ST MARY'S 'HIGHLY
COMMENDED' IN SUSSEX HERITAGE TRUST AWARDS
Mary's has won a prestigious 'Highly Commended' award in the Sussex
Heritage Trust Awards 2016 for the Landscape Water Garden. The
award was given in recognition of the rescue of a previously abandoned
wild scrubland area of the Victorian garden, where it was noted there was
fine grove of white poplars, and the continuation of the natural character
by introducing a large pond with an island refuge for birds. The award was
presented to the garden designer, Roger Linton, and Peter Thorogood by
Lord Egremont in a ceremony at Pangdean Barn, Pyecombe, on 7th July.
- REPAIRS TO MUSIC ROOM ROOF June 2016
are required following an important report by a structural engineer. These
will include strengthening the roof timbers and retiling (now complete), and buttressing the
south wall. The work, estimated to cost £45,000
is essential so that the Music Room can continue to be available for
concerts and other functions, which play a vital role in helping to keep
this remarkable Grade I building open for public benefit.
NEWLY-RESTORED VICTORIAN GLASSHOUSE OFFICIALLY OPENED
long-awaited opening of the restored Victorian Glasshouse at St Mary’s
Historic House and Gardens Bramber took place in May on a bright spring
day. Caroline, Lady Egremont, of Petworth House, declared the glasshouse
officially open on Thursday 19th May in front of an
enthusiastic team of volunteer gardeners and visitors. Before the opening
Lady Egremont was taken on a tour of the splendid five acre gardens by
curator and garden designer Roger Linton.
Caroline Egremont is a distinguished
in her own right, widely known for her
outstanding restoration of the magnificent and enchanting walled gardens
at her home, Petworth House. In 1998, she graciously accepted the
invitation to become Patron of the St. Mary’s Bramber ‘Lost Gardens
Appeal’, which succeeded in raising some £30,000 towards the acquisition
and restoration of the former Victorian kitchen garden.
Lady Egremont said after the opening of the Glasshouse: ‘It
was a lovely day and I was very impressed with all that you have done at
St Mary’s over the past years.’
DIVA OPERA's 'The Night Before Christmas', Sunday 13 December
Reviewed by Louise Schweitzer, Evening Argus, Monday 14
Brighton's Diva Opera’s Night Before Christmas must have
been the very entertainment that the Music Room at St Marys, Bramber, was
Five wonderfully costumed singers under the direction of
music and artistic director Bryan Evans performed a medley of songs
serious and comical, seasonal and sentimental, solo, duet or ensemble with
brilliant piano accompaniment. A nice narrative thread linked the numbers
as the Company carolled for Scrooge, aka Major General Stanley, who
then melted at the heavenly tones of soprano Linda Richardson’s 'Holy
Night' and Joanna Foote’s attractive Lehar.
Baritones Ashley Catling and David Stephenson demonstrated
beautiful rich voices as well as dashing evening dress: their top hats and
cloaks swished operetta to perfection.
Richard Suart had the fun of Flanders and Swan’s
Armadillo and Ill Wind, set to Mozart’s Horn (Gorn) Concerto,
and Gilbert and Sullivan’s Grosvenor Gallery Man.
There was lots of champagne and favourite arias for
everyone – even a 'Happy Birthday' for Roger Linton from St Mary’s, whose
birthday was that day. The Concert marked 30 years of Peter Thorogood and
Roger Linton’s work with their famous and historic old house, now recorded
as a hidden gem in guide books worldwide.
If all musical evenings were like this, records would never
St. Mary’s House & Gardens shortlisted for 'Best Hidden Gem' in Hudson's
Heritage Awards 2016 Nov 2015
shortlist for the renowned 2016 Hudson's Heritage Awards has been
announced. Established in 2011 the Hudsons' Heritage Awards are an
independent scheme judged by an expert panel chaired by Norman Hudson OBE.
The winners and highly commended will be presented at Goldsmith's Hall in
London on 1 March 2016.
