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Trust Receives Grant to Help Fund West Horsley Place Restoration

Published on: 15 Oct, 2018
Updated on: 17 Oct, 2018

By Amina Sahbegovic

West Horsley Place, recently used for the filming of popular TV series Vanity Fair, is to become an art centre with an important grant going towards its restoration.

The Mary Roxburghe Trust received this week a £50,000 grant from the Country Houses Foundation. The trust is a charity created to restore West Horsley Place and its surrounding 380-acre estate, in which it aims to establish a centre for performing and visual arts, and for the teaching of crafts.

Grange Park Opera House is already being built in the grounds and gives well-attended performances, despite its incomplete state.

The £50,000 grant, received this week from the Country Houses Foundation will go towards the restoration of the stable block and clocktower. Dating from the 18th century, this building is in urgent need of repair and, once restored, will be open to the public for the teaching of crafts and visual arts.

West Horsley Place Stable Block

Director of the trust, Peter Pearce, thanking the foundation said: “Whether as a student learning a new craft or as a visitor to the house or garden, our vision is that West Horsley Place will be reborn as a place for everyone to enjoy. There is a great history to be discovered, and a new role for this grand old house play in its community.”

The trust has seen great support and public interest in the rescue of West Horsley Place. Over 700 people came to visit it during the Heritage Open Days. Peter Pearce explained that: “This would not have been possible without the support of our growing team of brilliant volunteers.”

West Horsley Place in an ancient estate separating the Surrey villages of West and East Horsley. The house, dating back to the 15th century, has passed through the hands of owners including Henry VIII, Carew Raleigh and Lady Elizabeth Fitzgerald.

In 2014, historian Bamber Gascoigne inherited it and, in order to give the house and estate a new life, offered West Horsley Place to the Mary Roxburghe Trust.

Norman Hudson, chairman of the Country Houses Foundation said the grant,  “…is an example of our helping fill an important funding gap for the survival of Britain’s built heritage”.

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