About Wadhurst Castle 2017-08-17T21:53:23+00:00


Estate History

Wadhurst Castle is 19th-century castellated mansion just to the west of the village of Wadhurst built on the site of a much older house which was mentioned in records of the 14th Century. In an elevated position, the Castle commands magnificent panoramic views of the gloriously beautiful Sussex countryside to the South and West.

First built in 1818-20 by James Louis West, on the site of the farmhouse of Maplehurst, the Castle was bought by Benjamin Harding in 1838, for whom it was remodelled to its present appearance by the architect Edward Buckton Lamb with the drawings exhibited at the Royal Academy. It was at this time that the Winter Garden was added, and as is typical of Lamb’s style of architecture, the outside of the castle was embellished with further turrets, odd shaped spires and window tracery. The existing parkland was also developed, and the terraced gardens and entrance lodge on the present B2099 were added. The castle was purchased by Edward Watson-Smyth in 1844, and he enlarged it to the north-east and also further extended the parkland.

In 1933 the Castle was badly damaged by fire and the following year the estate was purchased by Alfred Matthews. Matthews was an architect and set about repairing the fire-damaged interior. During the Second World War the Castle was commandeered for use by the Canadian Army.

In 1955 the Fitzgerald family took possession of the property. On 16th October 1987, like so many country estates in the south-east of England, Wadhurst Castle suffered severe damage from the Great Storm.

The estate is now in the joint ownership of the Fitzgerald and Clough families who have done a great deal to return the gardens and grounds to their former glory.

Wadhurst Castle - Monkey Crest

Legend has it that in the 13th century the baby son and heir of the Fitzgerald Family was rescued from a house fire by the family’s pet monkey – the family later adopted the monkey symbol as their crest.

Wadhurst Castle - Lion Crest

John Clough, a forebear of the present family, is noted as having travelled to America in 1630 on board the ‘Elizabeth’, just 10 years after the Founding Fathers on the ‘Mayflower’.

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