Plumpton Place Manor House in Lewes

Sussex has been home to historical icons and celebrities alike, and when it comes to historical homes, it’s interesting to chart who has been deemed worthy of living in the finest houses that still stud the Sussex countryside, such as Plumpton Place.

 

Plumpton Place is one of the magnificent ancient buildings still standing that can track their history back for centuries to the dark ages before anyone knew or cared what a celebrity was. This Grade II Listed Elizabethan manor house was built in 1568, on the site of an earlier house which was mentioned in the Domesday Book – the great survey of England that was completed in 1086 by William the Conqueror. The Parish Church of St Michael and All Angels is situated nearby, and this structure dates back to the 11th century. This site, then, was already one of historical importance, even before the current house was built.

 

Plumpton Place looks out over the South Downs, adding an impressive view to its other pleasant attributes. After passing through various different owners, in 1927 it was bought by Edward Hudson, the founder of Country Life magazine. At this point the house was dilapidated, so Hudson authorised extensive renovations, bringing in the celebrity duo of architect Sir Edwin Lutyens and garden designer Gertrude Jekyll to regenerate the estate.

 

After Hudson died, the house’s next owner Miles Watson, the second Baron Manton, who bred racehorses. He purchased Plumpton Place in 1938 and established a stud farm there, producing the sprinter Hard Sauce, the father of Hard Ridden, who won the Derby at Epsom in 1958.

 

In 1969, George Harrison of The Beatles tried to buy the house with his then-wife Pattie Boyd. However, the woman who owned the property then was not impressed with rock stars, and refused to sell the house to him, and instead she sold it to the local doctor – a celebrity far more worthy of the name, in her opinion.

 

Unfortunately, (or fortunately, depending on your perspective) the good doctor did not share her fear of the house falling into the hands of long-haired rock’n’rollers, and after only three years in the house, he sold Plumpton Place to Jimmy Page, guitarist for the rock band Led Zeppelin.

 

Page lived in Plumpton Place from 1972 to 1985. The house actually makes a cameo appearance in Led Zeppelin’s 1976 concert film The Song Remains The Same, where Page can be seen sitting on the lawn and playing the hurdy-gurdy.

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