West Sussex Records Office
Between the 1850s and 1914, over fifty country houses were built in the Weald of Sussex. With only two exceptions, the owners were families who had made their money in businesses. They had no intention of investing in a substantial estate, most were below 4000 acres. Some of the houses were very large, in either a formal park or in the lusher and more informal settings preferred by some families who bought rare plants for their parks. Thus the Loder family spent a lot of their fortune made in Russia on rare plants, funding plant hunter trips to obtain what they wanted.
Both of the Huth brothers, who inherited Huth Bank preferred more formal settings but lavished huge sums on collections of books and art respectively. Well known architects were employed to build well located, eye-catching houses. The demand for staff for the house and grounds helped to stem outmigration from this poor but attractive area. Some of the houses are still accessible to the public, such as Standen (owned by the National Trust) and South Lodge (a hotel) and collector’s gardens which can be viewed include Leonardslee and High Beeches.
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