne, theatre at Royal Tunbridge Wells, Brighton and Eastbourne and the annual Brighton Festival presenting a huge programme of theatre, dance, classical music and literary events. Sporting and Recreational activities are extensive with golf at Haywards Heath, Lindfield and Cuckfield Golf Clubs; Racing at Goodwood, Lingfield and Plumpton; and Polo at Cowdray Park, Knepp Castle, Sussex and Hurtwood Polo Clubs.


Chownes Mead has the quiet, undisturbed atmosphere of an altogether gentler age; a peaceful place from which to escape the busy outside world. Although recently renovated and modernised, the property is Grade II listed 'of special architectural and historic interest' and its character remains much as it has always been. Sitting at the top of a sloping gradient in a picturesque landscape, the house enjoys remarkable views over its own gardens and parkland towards the South Downs.

The house was built between 1912 and 1920 for the Kleinwort family of Kleinwort's Private Banking fame, as a sister house to the Heaselands Estate. During World War II the house was requisitioned by the Canadian Army and in conjunction with Cuckfield Park used as their command headquarters before becoming a maternity hospital, releasing Cuckfield Hospital to treat casualties of the Normandy campaign in 1944. After the war the house was lived in by Lord Woolton who served as the Minister of Food under Neville Chamberlin and was a member of Churchill's 'Caretaker' Government until the 1945 general election. After the election loss he served as Chairman of the Conservative party and often entertained many influential political figures at the house such as Harold MacMillan. Chownes Mead was then auctioned in 1955 and has been lived in by just two families ever since.

Largely hidden from the road, the house is approached through a pair of sandstone pillars leading to the gravel drive which winds through the parkland, passes by the cottages and opens to a quadrangle in front of the house. Internally, the substantial formal accommodation is arranged over three floors. The main reception rooms are spacious with high ceilings throughout and all have wonderful views of the gardens and parkland. While the house has recently been the subject of complete renovation and modernisation, including a re-fitted bespoke kitchen and new bathroom suites, there remain many period features such as beautiful marble and stone fireplaces, hand carved Norfolk oak panelling, oak flooring and ornate stucco ceilings.


The layout and full extent of the accommodation can be seen on the floor plans that follow but some of the rooms are worthy of more detailed description.

Stone steps from the gravelled parking area lead up to the ornately hand carved front door which opens into an internal porch. A pair of oak doors open into the grand reception hall which has original Norfolk oak panelling and a carved cornice which is a feature throughout the main reception rooms. An oak arch leads to the rear hall from which the main reception rooms are accessed. The drawing room is a delightful room with ornate ceiling detail and views to the south west, over looking the terrace with York paving and formal rose garden with parkland beyond. The large fireplace is the focal point with carved stone mantle and inset woodburner. The spacious west facing study over looks the terrace and gardens beyond. There are fitted bookshelves to either side of the stone fireplace with an ornate hand carved over mantle. A door leads through to the dining room. The double aspect room overlooks the south and west terrace providing ample natural light and is large enough to comfortably seat twelve for dinner. The beautiful hand carved spiralled door frames and the arched stone fireplace are of particular note.

Double doors from the hall open into an area which was once used exclusively by the household staff. The kitchen/breakfast room overlooks the south terrace, has a two-oven Aga and Aga companion and has been re-fitted with a range of bespoke kitchen cabinetry and central island with black granite worktops. Across from the kitchen is a re-fitted utility room, and beyond here a gym and a family room.

First Floor

The spectacular oak staircase from the reception hall boasts a charming and highly unusual feature: a secret panel is released by pressing a button hidden in the carving on the staircase to reveal a small hiding space. The staircase leads to a large galleried landing area from which all the main bedrooms are accessed. The double aspect master bedroom suite has an elevated view of the gardens and parkland beyond. The suite comprises a dressing room with fitted wardrobes and a hexagonal turret en suite shower room. There are three further bedroom suites, a further bedroom, family bathroom and cloakroom.

Second Floor

The rear staircase which services all floors leads to the top floor landing. This floor would once have housed the domestic staff and contains a fully fitted kitchen, sitting room, 3 bedrooms, study, bathroom, shower room, separate WC, an hexagonal turret room and store rooms.


Stone stairs lead to the cellar which includes a wine room and separate store room.

Coach House Cottages

The Coach House is located a short distance from the main house, is also Grade II listed and has been skilfully converted into a pair of semi-detached cottages, each with its own private garden, fully fitted kitchens and bathroom suites. This charming building is constructed of sandstone with exposed exterior oak beams under a Horsham stone roof in keeping with the style of the main house.

Garage and Garage Flat

Situated to the north side of the house, the newly-constructed, centrally heated garaging comprises 4 bays with electrically operated doors. A staircase rises to accommodation over, comprising sitting room and fully-fitted kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

Gardens and Grounds

The gardens are a particular feature of Chownes Mead, designed by Gertrude Jekyll who collaborated with the renowned architect Edwin Lutyens on many projects, although she never visited the gardens. There are areas of lawn and well stocked formal gardens located to the south and west of the house; as was the fashion in the mid 50s and 60s the lawns and formal gardens were extended away from the house allowing for long vistas from many of the reception rooms and the raised terrace. In recent years this fashion has been reversed and the gardens have gradually shrunk as the natural parkland has encroached. The natural dell in front of the house which was once a lake is surrounded by a variety of shrubs and larger evergreen trees. The lawns extend out beyond this and gradually merge with the parkland and woodland. The estate boasts many majestic specimen trees which include several sequoias and scots pines.

Located on the south terrace is the swimming pool and seating area which provides an excellent area for summer entertaining and alfresco dining. Beyond the pool a path leads through the woodland to the tennis court. There is an area of flat lawn next to the tennis court which is currently used as a croquet lawn and a beautiful, well-stocked flower garden.

Secondary access from Chownes Mead Lane gives access to a well screened and enclosed yard, with a large agricultural building housing an estate office.

In all about 20.5 acres.

Agent's Note

Planning permission was granted on 4 February 2015 for the 'Enclosure of the existing swimming pool within a pool house building.' Mid Sussex District Council, ref: 14/04433/HOUS.

Square Footage: 11,745 sq ft
Acreage: 20.5 Acres


From the M25 take junction 7 sign posted M23 (S) to Brighton. Exit the M23 at junction 10a sign posted B2036 and at the top of the slip road take the 2nd exit off the roundabout on to the Balcombe Road. Follow the road through the villages of Balcombe and Brook Street. Upon entering Cuckfield continue down the High Street and at the min-roundabout turn left onto the B2184 London Lane. At the T-junction turn left and at the roundabout take the first exit signposted A272 Tyler's Green. After approximately 0.2 miles Chownes Mead Lane can been found on the right hand side. The entrance to Chownes Mead will be found after short distance on the right hand side.

More information from this agent

Listing History

Added on Rightmove:
22 July 2016

Map & Street View

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