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The story so far

Inspiration - 24.09.19

Pelham House through the centuries

In the late 16th century, during the reign of Elizabeth I, a timber-framed townhouse was built on St Andrew’s Lane in Lewes by the lawyer and MP George Goring. Although its tiered lawns, paved terrace and kitchen garden could be considered grand by medieval standards, the house was considerably smaller than the building we know and love today.

The rest, as they say, is history

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fireplace detail in the goring room © Richard Murgatroyd Photography

The Pelham family take ownership

The first member of the Pelham family to take ownership was Sir Thomas Pelham of Laughton, who bought it in 1653. After passing through the hands of several Pelham family members, the house was acquired in 1725 by Thomas Pelham of Catsfield, who funded a major refurbishment including the reorientation of the house to face north and its re-fronting in the late Classical style.

Echoes of the past in every corner

Nowhere does the past feel more present than in the panelled room on the south side of the ground floor. Its fireplace dates from the 18th century, but this feels relatively recent when you consider that all of the woodwork, with the exception of the Georgian cornice and over-mantle, probably dates from 1579.

Wine merchants, Brighton brewers and stockbrokers

The Pelham family ownership of the house ended when Thomas Pelham, 1st Earl of Chichester, died in 1805. Subsequent owners of the house included a wine merchant, an attorney, a Brighton brewer a magistrate called John Ingham Blencowe (who gave his name to the old drawing room, now our main dining space), a spinster and a stockbroker.

From the 20th century to today

The house was bought by East Sussex County Council in 1928 and was a council headquarters for more than 75 years. The council sold the building in 2004 to a group of four families who converted it to a hotel and conference centre. The families extended the number of bedrooms before we took possession of the house in 2018.

The rest, as they say, is history

© Andrew Gale Photography

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Reception drinks at Pelham House

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Tales from the townhouse

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The history of Lewes