Description: Nonsuch Park House
Date Listed: 10 April 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 290598
OS Grid Reference: TQ2342663611
OS Grid Coordinates: 523426, 163611
Latitude/Longitude: 51.3582, -0.2287
861/18/95 NONSUCH PARK
10-APR-54 Nonsuch Park House
Large house, currently a mixture of museum, educational and catering uses.
1802-6 Architect Sir Jeffry Wyattville for Samuel Farmer in Tudor Gothic style, but extending an earlier mid C18 house, and with 1845 additions in matching style to the south or garden front and service wing. An asymmetrical building of two storeys apart from the tower and the service wing which are of three storeys.
MATERIALS: Mainly faced with Roman cement apart from the service wing which is of red brick, with a slate roof with octagonal chimneystacks, mainly disguised as turrets. Throughout there are octagonal corner turrets, crenellated parapets and hoodmouldings to the windows, mainly sash windows with glazing bars to the original part, and the major ground floor rooms have folding wooden shutters with gothic arched decoration.
PLAN: Wyattville's house forms an L-plan, connected to the remains of a mid C18 house forming a spur at the northern end and extended to the south east and north circa 1845.
EXTERIOR: The principal feature of the north or entrance front is a projecting tower based on illustrations of Nonsuch Palace with octagonal turrets and four-centred archway below. The spandrels contain the Tudor Coat of Arms on one side and the Farmer Coat of Arms on the other, Behind the archway is a vaulted roof, round-headed arches each side and a wide four-centred arched doorway with double doors glazed to the upper parts flanked by sidelights. A terracotta tablet by the right side of the door is inscribed with the date 1543 and name of Henry VIII in Latin and is a fragment of Nonsuch Palace. To the right is one bay with a ground floor 1840s triple window with marginal glazing containing stained glass depicting Henry VIII and Queen Elizabeth I. To the left are three bays with a colonnade with four-centred arches on the ground floor followed by a projecting gabled former chapel with tall three tier arched window and gabled wooden bellcote. Attached to the east is a three storey brick service wing with four arches to a colonnade on the ground floor which incorporates the earlier service wing and stables.
The westside has three windows, including a blocked window to the first floor right and an off-central crenellated tower. The splayed corner to the southfront has buttresses and a clock face on the first floor.
The south front has a full-height polygonal bay to the west with elaborate cinquefoil-headed lights to the Drawing Room flanked by buttresses. Adjoining to the right is a first floor oriel and ground floor French windows with traceried head and mid C19 pierced stone balustrading with steps and urns. There are three further bays to Wyattville's building. Attached to the east is the circa 1845 addition in matching style and materials with two mullioned and transomed windows, one a full-height three-light bay, and an arched doorcase. This front terminates in a one storey 1840s gabled one storey section with five-light canted bay and gabled doorcase. Behind is the three storey brick service wing with a stone, with the initials W G F inscribed, which terminates in a three storey brick tower with octagonal turret to the eastern corner.
The western front of the service wing is of three storeys except for a one storey projecting octagonal game larder with slate roof and wooden louvre.
To the north is a one storey brick former stable range.
INTERIOR: The ground floor has a fine enfilade of principal rooms with wide interconnecting doors for entertaining, mainly with original Wyattville fittings and mid C19 brass gas chandeliers. Painted family coats of arms are thought to have been added circa 1862 on the marriage of William Robert Farmer into the Williams family.
The front vestibule has a fine double door with Gothic arch and lancet glazed inserts and an original cornice with a band of Victorian stencilled mottoes below. The former Library (later Small Drawing Room) in the north west corner has a cornice with shields and an elaborate Gothic ribbed ceiling rose with Tudor Rose centre. There are three built-in Gothic arched bookcases and an arched fitting with mirror and finials, and buffet with slate surface and shelving. There is an elaborate dado panelling and four panel Gothic style folding double doors lead to the Drawing Room.
The Drawing Room is octagonal-shaped and has an elaborate cornice with heraldic shields of the Farmer family and the Meekes of Beddington, a carved band and pierced quatrefoil and an elaborate ribbed ceiling with ceiling rose decorated with quatrefoil motifs and Tudor Rose finial. There are two arched alcoves with mirrors and quatrefoil band, a fireplace with four-centred arched marble fireplace with cast iron firegrate and cusped mirror with finials and family Coat of Arms above.
The adjoining Anteroom has stained glass windows incorporating four roundels thought to have come from pre-Revolutionary France depicting St Jerome, Pope Gregory a female peasant and possibly Elijah. There is a cornice with carved motifs and band, an original Gothic wooden pelmet, two pointed arched ribbed alcoves and double doors with three painted family crests above of the Farmer family impaling Wilkinson on the west wall, the Farmer family impaling Williams on the north wall, and the Farmer family impaling the Meeke family on the east wall. The Dining Room has a ribbed ceiling with roses, portcullis and fleur de lys emblems. There is an elaborate Victorian wooden carved fireplace with the initials W G F inscribed, decorated columns, inner cast iron firegrate flanked by geometric tiling and an elaborate mirror with a family shield and the motto "HORA SEMPER". There is also a dado rail and elaborate window shutters.
