Site of old Warwick House Estate

Site of old Warwick House Estate.

This article is basically an historical summary of the old Warwick House and its grounds and for more details the interested reader should consult ‘Warwick House – Notable Houses of Worthing – No.5’ by Henfrey Smail, 1952.

Today the site of the old Warwick House grounds are covered by the roads and houses of Elm Road, Warwick Gardens, Ash Grove and Wyke Avenue (see map of east side of High Street). This can be compared with the plan of the Warwick House grounds in 1890, shown below, prior to the demolition of Warwick House and the break-up of the estate.

Plan of Warwick House and its grounds in 1890.

[‘Warwick House – Notable Houses of Worthing – No.5’, Henfrey Smail, 1952, p.10]

However, the land on which Warwick House was built originally comprised of pieces of copyhold and freehold land held of Lancing and Broadwater manors and with additional land acquired under the 1805 Enclosure Act was amalgamated to form the Warwick Houses grounds as shown in the 1890 plan above.

The first ‘speculator’ to perceive the potential of Worthing as a seaside resort was John Luther who, in 1781, constructed a substantial ‘Marine Villa’ at the south eastern end of Worthing Street (now High Street) on land he purchased from the trustees of John Booker of Arundel. Later known as Warwick House, it was built in the prevailing style of the period with flint walls and yellow brick quoins and window reveals, the bricks having been made locally from the blue clay that was to be found on the Worthing Common or Salt-grass. The ground plan of the house was ‘T’ shaped. The central block had, on the ground floor, a magnificent dining room which measured 20 x 30 feet (approx. 6 x 9 metres) with a deep bow window facing south, a morning room, smoking room, hall and other apartments. On the first floor was a drawing room of similar proportions to the dining room, six principal bedrooms, a boudoir and three servants’ bedrooms served by a separate staircase. Above this was an attic with two further bedrooms, one of which had a balcony. The west wing contained the domestic quarters, while the east wing connected with the stables. The main entrance was on the west side and approached by a circular drive from Worthing Street, and a second entrance on the north side led to the stables and the servants’ quarters. Surprisingly, the accommodation did not have a single bathroom.

John Luther was a well known Georgian gamester and the Rev. John Evans, in ‘A Picture of Worthing’, relates very disapprovingly how, on one occasion, Luther was said to have lost £100,000 at the throw of a dice, but only £50,000 was paid. Perhaps this is the reason why only seven years after building this property, his trustees were empowered to sell it to the Earl of Warwick from which its later name of Warwick House was derived.

In 1796 the Warwick House estate was purchased by John Commerell of London and in 1801 by Edward Ogle of Clapton, a wealthy stockbroker, who became an influential figure in the early development of Worthing. He laid out the garden and made improvements and additions to the house.

A view of Warwick House in c1820 by James Rouse, in which the upper side windows are omitted.

On the death of Edward Ogle in 1819 the property passed to his brother James who died five years later in 1824 and the Warwick House estate began to be broken up. The house passed to a relative, Joseph William Ogle, who offered it for sale for £16,000, while the widow, Mrs Sarah Ogle, went to live at the Colonnade Library, where the former library was converted into a dining room.

In 1825 the house was still unsold but was rented to the Bishop of Durham for a month. He was looking for a house for his retirement and finally purchased it from Joseph William Ogle for £12,000 (including the furniture). He took up residence in September 1825 to make arrangements for certain alterations to be made to the house and then left for his house in London, intending to return the following spring. However, he died in London on 25th March 1826 at the age of 92.

The property was left by the Bishop to Anne Elizabeth Colberg (or Coburg), a past companion to him and his wife for 25 years. She did not reside at Warwick House, but tried to let it. However, shortly after inheriting the property Miss Colberg sold Warwick House to Sir Richard Jones, K.C.B. who had spent a lifetime of military service in India, but was living in Worthing at the time.

In 1835 Sir Richard Jones died and his widow Lady Jones continued to reside at Warwick House until 1844 when her step-son Mr George Frederick Jones died. She gave up the house, although the estate still remained in the family. Between 1849 and 1883 the house was let from time to time (see occupants list). A Miss Jones, recorded between 1870 and 1873, was probably a representative of the family who formerly lived there. From 1884 the house remained un-occupied and, despite several schemes being proposed to save it, the estate was finally purchased and the house demolished in 1896.

