Built / Designed For: Thoma Medley
House & Family History: Buxted is a house of circa 1722 that was originally nine bays and three stories, with a three-bay pediment on the North and South facades and on both sides. After the fire of 1940 the House was rebuilt with two stories and no pediments. The architect Basil Ionides made Buxted his home in the early 20th century and famously restored and remodeled the House in a Georgian style using bits and pieces of many 18th century houses from across England. The early Georgian entrance doorway on the West Façade came from West Harling Hall in Norfolk. The new West Entrance Hall contains: a circa 1740 fireplace from the London townhouse at 19 Arlington Street, a long porcelain cabinet that came from the great Carr of York house Basildon Park in Berkshire, and doors from Robert Adam's 23-25 Portland Place in London. The balustrade in the new West Forecourt came from Chesterfield House in London; in the Great Hall, the fireplace was salvaged from Queensberry House in Richmond; doors came Kensington House, Kensington Gore. The Great Staircase of circa 1725-30 was originally at 30 Old Burlington Street in London, while the Dining Room chimneypiece of circa 1715 came from the dukes of Newcastle's great house, Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. The Drawing Room has a chimneypiece from Felix Hall, Essex, probably designed by Robert Adam, while the Library contains an overmantel of circa 1735 from Stowe House in Buckinghamshire and paneling and a chimneypiece also from Felix Hall. The chimneypieces in the Saloon are from Kingston House, Devon, with plaques from Robert Adam's great London development, Adelphi Terrace, adorning the walls of the same room; the Saloon doors are from Adam's 38 Berkeley Square in London. Buxted shared a very similar design with another early Georgian house, Felbridge Place, Surrey, which was demolished in 1972. Queen Victoria was a frequent visitor to Buxted, where she was particularly fond of the herd of fallow deer. In the 20th century Queen Mary, who was a great friend of Mrs. Ionides, was a regular visitor to the House. In 1963, after the death of Mrs. Ionides, Buxted was sold to Kenneth and Heather Shipman, who added the Garden Wing and added the swimming pool. In 1966, the Shipmans opened the house as a health hydro. Kenneth Shipman owned Twickenham Film Studios, with the result that many celebrities visited Buxted, including Marlon Brando, Dudley Moore, and Gregory Peck. In 1971 the Shipmans sold Buxted to the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheik Ziad Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who at the time was also president of the United Arab Emirates. The sheik owned Buxted for 15 years, but spent very little time there; he did, however, create two lakes, covering three acres. In 1987 Buxted was purchased by the EETPU (Electrical, Electronics, Telecommunications and Plumbing Union), who immediately upgraded the old health hydro and opened the House as a hotel. In 1994, Juldis Development Ltd., a Thailand-based development company, purchased the Estate and invested a large sum in a comprehensive refurbishment program. Then, in 1997, Buxted was acquired by Virgin Hotels Ltd.; in 1999 the Estate was purchased by Hand Picked Hotels, who continue to own and manage the hotel today (2006).
Garden & Outbuildings: Buxted is set in 312 acres an includes, among its features, Queen Mary's Walk and the fountain (in the forecourt) from the garden of Sir Robert Peel's house. The remains of the Victorian Petal Garden are still visible in the gardens. The gardens also contain stone terms from Ashley Park. In addition to re-designing the House, Basil Ionides also designed the Lodges. Sheik Ziad Bin Sultan Al Nahyan created two lakes, totaling three acres, in the 1980s in the Park.
Country Life: LXXV, 404, 432, 1934. LXXXVII, 191, 1940. CVIII, 374, 442, 518, 1950.
Title: Buildings of England: Sussex, The
Author: Pevsner, Nikolaus; Nairn, Ian
Year Published: 1973
Reference: pgs. 466-467
Publisher: London: Penguin Books
Book Type: Hardback
Title: No Voice From the Hall: Early Memories of a Country House Snooper
Author: Harris, John
Year Published: 1998
Publisher: London: John Murray
Book Type: Hardback
House Listed: Grade II*
Park Listed: Grade II
Past Seat of: Thoma Medley, 18th century. Basil Ionides, early 20th century. Kenneth and Heather Shipman, 1960s-70s. Sheik Ziad Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, 1970s-80s.
Current Ownership Type: Corporation
Primary Current Ownership Use: Hotel
Ownership Details: Today Buxted Park Hotel, a member of the Hand Picked Hotels Group.