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Laughton Place

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Laughton Court

In the civil parish of Laughton.
In the historic county of Sussex.
Modern Authority of East Sussex.
1974 county of East Sussex.
Medieval County of Sussex (Rape of Pevensey).

OS Map Grid Reference: TQ48311141
Latitude 50.88306° Longitude 0.10685°

Laughton Place has been described as a probable Fortified Manor House.

There are masonry ruins/remnants remains.

This is a Grade 2* listed building protected by law*.


Tower, only remaining part of large house, now converted for holiday lets. Built by Sir Wiliam Pelham in 1534 as part of improvements to an earlier house on a moated site with alterations of circa 1753-60 in Gothick style for the Hon. Henry Pelham, probably by Fuller White and refurbished after 1979. Built of red brick in English bond with some moulded terracotta dressings and stone cills. Square in plan and octagonal staircase turret to north west. Four storeys: irregular fenestration. Some mullioned or mullioned and transomed casements, some Gothick arched openings. Crenellated brick parapet and terracotta pseudomachicolations with cinquefoil heads. South or entrance front has third floor C18 quartrefoil window with dripmould, Second floor window is C18 arched window with dripmould and moulded terracotta buckle, the emblem of the Pelham family. The two lower floors have a mid C18 brick front in English bond, formerly the centrepiece to a now demolished large farmhouse with pediment with modillion cornice, three arched windows with leaded lights, Band of modillions raised up in the centre between floors and two arched windows to the ground floor and a central arched doorcase with arched fanlight and C20 door connected by impost band. Plinth. East front has triple mullioned casement with leaded lights to top floor. A gable outline is visible from second to third floor. Second floor has the outline of a flat arched doorcase and a blocked doorway Further blocked arches to lower floors. North front has octagonal staircase turret with a series of arched windows with terracotta mouldings to top windows. Buttress and arch fragment attached to the centre. Two small C20 additions in matching style to left and two almost full height stepped buttresses to left. West elevation has two-light two tier arched window with terracotta mouldings and on ground floor one single and one triple window with terracotta mouldings. Plinth also has a terracotta mouldings. INTERIOR: Ground floor has four-centred arched headed door with some moulded terracotta dressings leading to full-height brick and terracotta spiral staircase. First floor room has blocked doorway arch with plain spandrels. Second floor room has four-centred arched fireplace. Third floor room has a chamfered cambered headed fireplace. Site excluding tower is a scheduled ancient monument. HISTORY: The Pelham family were instrumental in capturing the French king during the Battle of Poitiers. The original house was originally a symmetrical courtyard house. Excavations of 1984 showed that in the mid C16 the moat site was encircled by a brick wall with eight interval turrets of octagonal or semi-octagonal form. It is thought that the tower combined the functions of a solar and an outlook tower, the first floor reached by a door from the main part of the house, the second floor the lord's appartment, possibly a stong room and the top floor was a surveying point, either for security or to watch the progress of the hunt. By 1595 the Pelham family had built another house at Halland (Halland House, demolished in 1768), which became their principal residence and then a farmhouse. An estate map of 1641 by Anthony Everenden has a sketch of a four bay gabled building of two storeys and attics with projecting two storey entrance porch and the four storey tower. In the 162 Hearth Tax returns, Laughton Place was assessed at seven hearths. Circa 1753-60 the Hon. Henry Pelham built a large farmhouse around the tower, possibly to the designs of the carpenter-cum-architect Fuller White who had been a foreman at Esher Place. Drawings of 1760-2 and 1828 show this was symmetrical building of two storeys and seven bays with steeply-pitched hipped roof with end chimneys, crenellated parapet, central pediment and Gothick style windows. The 1534 tower was the building's central feature with the top floor window converted into a quatrefoil opening, the second floor window into an arched opening and the two lower floors refaced in C18 brickwork with a pediment and arched windows and doorcase. The remainder of the farmhouse was pulled down in 1939 and the tower used as an observation post during the Second World War. The tower fell into a ruinous condition until 1979 when the Landmark Trust restored the building. (Listed Building Report)

The monument includes a medieval moat and its island area and the remains of the principal mansion of the Pelham family dating to 1534. Moated sites are generally seen as the prestigious residences of the Lords of the manor. The moat marked the high status of the occupier but also served to deter casual raiders and wild animals. Most moats were built between 1250 and 1350, and it is to this period that the moat at Laughton Place is likely to date, although it was modified in the 16th century. The moat was deepened and flooded in 1984, at which time excavations showed that in the mid- 16th century the moat island was encircled by a brick wall with 8 interval turrets of octagonal or semi-octagonal form. Three bridges provided access to the island. Of the once grand buildings in the interior dating to this period only the brick tower survives. This is excluded from the scheduling because it is listed (Grade I), although the ground beneath it remains included. The tower was incorporated in the 18th century into a farmhouse, at which time other farm buildings were constructed. These farm buildings have now been removed. The length of walling to the west of the tower is included in the scheduling, as is the retaining wall to the moat, both being of 16th century date, whilst the wall to the south of the tower and the modern access bridge and gates to the south-east, the modern path to the tower and the iron fencing defining the garden to the tower are excluded, although the ground beneath these features is included. (Scheduling Report)
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This record last updated 26/07/2017 09:19:31

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