The house of a Napoleonic hero, and where Percy Shelley came for tea, has come up for sale in a pretty Sussex village.
After a tough day of commanding HMS Ajax and defeating Napoleon’s navy at the Battle of Trafalgar, Captain John Pilfold would retire to his home at Marshalls Manor in Sussex. There, he would entertain his nephew Percy Bysshe Shelley in one of the five reception rooms.
Ok, so that may not all be strictly accurate; a naval officer at the time of the Napoleonic wars would have been away for months, or even years at a time. Indeed, earlier in his career as a young midshipman Pilfold headed out to the East Indies in October 1788, and didn’t come home again until the spring of 1792.
By the time he got back he found that his father had died, and that the family seat — Effingham East Court Manor — had been sold off. That building has now gone, but the place where Pifold move to instead is still there, and is now for sale: Marshalls Manor, in Cuckfield, West Sussex, is for sale via Hamptons at £2.25m.
Two centuries on from Pifold’s time the property is a delightful 4,500sq ft family home, which has thankfully seen some modernisation since the days of grapeshot and scurvy, and offers seven bedrooms and extensive gardens.
The house retains a wealth of period charm, with a particular highlight being the wood-panelled drawing room, and more contemporary additions, such as an enlarged kitchen and two conservatories, leave room for entertaining.
There is also a separate cottage, a cavernous garage — which has a studio-cum-games room above — and a summer house/pool house complete with a disused swimming pool.
Cuckfield itself (pronounced ‘cook-field’ — you’ll need to know that to stop the neighbours raising their eyebrows) is pleasant village with a charming centre that looks like its escaped from the pages of a Dickens novel. It’s just a mile or so off the main A23 London to Brighton road — but the trains go from Haywards Heath, a ten-minute drive away.
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