In the Best
Hidden Gem category, the finalists are: Winterbourne House & Gardens,
in Birmingham; Keats House, London; Painshill Rococo Gardens, Surrey; and
St Mary's House & Gardens. Other categories are: Best Family Day
Out, Best Eating Out, Best Shopping, Best Accommodation, Best Loos, Best
New Discovery, Best Wedding Venue, Best Event/Exhibition, and Best Picnic
celebrate the best visitor experiences at heritage attractions in the UK
each year, including historic houses, heritage gardens, museums, galleries
in historic buildings, archaeological or industrial sites and other places
associated with the past.
Of the finalists
Sarah Greenwood, publisher of leading heritage guide Hudson's Historic
Houses & Gardens, said "We are thrilled to announce our shortlist and
look forward to revealing our winners next March. The Hudson's Heritage
Awards recognise all aspects of historic properties and gardens which make
a visit memorable and enjoyable. Our finalists this year have all excelled
in their field, providing a high quality experience for visitors."
St. Mary’s House & Gardens wins 'Highly
Commended' in Beautiful South Awards for Excellence 2015/16
Mary’s House & Gardens has been awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in the
prestigious Tourism South East 2015/16 Beautiful South Awards. St Mary’s
was up against fierce competition, with more than 120 entries in 16
categories, out of which 62 finalists have been chosen from the cream of
the South East’s tourism businesses.
Nigel Smith, Chief
Executive of Tourism South East, said, “It’s been
an exceptional year for Beautiful South Award entries and great to see so
many from businesses that haven’t previously entered. It is a reminder of
the fantastic range and quality of tourism businesses in the South East
which are more than a match for any in the UK. Some are truly world class.
The judges have again had the unenviable and difficult task of deciding
which of these businesses deserve to be recognised as the best of the
best. I understand that some very fine businesses narrowly missed the
The Highly Commended Award is a significant
achievement, and is particularly appropriate as owners Peter Thorogood and
Roger Linton have this year completed 30 years of restoration.
Theft of Stone Paving Slabs
gang of thieves smashed open the electric gates of historic St. Mary’s
House in Bramber during the night of 29 October and systematically lifted
and stole some 70 York-stone paving slabs. The paving, laid out in the
1890s, formed part of the important landscaped frontage of the house, now
desecrated by a trail of wanton destruction.
Owner, Peter Thorogood
said: ‘The stealing of so many stones throughout the hours of darkness has
the stamp of a highly organised plan carried out under great stealth.’
Curator Roger Linton, who has overseen the 30-year restoration of the
15thC Grade I building of national importance, said: ‘This repulsive act
of selfishness and greed is particularly sad as the house with its lovely
gardens is largely supported by some 45 local volunteers, who give so
generously of their time and effort.’
A temporary surface has been put down ahead of the events
which are taking place this side of Christmas and we will look to start
St. Mary’s House & Gardens wins 'Best Restoration' in Hudson's Heritage
Awards 2011 Dec 2011
categories included ‘Best Education/Community programme’ - winner Burghley
House, ‘Best Garden’ – winner Exbury Gardens, ‘Best Art Collection’ – winner
Compton Verney, and ‘Best Corporate Venue’ – winner Farnham Castle. St. Mary’s
House & Gardens was voted winner for ‘Best Renovation’.
For thirty years owners Peter Thorogood and
Roger Linton have laboured to bring about a
spectacular restoration of the beautiful medieval house and its gardens.
Thousands of visitors over the years have enjoyed the ancient atmosphere of
tranquillity and peace, and have received a warm welcome from its knowledgeable
guides and volunteers.
Having acquired the house in 1984, when it was in a serious state
of dereliction and the gardens a veritable wasteland, it was the vision and zeal of Peter and Roger to save the
building from closure and bring it back into its present pristine state for the
benefit of the public, helped by a loyal group of Friends and a valiant band of
volunteers. Peter and Roger, who have family links with the house from the early
1800s, have succeeded in bringing back the lost Victorian gardens, with the rose
garden, terracotta garden and poetry garden. Their achievement was officially
recognised in 2006 when they each received the MBE from Prince Charles in the
Queen’s 80th Birthday Honours.
Heritage Award for Restoration is a fitting tribute to their courage and
endurance in bringing back to life one of the finest buildings of our national
heritage, described by Sir Simon Jenkins in his book England’s Thousand Best
Houses as ‘a shrine to medieval Sussex’. But St. Mary’s is much more than
that. It is a living monument to a long historical tradition which the Hudson
Heritage Award confirms.