Sheffield Park & Garden
East Sussex TN22 3QX
In south-east England, in the county of East Sussex is Sheffield Park and Garden. This National Trust property is a very beautiful place to visit but it is of particular interest to Australian “cricket tragics”.
The Game of Cricket
In the park is a very historic old cricket ground which was established by Henry North Holroyd, the 3rd Earl of Sheffield, when he inherited the estate in 1876. Lord Sheffield is known as the patron of cricket. He was born in Marylebone and his local cricket club was the MCC at Lords.
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Like today, touring teams opened official Tours with matches against local teams. Lord Sheffield instituted this tradition by funding a team of talented amateur and professional cricketers (including Dr W G Grace) to play at his home ground. In 1884 the Australian XI opened their tour at Sheffield Park and the public were invited to watch - for free!
In 1891 Lord Sheffield made a donation of £150 to the New South Wales Cricket Association of Australia. This donation was used to purchase a silver plate and establish the national interstate cricket competition known as the ‘Sheffield Shield’. Lord Sheffield would be delighted to know that his patronage continues to inspire young Australians to play cricket for their country.
This lovely 18th century garden has another quirky piece of history. It has its own railway station which is now the southern terminus of the Bluebell Railway.
In 1877 an Act of Parliament was passed to construct a railway between Lewes and East Grinstead. Such rural railways relied on the support of local landowners and it was a common practice for the sponsoring landlord to demand a station be built for his personal use. Sheffield Park station was built in 1882 and 4 trains a day were mandated to stop there.
Curiously, the only time Sheffield Park station received a substantial number of passengers was when Lord Sheffield’s own team played the Australian Cricket XI.
The lovely informal gardens were laid out by 18th century landscape gardener, Lancelot 'Capability' Brown. Four lakes form the centrepiece, calmly reflecting the house and magnificent specimen trees.
There are dramatic shows of daffodils and bluebells in spring, and the rhododendrons and azaleas are spectacular in early summer. Autumn brings stunning colours from the many rare trees and shrubs.
The estate was originally a Deer Park and a favourite hunting ground of King Henry VIII. By 1700 the Deer Park had been partially formalised and planted with avenues of trees radiating from the house, and areas cleared to establish lawns.
The estate was named Sheffield Park in 1796. The garden is known for its 18th century landscaping overlaid with 20th century plantings. It is considered a bold composition predominantly of trees and large shrubs planted en masse to create vistas that enhance the scale and grandeur of the property.
Plan Your Visit
Web: Sheffield Park & Garden Opening Times External Link
Web: Sheffield Park & Garden Admission Costs External Link
Level entrance to building and majority of garden; toilets
Toilets and Baby change facilities
Refreshments available from catering buggy
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1825 790 231
National Trust/ Sheffield Park & Garden External Link
The National Trust site has excellent information on how to get to Sheffield Park. Go to Web: Sheffield Park/ How to get There External Link
Google Maps - Sheffield Park