A large white building with cupolas and minarets

Outing to St Mary's Bramber and Brighton

Wednesday 19 June 2024
08:30 to 19:45

St Mary’s Bramber is an enchanting Medieval timber framed house in the pretty downland village of Bamber, with fine panelled interiors, and five acres of beautiful gardens. The origins go back to the days of the Knights Templar. The present building was constructed in about 1470 by William of Waynflete, Bishop of Winchester, and founder of Magdalen College, Oxford. It was an Inn for pilgrims on the way to the tomb of St Thomas of Canterbury. One owner of note was the Hon. Algernon Bourke who, with his beautiful wife Gwendolene, weremthe originals for the characters in Oscar Wilde’s famous play, The Importance of Being Earnest. In 1946, author and composer Peter Thorogood, and Landscape gardener Roger Linton, purchased St Mary’s and embarked on a long programme of restoration of this lovely old house, making it an attraction for visitors and tourists for educational purposes, and added their collection of books, manuscripts, ceramics and furniture.

The Victorian gardens still have their original potting sheds and apple store, a 140ft “fruit wall”, a stove house with heated pits for pineapples. Paddocks, and lovely woodland walks. A Rose-garden was established in honour of the Queen’s Jubilee. Two large herbaceous borders were designed and planted by students from Brinsbury College. St Mary’s has been included in Sir Simon Jenkin’s acclaimed publication, “England’s Thousand Best Houses” and is described as a “shrine to the Medieval in Sussex”. Today the work of restoration, conservation and enhancement is ongoing, with about 40 people currently involved to help make sure that the property is maintained as a special building for the public benefit. Brighton is a seaside resort in the county of East Sussex. Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods. In the Georgian era it developed as a highly fashionable seaside resort, encouraged by King George IV, who had the Royal Pavilion constructed in the Regency period. Brighton’s location has made it a popular destination for tourists, and is renowned for its diverse communities, shopping areas, and the large vibrant music and arts scene. Having a large LGBT population, it is recognised as the “unofficial” gay capital of the UK!

From Fairfield Road
(view map)
Cost £36.00