From mansion to youth hostel

Standing on the other side of the London Road, this large, Grade II-listed mansion was originally built in 1558 for Sir William West, Lord de la Warr, but it was rebuilt with the addition of the present facade of black mathematical tiles, pediment and Tuscan doorway, in 1764 for John Paine.

In the mid sixteenth century the estate was the property of Richard Shelley, one of the commissioners for the ‘Book of all the Auncient Customs’, but the house is said to be haunted by one of its later owners, Anthony Stapley, who was a signatory to King Charles I’s death warrant. The owner in 1840, Major Paine, fortunately insisted that the railway should pass through his land in a tunnel rather than a cutting.

At the rear of the house is a listed stable building with an unusual cobbled pediment, and there is also a lodge by the London Road. In 1926 the house and grounds were purchased by the corporation for £6,000, and since 1939 it has been leased as a youth hostel. The parkland is now known as the Patcham Recreation Ground, but the magnificent woodland on the side of Coney Hill was decimated by the storm of October 1987.

Comments about this page

  • When the new housing estate was built in Patcham in the early 1930s, my family moved from London and lived there for three years, from 1935 to 1938. The existing elementary school could not house the influx of children from the estate, so Patcham Place was used as classrooms. One day a group of spiritualists came and the school was closed for half a day to enable them to conduct a seance to try to contact the ghost of Anthony Stapely. Whether or not they were successful was a matter for speculation, but we all enjoyed the half day off! I remember the large entrance hall, freezing in winter, where a fire was lit in the huge fireplace. We had our morning milk break there, drinking the milk from small glass bottles through straws which really were hollow straw. Some of the boys used to light them from the fire, and try to smoke them. The South Downs bordered the housing estate, and we spent many happy hours hiking to Devil’s Dyke and to see an intact windmill that stood nearby. We also hiked to see the Chattri. My childhood memories would not be complete without these remembrances of Patcham.

    By Ida Greene (06/07/2006)
  • I also went to school at Patcham Place, we were moved there when the old village school became overcrowded. I wonder if you are in the picture I have of Mr. Wills’ class? Some of the students were Marie Wills – teacher’s daughter, Margaret Stubbs, Joan Cheeseman, Betty Bateman, Ida Amas, Geoff Anscombe, Ronald Bravery, John Stockley, ? -Still, Peter Pilton. Do you remember any of them ? Outside we used to play on the big beech tree and I remember the Monkey Puzzle tree in a sheltered corner. Maybe you are the Ida who lived near the bottom of Craignair Ave ?

    By Rita (Bannister) Buckrell (09/02/2008)
  • I wonder whether Geoff Anscombe was my Dad, born in Steyning in 1926?

    By Chris Anscombe (07/09/2008)
  • Correction to last comment – Dad was born in Preston in September 1925. His father, Cecil Anscombe, was a police constable.

    By Chris Anscombe (08/10/2008)

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