inscribed in the margin "Parham Park, Sussex 1871"
Parham Park is an Elizabethan house and estate in the civil parish of Parham, west of the village of Cootham, and between Storrington and Pulborough, West Sussex, South East England. The estate was originally owned by the Monastery of Westminster and granted to Robert Palmer by King Henry VIII in 1540.
The foundation stone was laid in 1577 by the 2-year-old Thomas Palmer, and Parham has been a family home ever since. Thomas Bishopp (later Sir Thomas Bishopp, 1st Baronet) bought Parham House in 1601. For over 300 years his descendants continued to live at Parham House Estate until January 1922. Then in 1922 the Hon. Clive Pearson, younger son of Viscount Cowdray, bought Parham from Mary,17th Baroness Zouche in her own right, and he and his wife Alicia opened the house to visitors in 1948, after the Second World War when it had also been home to evacuee children and Canadian soldiers.
Off the Long Gallery at the top of the house there is an exhibition which touches on the period between 1922 and 1948, with many family photographs as well as photographs of the building works which took place during that time. Mr and Mrs Pearson, followed by their daughter Veronica Mary Tritton (died 1993), spent more than 60 years restoring Parham and filling it with a collection of period furniture, paintings and textiles, also acquiring items that had originally belonged to the house. There is a particularly important collection of early needlework, including bed hangings supposed to have been worked by Mary, Queen of Scots.After the Second World War, they opened the house to the public.
Lady Emma Barnard, the daughter of Benjamin Guinness, 3rd Earl of Iveagh, inherited the house from Mrs Tritton, who was her great-aunt, and lives in one wing with her family. Now owned by a charitable trust, Parham House and Gardens are surrounded by 875 acres (3.54 km2) of working agricultural and forestry land. The radical reformer Henry 'Orator' Hunt was buried on Saturday 21 February 1835 in the churchyard of St Peter's Church in Parham Park. The Times published a lengthy report of the funeral. Around the house stretches 300 acres (1.2 km2) of ancient deer park whose Fallow Deer are descendants of the original herd first recorded in 1628. Parham Park SSSI is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. It has special biological interest for its epiphytic lichen flora, as an area for two rare beetles and its large heronry.
With the outbreak of war in 1939, Parham became home to 30 evacuee children from Peckham in south-east London. Most had never been to the country before, and Clive Pearson built them a small wooden house in which to play. To persuade them to eat vegetables, he divided a section of the walled garden into vegetable plots and gave the children tools and lots of seeds. The resulting competition to produce the best crops was a great success, and meant that everyone finished everything on their plates!
In 1942 the children were re-housed in Storrington. Parham was in the middle of the South Downs Training Area and half the house was then requisitioned for billeting Canadian officers. The Family continued to live in the other half, taking in old governesses, relations and other friends stranded by the war. Soldiers of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Canadian Infantry Divisions were stationed in Nissen huts in the Park.
Parham House had connections with an infamous smuggling raid on the Customs House at Poole in 1747 by the notorious Hawkhurst Gang. The body of one of the other smugglers was later found in the pond of the Parham House estate after being dumped there some 12 miles from where he had been beaten to death by his accomplices. The 1995 film Haunted by British director Lewis Gilbert was filmed extensively at Parham. It is based on a novel of the same name by James Herbert, who had strong connections to Sussex, residing at the time of his March 2013 death in Woodmancote, West Sussex.
Parham is a civil parish in the Horsham District of West Sussex, England. There was a village of Parham, around the parish church, but its few houses were destroyed in the early 19th century to create the landscaped park and gardens. The parish now consists of Parham Park and the farms and smaller settlements around it. The village is between Wiggonholt and Cootham, about 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Pulborough on the A283 road. The parish covers 1,586 hectares (3,920 acres). The 2001 Census recorded 214 people living in 95 households, of whom 124 were economically active. At the 2011 Census the population was 224. The civil parish includes the hamlets of Rackham, southwest of Parham Park, and Wiggonholt on the A283 to the north, which has a small parish church.
The Church of England parish church of Saint Peter has a blocked two-bay arcade in the north wall of the nave that shows there used to be a north aisle. The lower part of the bell-tower is Perpendicular Gothic and the south chapel remains as it was built in 1545, but the remainder of the building was remodelled in the Georgian Gothick fashion in about 1820. The font is a rare lead one from the middle of the 14th century, repeatedly inscribed with the legend IHS Nazar and the arms of Sir Andrew Peverel (d. 1376), who was a Knight of the Shire in 1351.
Parham Park originated as a grange of Westminster Abbey. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries it was converted into a south-facing E-shaped Elizabethan country house. Parham Park grounds are a Site of Special Scientific Interest. with a special biological interest for its epiphytic lichen flora, as an area for two rare beetles and its large heronry. Pulborough Brooks, a nature reserve in the north of the parish is also an SSSI. It is beside the River Arun which floods in winter, providing a rich habitat for wading birds, ducks and geese. Part of the area is a RSPB reserve.