Occupants List.       

1781 - 1789  John Luther

1789 – 1796 George Greville – Earl of Warwick

1797 – 1801 John William Commerell

1801 – 1819 Edward Ogle

1819 – 1824 James Ogle

1825           Bishop of Durham

1826           Anne Elizabeth Colberg (or Coburg?)

1827 – 1835 Sir Richard Jones

1835 – 1844 Lady Jones

1849 – 1850 Mrs Tinling

1857           J.P.Fletcher Esq.

1859           William Tollemache Esq.

1870 – 1873 Miss Jones

1870 – 1873 The Misses Byrom

1874 – 1883 Mrs Nicholls

1884 – 1896 Empty

[House demolished during 1896].

Two houses in Warwick House grounds.

In the north-west corner of the Warwick House grounds were two small houses shown on both the 1814 and 1838 maps. Adjacent to High Street was a ‘house and shop’ and adjoining its eastern end was ‘Warwick Cottage’ and its garden (see 1838 map below).

Part of the Hide Survey of 1838 showing the location of two houses in the north-west corner of Warwick House grounds with their boundaries outlined in green.

The rectangular house in the centre of the green outline is ‘Warwick Cottage’.

The sparse records for these two properties (and the lack of identifiable house numbers shown on them) make the tracing of their occupants particularly difficult.

The 1852OS map still shows two houses within the area, but it is apparent that Warwick Cottage has gone and replaced by a new building built in the gap adjacent to High Street and south of the older house and shop on the north (compare the 1838 map with the 1852 map below).

From 1852 these two buildings were originally numbered 6 and 4 High Street, from north to south, but by 1882 were re-numbered 22 and 20 until their demolition in c1896.

Part of the 1852OS map showing the two houses outlined in pink with

their boundaries (outlined in green). The site of the now demolished

Warwick Cottage is outlined in blue.

Warwick Cottage.

This cottage may have been built as part of Edward Ogles early improvements to the Warwick House estate, but was definitely built by 1814. Its earliest recorded occupant was John Snewin, a builder and carpenter and father of local historian Edward Snewin who occupied the cottage for most of its existence. However, for a few months during 1825 and 1826 he had to leave the cottage when the Bishop of Durham wanted it for some of his staff. After the death of the Bishop of Durham’s death early in 1826, John Snewin returned to Warwick Cottage until his own death in 1835. It appears his son Edward took over the property for a few years until its demolition prior to 1852.

Occupants List.  

1820 – 1835 John Snewin – carpenter & builder

1838 – 1841 Edward Snewin – carpenter & builder.

[Cottage demolished prior to 1852}.

No.22 High Street (house & shop),[Originally No.6 and re-numbered 22 in 1882].

This house was originally adjoined to the western end of Warwick Cottage for many years. As yet no illustrations of these buildings have been found and it is possible that No.22 may have been re-built after the demolition of Warwick Cottage. However, in the occupants list below it has been treated as the same building throughout.  

Occupant List

1821 – 1822 Edward Channin

1836 – 1841 Edward Ede – painter

1846           George Sayers

1850 – 1851 John Sayers – retired tallow chandler

1861 – 1862 Barbara Sayers

1866           Robert Piper

1870 – 1880 George Palmer – tailor

1881 – 1882 E.Palmer – paperhanger

1883           J.Mercik – music instrument dealer

1884 – 1885 C.Amey – harness maker

1886 – 1887 J.Miller – bootmaker

1888           R.Ham – painter

1889           W.Dell & Mr Sims – painters

1890 – 1892 W.Dell – painter

1893 – 1896 Empty

[Demolished in c1896]

No. 20 High Street (house & garden), [Originally No.4 and re-numbered 20 in 1882].

This building first appears on the 1852OS map and replaces Warwick Cottage. It was built adjacent to the High Street and south of No.22 (see 1852 map above). This house survived until the late 1890s and was demolished in c1896 along with No.22 and Warwick House.

Occupants List.

1846 – 1885 Edward Ede - painter [moved from No.22]

1886 – 1895 Mrs Ede

1896           Empty

[Demolished in c1896].