The Vestibule has panelled arched doors and two painted Coats of Arms of the Farmer quartering the Gamul family and the Farmer impaling the Williams family. The adjoining room was built as a library when the original library was converted into a small drawing Room. It has a ribbed ceiling and oak bookshelves.
The end room on this floor was probably a smoking room or billiard room and has a stone fireplace.
The corridor to the north east of the ground floor has a Powder Room (for guns) and a Business Room but these have been incorporated into a modern kitchen. There is underfloor heating to the corridor which originally heated a conservatory.
The cellar has brick vaults with stone flags and brick paving and includes brick and stone wine bins and a brick stepped barrelshute.
The main staircase has stone steps, mahogany handrail and decorative cast iron balustrading with quatrefoil inserts and a hexagonal niche for a lantern. The staircase window has two C18 stained glass panels after Salvatore Rosa.
The first floor has a bolection-moulded fireplace and a black marble fireplace to the principal bedroom over the Drawing Room. The adjoining bedroom has a black marble fireplace and a painted ceiling with Tudor Rose ceiling rose and cornice with paterae.
A further bedroom has an arched fireplace with a circa 1880 Japanese style folding tiled firegrate.
In the rear service wing the former servants Hall has a fireplace with paterae, the former laundry has an early C18 stone fireplace and tiled floor and the adjoining laundry room has a square copper, tiled floor and wooden pump.
The adjoining former housekeeper's room has a round-headed alcove, probably for china.
The former Dairy has Delft tiles.
The Kitchen has an C18 fireplace, a c.1860 iron range and a late C19 wooden dresser.
The Game Larder has a lantern with hoist for hanging game and slate shelves. The stable has a loose box but no fittings remain.
HISTORY: Nonsuch Park was created by Henry VIII in 1534 when he destroyed the village of Cuddington in order to build a hunting box. Nonsuch Palace was begun in 1538, completed by the Earl of Arundel and sold to Queen Elizabeth in 1592. Charles II gave the property to Lady Castlemaine in 1680 and the palace was mainly demolished between 1682 and 1688. Nonsuch Park House is situated some distance to the north east of the Banqueting house and the site of the Tudor palace. Part of the service wing is the remaining part of a mid C18 house. In 1799 the park was acquired by Samuel Farmer, a merchant from a family trading in the West Indies and India, to form a family seat and he rebuilt or enlarged the existing building on the site. John Nash and Jeffry Wyatt were approached and the commission given to Jeffry Wyatt (later Wyattville 1766-1840) and built between 1802-6. This was an early commission in the Tudor Gothic style, which reached its ultimate height in his works to Windsor Castle. The northern front of the property was based on illustrations of Nonsuch Palace and a terracotta datestone from the demolished palace salvaged and placed by the main entrance. In 1838 Samuel Farmer died and was succeeded by his grandson Wiliam Francis Gamul Farmer. In 1845 Nonsuch Park House was extended by one bay to the south east in matching style and the service wing extended. In 1860 William Robert Farmer succeeded to the estate and is thought to have added painted coats of Arms on his marriage of 1862 into the Williams family. The Farmer family owned the property until 1936 when the land was sold as recreational land to a consortium composed of The London County Council, Surrey County Council, the Borough of Sutton, Cheam and Worcester Park and the soon-to-be Borough of Epsom and Ewell. The legal interest was vested in the L C C (later transferred to Surrey County Council after 1986) and responsibility for managing the property vested in a joint management committee of elected representatives from the councils of Sutton, Cheam, and Epsom and Ewell. Latterly the ground floor of the building was let to a catering firm, the first floor used for further education and the kitchen wing and stables used as a museum.
SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: Nonsuch Park house was designed by the eminent late Georgian architect Jeffry Wyattville, enlarging the remains of a mid C18 house. It is important and early commission by Wyattville in the Tudor Gothic style, the north front based on illustrations of the demolished Tudor Nonsuch Palace, a style which culminated in Wyattville's improvements to Windsor Castle in the 1820s. The building survives as built, apart from some extensions of circa 1845 in matching style, and has a complete Wyattville interior including a suite of principal rooms with outstanding quality fittings, main staircase and painted ceiling to a first floor room. The building also retains good quality mid C18 and C19 fittings.
Nairn-Pevsner "Buildings of England. Surrey." p387.
H. Colvin " A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects" pp 1128-1133.
This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.