Field Place History

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An 18th Century Country House

Field Place is a fine example of any 18th century English Country House and has a unique atmosphere of tranquility which has been created by generations of well known Worthing families.

Evidence of it’s history and development can be seen in the present Manor House which contains beautiful Jacobean oak paneling and carved fireplaces. The splendid carvings of the Oak Room which is now used for meetings and corporate hire, contains the device of the Cooke family who lived in the house for over 300 years. After the Cooke family the Westbrooke-Richardsons owned the house before passing it on to the Henty family during the mid to late 1700’s. The Henty’s were a very successful farming and business people who used some of their wealth to upgrade the house into a fine Georgian residence. They are responsible for the present house frontage.

During the agricultural depression the Henty’s revenue declined and Thomas Henty, the younger son of Sarah and Thomas, began to write from Field Place to his business contacts in Australia to enquire about land and prospects there for his family. Eventually after much planning Thomas set sail in 1828 with his wife Frances Elizabeth, their children, George, James, Charles, Edward, Jane, William, John, Stephen and Francis, a flock of Merino sheep newly acquired from the flocks of King George III, agricultural equipment and staff .

On arrival in Australia the family found life very hard but eventually prospered in banking, farming, politics and business. The youngest son of the family, Francis later built a house in 1876 called Field Place in Victoria. The house still stands.

The Arrival of Col E W Margerson

Towards the end of the 19th century Col E W Margerson who also owned Findon Place occupied the house. In 1909 Alfred Bates purchased Field Place Manor House and spent £250,000 on renovations including the installation of an underground electrical supply. When Bates died in 1945 the Manor House was changed to the Manor Country Club. During the second World War the Manor House and surrounding area was used by the RAF to test early radar.

There has been much talk that there still is a network of tunnels under Field Place. The Radar reunion people would return each year after the war and chat about tunnels as long as six miles. Before D Day, the underground tunnels stored 500 Harley Davidson before going over to France. One report shows a Mr John Hammersley had played in the tunnels as a boy in the 1950’s.

The tunnels entrance was unfortunately blocked and even to this day, we are not sure the whereabouts of the main entrance. Records are protected by the 73 year secrecy rule.

It then became Flamingo Country Club before the house was bought by Worthing Borough Council in 1956 for £17,500.

Improvements were made, the original flint barn dated 1773 was refurbished and was reopened in 1988 as an ideal venue for wedding receptions, seminars, plays and dances. The Manor House was then refurbished in 1989 and this revealed much of the original splendid paneling and stone work.

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