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Brook House
Ardingly, West SussexSold

Brook House

Mock Tudor black and white half-timbering, stone mullioned windows and ornamented brickwork adorn the manor

This elegant two-bedroom apartment in Ardingly, West Sussex, occupies a coveted corner position on the ground floor of Brook House, a 19th-century manor house defined by the arts and crafts tradition. Spreading across 1,200 sq ft, generously proportioned rooms are characterised by moulded coffered ceilings, decorative timber wall panelling and mullioned windows. In the heart of the High Weald AONB, Brook House sits in 17 acres of ground with a historic cricket pitch and a tennis court. Haywards Heath station is only a 10-minute drive away, where trains run directly to London Victoria in 40 minutes. 

Setting the Scene 

Brook House was owned by the Stephenson Clarke family for many years, who bought the original and far more modest hunting lodge on the site in 1877. In the late 19th century, the family made substantial extensions to the lodge, works that coincided with the height of the arts and crafts movement, and, as such, the building grew to champion local architectural traditions and mock Tudor decoration. Black and white half-timbering, stone mullioned windows and ornamented brickwork adorn the manor, nestled in the heart of the High Weald AONB. For more information, please see the History section.

The Grand Tour 

A long rhododendron-lined drive sweeps to the front of the manor, where an impressive dark timber door opens to a communal entrance hall. Here, an original floor of intricately laid ceramic tiles is complemented by an ornamental coffered ceiling. From the communal hall, the apartment’s private entrance opens to a corridor with parquet floors running underfoot and cream-washed walls. 

At one end of the corridor, a door opens to the drawing room; the dark wood panelling and built-in bookshelves are a nod to the room’s original function as the library of the manor. The generous proportions are accentuated by the high coffered ceiling with decorative geometric moulding and the impressive fireplace with a carved motif of Corinthian capitals atop dual fluted columns. The drawing room would make a wonderful space for entertaining as light pours into the room through a box bay of stone mullioned windows with casement openings, framing views over the trees and  plantings of the grounds beyond. There is ample space for seating in the centre of the room, as well as a long window bench set into the depth of the bay window.  

At the opposite end of the corridor is the kitchen, where the original parquet floor continues. Here, the dark tones of the 19th-century fireplace, set with a carved stone surround and fitted with a woodburning stove, are echoed in the kitchen’s timber cabinetry. In addition to the worksurfaces, induction hob, and deep sink lining the room, a large granite-topped kitchen island in the middle of the kitchen makes a wonderful space for preparing a meal. Beyond this, a wide arch studded with moulded floral decoration frames the large stone mullioned window at the front of the room. Below the window, the current owners have arranged a dining table to bask in the morning sun that filters through the panes. 

Accessed from the corridor is also the primary bedroom and a family bathroom. The primary bedroom has ample space for a double bed, and there is excellent storage in a generous walk-in wardrobe on one side of the room. Here, the mullioned windows are fitted with white-painted shutters for a good sense of privacy.

A second double bedroom leads from the kitchen. On one side of the room is a two-paned oriel window with leaded casement openings that peer over leafy grounds. The current owners have lined the walls with blue and white floral-patterned paper and painted the picture rail, cornice and window panels in soft white, making for a bright atmosphere in the double-aspect room. 

The Great Outdoors 

The manor is set within 17 acres of beautifully manicured gardens, parkland and ponds, which offers a private oasis of sweeping lawns and long vistas, perfect for entertaining or a moment of contemplation while walking through the estate.  

Brook House was once owned by the Stephenson Clarke family, who were also responsible for Borde Hill and Wakehurst Place, and, as such, has directly benefited from the same seed bank as these famed gardens. Also encompassed in the grounds are a tennis court and a historic cricket pitch, ideal for those with sporting pursuits in mind. 

Out and About  

Brook House is situated on the edge of Ardingly village, which has a bakery, a pub and a primary school, while nearby Lindfield has more amenities. Nestled within the High Weald AONB, the house is within striking distance of some of West Sussex’s best walks and cycling routes to take in the landscape of rolling hills, woodlands and open heathlands.   

Celebrating the region’s best produce is an array of restaurants nearby, Gravetye Manor and the Cat being of particular note. Gravetye Manor, with a one-Michelin star dining room, is only a 15-minute drive north of Brook House. The restaurant is surrounded by a magnificent Victorian kitchen garden, designed by renowned horticulturist William Robinson, in which much of the produce for the changing seasonal menu is grown. The Cat in West Hoathly is a much-loved gastro-pub where one can enjoy a meal by the inglenook fireplace in the 16th-century inn. 

The Borde Hill estate, only a 10-minute drive from Brook House, is worth a visit both for its magnificent Elizabethan manor house and its nationally renowned grounds. Spanning 2,300 acres, the Grade II-listed heritage parkland and ancient woodland is planted with an array of native and exotic varieties. The botanic gardens at Wakehurst are also nearby. The home of the millennium seed bank, a walk around the grounds at Wakehurst encompasses walled gardens, meadows, glades and valleys.

There are several highly regarded schools in the local area, both state and private and for all ages, including Cumnor House Sussex prep school, Hurstpierpoint College, and Ardingly College. Further excellent schools less than an hour’s drive away include Rodean School, Brighton College and Tonbridge School. 

Haywards Heath station is approximately a 10-minute drive from the apartment; trains run to London Victoria Station in 45 minutes. For international connections, Gatwick Airport is a 25-minute drive from Brook House. 

Tenure: Share of Freehold
Lease Length: approx. 96 years remaining
Service Charge: approx. £4,200 per annum
Council Tax Band: C

Please note that all areas, measurements and distances given in these particulars are approximate and rounded. The text, photographs and floor plans are for general guidance only. Inigo has not tested any services, appliances or specific fittings — prospective purchasers are advised to inspect the property themselves. All fixtures, fittings and furniture not specifically itemised within these particulars are deemed removable by the vendor.


In the 19th-century Brook House belonged to the Stephenson Clarke family of the Stephenson Clarke shipping company. The company, which was established in 1730, specialised in bulk sea short cargoes such as grain, steel, fertilisers and coal, and by 1928 was the largest distributor of British coal in the world, with a vast fleet of ships and of railway wagons. 

Records suggest that before purchasing Brook House the family frequently made visits to a shooting lodge on the site of the house in the 1850s. In 1877 the family bought the modest lodge and began renovations to enlarge it in the years that followed. The manor they built is the one that exists today, an exercise mock Tudor style that was influenced by the arts and crafts tradition of the time. In 1891 the house became the family’s permanent residence, but only remained as such until 1893 when Stephenson Clarke’s oldest son and heir moved the family seat to nearby Borde Hill, going on to build the renowned gardens and arboretum here. 

It is unclear exactly when the cricket pitch at Brook House was laid, it is thought to be one of the oldest in Sussex. It is said that upon the renovations of the pitch at Nottingham Trent’s Bridge, Stephenson Clarke ordered the earth to be dug up and then reinstated at Brook House. What is known, is that when the Australian cricket team made their first tour to England in 1884 they played their second ever match at Brook House, making it home to only the second test of the Ashes.  

Brook House — Ardingly, West Sussex
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