The Slaugham Archives

Old House, Nymans
The Slaugham Archive
Old House, Nymans

An unknown elegant lady is posing for the photographer outside Old house, Nymans. For some 40 years following his marriage to Princess Margaret in 1960, Lord Snowdon used Old House as his country retreat. His grand-parents, Colonel and Mrs Messel, gave the estate to the National Trust in the 1950s but Lord Snowdon retained the lease on Old House and spent many years restoring it.
In the 1940s as a young lad I frequently visited the house with Mrs Ellis, the wife of Bob Ellis, the estate gamekeeper. The house had been abandoned many years before and her duties were far more onerous than simple cleaning. The smell of fungus and damp was all pervading and she used to scrape the fungus off the walls, and coat all the furniture, ancient pianos and spinets with a thick layer of polish. I recall that on one occasion an intruder had entered through a small room which housed a bucket lavatory. There was a very small door behind the bucket through which the full bucket was withdrawn to empty it. However the door had been opened by the intruder who then, wriggling on his belly, pushed the heavy wooden seat inwards to gain access. I am sure the security has since been improved.

Picture added on 29 January 2012 at 14:59
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I worked on this house in 1967/68 for Lord Snowdon.
I was a 17-year-old apprentice carpenter for George Potter Builders, London Road, Horsham.
Added by Greg Comper on 08 June 2017
When I was researching the history of Chodds Farm, I found references to Old House named as Little Betchleys. I can't remember what dates it was listed as this.
One day, when I have more time, I will return to the West Sussex Records Office and try to find it again.
Added by Sam Butler on 09 June 2017
I have just been inside the Old House at Nymans after 51 years when I worked there for Lord Snowden as apprentice carpenter.
Many thanks to the owner who kindly allowed me to look around.
Great memories.
Added by Greg Comper on 16 January 2018
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