Former mansion of once wealthy banking family to be auctioned

Horsgate House in Cuckfield
Horsgate House in Cuckfield

An imposing Victorian mansion with connections to one of the country’s early banking families goes under the auctioneer’s hammer next week.

Horsgate House in Cuckfield, which stands in just over an acre of land, was built in 1865 by Richard Bevan, a leading member of a banking family whose fortunes were linked to the Barclays empire.

Richard died in 1918 but was to become know locally as the father of Cuckfield after his 50 years of involvement with village life.

His most renowned memorial is the prominent Queen’s Hall, built to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897.

Richard, who was born in 1834, was also the father of Robert Bevan who himself won fame, although postumously, as an artist. Robert, who grew up in the luxury of Horsgate House, was a member of Paul Gauguin’s circle based at Pont-Aven in Brittany and a founder member of the Camden Town Group and London Group.

Since the Bevan family’s ownership, Horsgate House in Hanlye Lane, which once stood in 100 acres of parkland, has undergone several transformations, including wartime use, with extensions as well as conversion into apartments.

Its most recent incarnation has been as accommodation for homeless people under the management of Affinity Sutton.

Two years ago it was in the news when the private owners of several of the flats complained about the building’s general state of repair after ground-floor windows and doors were boarded up by Affinity Sutton.

London auctioneers Andrews and Robertson said the entire property was now being sold with vacant possession by Affinity Sutton.

Auctioneer Jeremy Lamb said the building required some internal refurbishment and was likely to be of interest to property investors looking to rent out the flats or developers for refurbishment and onward sale.

The building will go under the hammer on November 5 at the Hotel Russell, Russell Square, London, with a guide price in excess of £850,000.

Andrews and Robertson’s chief executive Robin Cripp added: “Cuckfield is one of the prettiest and most desirable of the Mid Sussex villages with fantastic local amenities. It is very close to Haywards Heath and incorporates very good schools. Its communication links to London and Gatwick are excellent so we anticipate keen interest in this lot which has been realistically priced to sell by the vendors.”