top of page

1851: Woodcroft foundation stone laid

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 09 October 1851


The foundation-stone of Mr Charles Lennox Peel’s mansion at Woodcroft, was laid on the 6th instant by his son (great nephew of the late Sir Robert Peel, Bart.), assisted by Mr Lawrence and Lady Jane Peel, Dowager Lady Templemore, Mr C. Lennox, the Hon. Mrs Peel, and other friends.

Woodcroft c1920

The building is to be Elizabethan, as designed by Mr Watson. It will be surrounded by its own grounds, approached by a lodge, and will command a very fine view of the South Downs, being seated on one the most beautiful eminences in the county.

In the evening the workmen partook of an excellent supper.

Brighton Gazette - Thursday 15 January 1852


Mr Peel’s Dinner to his Workmen.—On Thursday last C. L. Peel, Esq., of Butler's Green, gave a dinner at the Talbot Hotel to the workmen in the erection of his splendid mansion near Whiteman’s Green.

The dinner, which was a good and substantial one, was served in beautiful style, and embraced the usual etceteras, as well as some of the delicacies of the season, to which upwards of fifty sat down. Mr Webster (butler to Mr Peel) acted as Chairman; and Mr Garland (foreman of the works) as vis-a-vie.

As soon as the cloth was removed, the usual loyal toasts were given; after which the healths of Mr and the Hon Mrs Peel, Master Peel, Mr and Lady Jane Peel, Lady Templemore, the Hon. Mr Chichester, etc. were drunk with loud cheers. And then conviviality commenced.

There was some good singing; and a truly merry and friendly evening was spent on all hands, during which the healths of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman were given, with 3 times 3. and duly responded to; also the health of Mr Wilkinson (the builder) and that of Mr and Mrs Best, which was acknowledged by Mr Best, who then proposed “Mr Packham, one of the veterans of Waterloo, and the brave defenders our country of the 18th of June.”

Mr Packham in a terse and soldier like manner returned thanks, saying he was “a man of few words, but thanked them heartily on behalf of himself and his brave comrades of that glorious day.”

The surviving part of 'Woodcroft' 2023

The men enjoyed themselves until rather a late hour; and friendship and harmony prevailed through the evening. This dinner might be called the “rearing feast” of the mansion, which has sprung up with almost magic rapidity, and by this time is nearly, if not entirely, roofed in. Mr Peel could not have chosen a prettier spot for a residence had he picked the whole county, commanding, it does, most extensive views.

Nearly the whole expanse of the Weald, with a large portion of forest country are laid open, and the range of the downs from the “far west” hills adjoining Hampshire to those beyond Lewes bound the scenery, while to the east there is a most extensive view as far as the Eridge and Rotherfield woods and the heights of Crowborough.

The home scenery is really lovely, situated close to the well wooded and romantic park of Cuckfield, and the picturesque grounds of Oakendean House, laid out in style by Mr Fearon that might well call forth the plaudits of the enthusiastic pen of the late George Robins, had they fallen under his hammer.

The neighbourhood may congratulate itself on the addition which it has received.


bottom of page