Hammerwood Park was conceived as a temple dedicated to Apollo as deity not only of the arts but also of hunting.

Photo: Thomas Pinnegar 2008
Apollo is represented upon the Coadeware plaque above the temple entrance into the Library playing a double pipe and wearing the skin of a wild beast freshly hunted. Latrobe also symbolised Apollo's presence at the house by styling the Paestumesque-proportioned columns with the plain shanks of those at the Temple of Apollo on the island of Delos.

Built for entertaining by Latrobe in 1792 the house comes to life best today when hosting concerts and dinners whilst retaining its primary function as a family home. On two afternoons a week in the summer visitors enjoy tours and cream teas. There are also two guest suites which can be a useful base for those using Gatwick Airport.

Hammerwood Park East Grinstead Sussex RH19 3QE 01342 850594

We hope you will have great fun adventurously following links below.


Built in 1792, contemporary with the French Revolution, the house was built to appear palacial but in fact is only about one-third of the size it looks. The effect is assisted by various subtle effects but principally the columns on the wings are half the size of those on the central block - so they look as though they are set back a huge distance. The columns on the temples are tapered to make them look taller than they really are.

New: here's a set of colour photographs which we hope you will enjoy

The South Front tour
Click here

The Parkland
(Click here)

The eye is led into the far distance by an enclosing valley to the south focussing upon a hill with a cleft hill behind in the same way as the ancient Minoan palaces and Greek temples which paid reverence to the Earth as the mother of all and all which lived therein.

Above the door into the Library, the music room

Coadeware plaque derived from the Borghese vase held in the Louvre. Apollo, in the course of being anointed plays an Aulos - a double shawm or reeded pipe whilst the maiden next to him plays the Cithara and the lady at the end plays a jingleless type of tambourine. The Cithara was Apollo's instrument whilst the Aulos was normally played by Dionysus. Apollo is seen here playing Dionysus tune! Perhaps this has been played out in the history of the house, built by Latrobe, owned by Led Zeppelin and now once again being home to classical concerts.
The mortals are wearing robes whilst the immortals are wearing the animal skins from the animals freshly hunted at this hunting lodge. The combination here of mortals and immortals here at the same ceremony at the same place at the same time has inspired David Pinnegar in his interpretation of the Parthenon Frieze - see below.

The Library

where we have most of our concerts. Below is a photo in 1982.

Above the door into the Eating Room

The drunken man is being rescued by one of the Gods, probably Dionysus. Presumably this was after the ceremony at which Apollo was being anointed earlier, on the other side of the vase, and here at Hammerwood on the symmetrically opposite temple.

There's more to see: the derelict dining room is beyond - but you would'nt believe it if you only saw a photograph - we hope you will come and see in real life! The dining room and space above needs about 70,000 for restoration. The original colour schemes are known - a delicate Adam pink paint with moulding picked out in gold leaf. But it needs more than paint - you wouldn't believe it unless you saw it in real life. Perhaps the derelict photographs later might give you the idea!

The mural in the hall

The mural was painted in just six weeks of 1991 by French artists Jean-Louis Grand and Guillaume Avonture to celebrate the bi-centenary of the house. Each aspect of the painting is symbolic.

The Victorian Bedroom

where guests can stay!

More pictures of Hammerwood Park - prior to restoration.

Click here for a more detailed tour but as yet without pictures!

The People

Click here for the pre-1792 history
Click here for the story of the people who lived here
Click here for what the servants said
Click here for what the Ghosts are saying!

The Parthenon frieze in the Elgin Room

Hammerwood Park has a copy of the Elgin Marbles. Here is some groundbreaking work about their importance.
Upon a visit to the British Museum, one finds the display of the Elgin Marbles incomplete, part of the central section of the frieze remaining still in Athens. The majesty of the Gods sitting in full council is thereby incomprehensible. Even the copy which adorns the Athenaeum Club in central London has the missing panel replaced by an inferior rendition and the copy at Hammerwood is the only copy in England accurately displayed and on regular display to the public.

David Pinnegar's personal explanation below is admittedly apparently heavy, but we hope you will find it interesting. Why preserve the heritage? The heritage is the remaining physical evidence of the past. Perhaps we have had to deal with issues in the past, our knowledge of which may help us in the future? Please read on . . . You never know - it might be refreshing?

Click here to return to the Hammerwood Park homepage.

Further reading here. . .

Texts of:

Latrobe's Doric Revival at Hammerwood Park, Thesis by Michael Trinder MA, Cambridge University
Extract: Mythic Landscapes and Hellenic Detail: Latrobe's early work in Sussex, Trinder
"Reading the writing on the wall: The challenge of the Tree of Life":
The Parthenon Frieze and the modern world (in which science, history and belief converge), David Pinnegar BSc ARCS

and here soon further research about Latrobe and his extraordinary family, the Greek mythological inspiration, Apollo, the Moravians and the Latrobe family inspiration Count Zinzendorf

Click here for English heritage preservation news

and Here for The Times report of what English Heritage's Chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens has to say about the Lottery

Please sign the visitors book and leave a comment or two here. Did you enjoy it, will you come here, can you help or how did you come to find us, for instance?How can we improve the page: are there too many or too few pictures?

Or you could write to us at Fax +44 1342 850864 or telephone +44 1342 850594 (01342 850594 within UK) or post to Hammerwood Park East Grinstead Sussex, RH19 3QE England

If you have enjoyed this tour of part of our heritage, we would much appreciate your help and donations in trying to preserve it and continue restoration.

Donations of any size, however small, are appreciated and will be well used. 70,000 is needed for the restoration of the derelict Dining-Room section of the East Wing and about 200,000 is needed for rebuilding the North Wing. There is much to do and whilst these sums are substantial, every little helps. Exhibition facilities for the dress collection is a priority ambition. The collection ranges from the 1790s to the 1930s and is one of the most important in southern England. The house currently provides no convenient space for its storage or for showing it other than to the smallest numbers of visitors. About 5000 is needed to replace gutters on the two wings and, if the building is to be preserved, much more needs to be spent on regular maintenaince. The Latrobe Heritage Trust wants to help not only Hammerwood Park but also other historic houses of educational value.

The opening of Hammerwood Park to the public owes much assistance to Arthur Pyke John Pinnegar & Co., solicitors, who were responsible for restoring derelict legal rights of way. Much invaluable experience has been gained!

Click here to return to the Hammerwood Park homepage.

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