The following history is taken from the website parkandgardens.org
Castle House (now called ‘The Castle’ ) was originally built in 1842 by Samuel William Ridley, a floor cloth manufacturer. Extra land seems to have been added in the 1860’s, some of which was leased. Castle House was then occupied by Sir Harry Baldwin, Dentist to Queen Victoria, from 1896 and purchased by him in 1902.
A sale catalogue of 1899 describes the ground as having been ‘laid out by a skilled Landscape Gardener about the year 1866’. The catalogue mentions fine oak, elm and other forest trees, flower gardens, tennis and other lawns, ornamental trees and shrubs, orchards and kitchen garden and peach house. In 1899 the Castle House estate comprised more than 16 acres.
A second sale catalogue of 1902 states that the property comprised 11 acres. Some land had been sold on the death of Samuel William Ridley in 1899 and the final freehold purchase of some portions of the estate which had previously been leased took place at this date. A detailed plan attached to the 1902 sale catalogue shows the garden layout and features: a kitchen garden to the west of the house, a circular rose garden to the north, lawned terraces, a tennis lawn and fernery. There were numerous trees and shrubs, a paddock, a conservatory, a peach house, greenhouse and summer houses.
Harry Baldwin’s daughter Mary split the estate up in the 1950’s, taking the 3 and a half acres of the of the land bordering the sea to develop the old stable into a bungalow for herself which she called ‘Olivers’ . This was the part of the garden where there had originally been orchards, apple store and grazing for horses. When the land was divided the fernery went in with this site.
She sold Castle House to the Bullin family, who intended to run the estate as a market garden, however this plan never came to fruition and the family used the grounds for pleasure.
When the house became too big in the 1970’s , the Bullins built a new property, splitting the remaining grounds of The Castle in two, leaving the Victorian house with 2 acres, which included two thirds of the kitchen garden, the rose garden, some grass terraced areas, part of a lime walkway, the summer houses and tennis lawn: about 2 acres in all. They wished to name their new house ‘Castle House’ and so the old property became known as ‘The Castle’.
The incoming family were the Bacon family. The site remained unchanged until about 2014, when they sold the gardener’s cottage and the remaining kitchen garden to a new owner who kept it only a few years before selling it to us. We had hatched a plan to put as much of the property back together as we could, so we also bought ‘Olivers’ in 2016. In January 2017 we purchased The Castle, enabling us to have a garden with sea access, overall about 5 and a half acres, plus the kitchen garden.
This is my blog about the restoration of the house and garden.