Firle Place Summary
- Address: Firle, Lewes, BN8 6LP (Map)
- Tel: +44 (0)1273 858307
- Fax: +44 (0)1273 858188
- Owner: The Rt Hon Viscount Gage
- Administrator: Peter or Penny Woolgar
- E-mail: Click here to contact
- Website: Go to the Firle Place website
Firle Place Description
The house is closed this year for a major restoration project; they are hoping to reopen in 2013.
Firle Place and the Gage family came into being in Tudor times with Sir John Gage who was a trusted councillor of Henry VIII & Knight of the Garter. It was he who founded the family’s fortunes. His son Sir Edward was made a Knight of Bath and Sheriff of Sussex and supervised the burning of the Lewes Mart years. The Gage family then had a quiet period until 1713 when Sir William Gage inherited Firle and he started to restore the house by putting Caen Stone round the Tudor building. This you can still see today.
Sir Thomas Gage was created 1st Viscount Gage in the Peerage to Ireland in 1720 and he built on the “Gallery”, which houses many old masters. The Fifth Viscount was the Son of Hon Thomas Gage the Commander in Chief of the British Army in 1763 to 1775. During the late 18th/19th Century the house was redecorated by the 5th Viscount and his wife Leila Peel who loved to entertain Royalty. When Henry Rainald, the 6th Viscount, married Imogen Grenfell the house inherited another collection of fine works, which are still housed there today.
The Present Lord Gage, Henry Nicholas, is still carrying on the restoration of the house and gardens. The house has a wonderful collection of Paintings, Furniture and Porcelain from Europe and some American pieces from General Thomas Gage. They hold four different family collections. To find out more about Firle Place, do visit their Website.
The Gage Family
This was built up through the years and some of the works have come and gone, but a few remain today. The 2nd Viscount sat for his portrait to Gainsborough and he also acquired the Reynolds of Lord Eardley. The 3rd Viscount patronised the cabinet making firm of Gillows in the 1790s. It was the present Lord Gage’s father who brought back pictures and objects connected to Firle.
The Knightley Collection
This was the first collection to be added to the Firle Collection, coming from the Knightleys who lived at Fawsley Hall in Northamptonshire on the death of the last Baronet in 1938. Three of their pictures are to be found in the little hall.
The Cowper Collection
This came to the house from Panshanger in Hertfordshire and was inherited by Imogen (Grenfell) the wife of the 6th Viscount and the present Lord Gage’s mother. It came to her on the death of her own mother Lady Desborough in 1952. The collection from Panshanger was divided into two with the sisters Imogen and Monica, Lady Salmond. In 1999 the heirs of Lady Salmond Cowper kindly gave Firle the loan of their mother’s collection to reunite the collection as one. Included in the Cowper Collection are some magnificent paintings by Sir Anthony Van Dyck, Raphael, Puligo, Zoffany, Reynolds and Teniers. The house also holds the Melbourne Sevres Dessert Service.
The Grenfell Collection
Imogen also inherited in 1954 the Grenfell collection that was also at Panshanger, having been once at Taplow Court in Buckinghamshire On the death of her father, Lord Desborough. These included a De Koninck and a Hoppner.
There can be few more beautiful places in which to hold a wedding reception than the setting of Firle Place. Guests arrive via the one mile long drive through mature parkland with the house popping into view against a background of unspoiled rural England.
Receptions for up to 400 guests can be held in the handsome former Riding School, a restored building dating from the 1800s and built in sympathy with the surrounding complex that includes the house and stables. An alternative, particularly for larger events, is to hold the reception in a marquee in proximity to the house. Drinks receptions can also be held on the croquet lawn adjacent to the house.
Staff are happy to co-ordinate the many facets of a reception in conjunction with the client to help ensure a successful event, and can offer local advice, preferred caterers, and other contractors. There is a good range of local accommodation from hotels to B&B.
Easter Bank holiday weekend, May - September, Sunday - Thursday 2.00-4.30 pm
OAP & Concessions: £7.50
Family ticket: £20.00
Group tickets - prices on request
The Tea Room
The recently refurbished Tea Room will be open from 12.00-4.30pm on house opening days only
The house and surrounding estate has been used for Films, Adverts, Photo shoots, TV Specials and much more. If you have an idea they may have the location.
Just a few things they have had filmed there: "Firelight - Return of the Soldier for TV", "Jonathan Creek Christmas Special", "Lame Ducks with Lorraine Chase" and "Blackeyes" by Dennis Potter.
Firle Place is able to offer their Great Hall which seats 70 to 80 people for Corporate Dinners, AGMs and Seminars, additional rooms are available as reception rooms. If you are looking for somewhere different, surrounded by a Van Dyck painting and two 17th Century Grotesque Tapestries, then it could be what you are looking for.
Your Reviews of Firle Place
Frederick R. Gage (19 May 2007)
I am an American descendant of Sir John Gage and had the pleasure of visiting my ancestral home the beginning of June 2006 and I would recommend visiting Firle Place if you ever get the chance. I was allowed a special moment when my cousin Lord Gage who had never before met me, had lunch with me and I enjoyed that 45 minutes greatly! I will always be thankful for being allowed to tour Firle and enjoyed meeting and spending time with Peter and Penny. Gage Chapel was wonderful as well. If you can, attend a sermon with Peter the Pastor. I hope to return again soon! "Rondo"
Brenda Gage Alexander (31 December 2004)
I was in London (all the way from Texas) for a study abroad tour and managed to find the time to visit Firle Place. My uncle, Thomas Rusk Gage, had always wanted to see it, but never got there before he died. I arrived after normal visiting hours, but they were very gracious in allowing me a look. It was everything I had hoped it would be. It is rich in history and a very interesting place to visit. The village is a lovely place to visit as well. It is very quaint and quiet, and the few people I ran into were extremely friendly.
Additional Info for Firle Place
- Dogs allowed
- Disabled Access
- Meals Available
- Car Parking
- Historic Houses Association
Credit Cards Accepted
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