Sennicotts as a photographic location

Sennicotts house and gardens are an ideal Georgian, English Country photographic shoot and film location near Chichester in West Sussex.

The house is a Regency Villa (as described by the Connoisseur Magazine in 1967) while the gardens are formal and landscaped including a large walled kitchen garden.

Located 4 miles from Goodwood and within 9 miles of West Wittering beach and Chichester Harbour. 

For more information please contact Eloise via email

Features include:

Barns and agricultural buildings; Entrance hall; Cantilever stairs; Living rooms; Dining room; Kitchen; Bedrooms; Bathrooms; Cellars; Domestic swimming pool; Formal gardens; Parkland; Gatehouse; Fountain; Tarmac road; 3 phase electric supply, 4m ceilings; Oak framed summerhouse.

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Wed 21st June 2017 – NGS

Where else today can you get a cup of the finest single origin Colombian coffees, freshly roasted, for £1.50. Where 100% of the sale price goes to charity and which you can enjoy in 5 acres of private garden surrounded by the scent of roses in the very best weather Europe can produce? Simple answer: Sennicotts near Chichester, open for the National Gardens Scheme from 9:30am to 4pm. Entry £4 for adults. Just to be clear – ALL proceeds go to charity.

Extraordinarily good coffee from Edgcumbes available at Sennicotts for just 3 days
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Sennicotts Gardens – National Gardens Scheme opening 2017

90ae742427fe77c48237812068c39291For three days in 2017 Sennicotts Gardens will be open to the public for the National Gardens Scheme.

Monday 19th June 09:30-16:00
Tuesday 20th June 09:30-16:00
Wednesday 21st June 09:30-16:00

£4 entry per adult. All proceeds will go to charity.

image001This year we are exceptionally excited to be able to offer you freshly roasted, single origin coffee from Edgcumbes. If you haven’t tasted Edgcumbes’ teas and coffees before you are in for a unexpected treat. Once again all proceeds from the sale of tea, coffee and cake will go directly to charity.

If you want to know just how good Edgcumbes coffee is do visit their website www.edgcumbes.co.uk or better still come and visit us and taste for yourself.

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3 men and a lot of poo

No problems keeping warm on this winter's morning
No problems keeping warm on this winter’s morning

Beautiful crisp morning today and we found the perfect job to get stuck into: a manure run.

Four trailer loads getting on for a ton each, loaded and unloaded by hand ensured no one got cold.

We debated the relative benefits of one man and his tele handler vs three men and their forks. The three men won by virtue of the exercise, fresh air, community, tidiness and lower environmental impact.

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Granny says

I know we should never stop learning but there are some things, once learnt, we genuinely feel there can’t be much more to it than what we already know.

Take putting logs on the fire for example. Once the fire is going and needs an additional log presumably we all know the routine: take one log from the log basket, preferably well seasoned unless a suitable green burning wood like Ash, carefully (using a fireproof mit if required) lay log on top of existing flames and ensure resulting burning pile of wood is prevented from rolling apart. Job done.

So imagine my surprise when one day in my late thirties I was adding a couple of logs to the roaring fire to keep Granny warm, only to be challenged on how I was approaching this simple task.

Is there a correct way to load logs into the grate?
Is there a correct way to load logs into the grate?

“Jamie!” (only Granny calls me ‘Jamie’), “not like that, they need to go in upright.”

“Sorry Granny?”, thinking to myself she can’t mean that.

But sure enough, “You should put the logs in the grate vertically, my father always said the logs should be upright in the fire grate. He always did it that way”.

Slightly taken aback, a couple of thoughts flashed through my mind. ‘Quite touching that Granny, some ninety years on, still held so fondly the instructions and example of her father.’ But also, ‘I wonder what he must have been like to live with if he was giving instructions about these sort of details? Especially when opinions on the exact angle a log sat in the fire at were simply a matter of personal preference.’

I’m not sure what you would do in this situation? but I seem to remember I managed, “Oh really.”

I stopped, looked at the fire, thought some more, and looked at Granny. Somewhere in there, I thought a combination of ‘it can’t do too much harm to show willing’, ‘I like the idea of honouring Granny, even if I can’t attach any great reason to why she might be right’ and perhaps there was also a little bit of ‘Great Grandpa was supposed to be quite clever’ and ‘it might be worth a go in case we have possibly lost an ancient skill set with the advent of on tap central heating’.

I’ll save you from any more detail. In case I reveal too much about how my brain works!

But you have probably worked it out already: these days I always load and restock the logs vertically in the fire grate!

Do I understand why? Am I sure this is the better technique? To be honest yes and no.

From observation alone I think, it looks, it feels as if the logs burn cleaner, they burn slower and they give off more heat. In essence it appears the logs loaded into the grate vertically burn noticeably more efficiently.

Can I explain why? Not really. Longer flame possibly? Longer flame = more complete combustion. Maybe?

Will I be telling my grand children that the correct way to load the logs into the grate is vertically? Because my Grandmother had taught me this and her father had taught her? I’m afraid there is a very real risk this fate may not only fall upon my grandchildren!

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A glimpse of life at Sennicotts during WWII

Victor & Mary Willis celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary
Victor & Mary Willis celebrating their Golden Wedding Anniversary
Victor & Mary Willis on their wedding day in October 1943
Victor & Mary Willis on their wedding day in October 1943

In the early years of the Second World War a Norfolk girl from Upwell by the name of Kathleen Mary Chapman (W/10633) was posted with the ATS first to the Mitcham Road Barracks in Croydon (1939), before moving further South to Walberton House, West Sussex (1940), then briefly at Fifehead Manor in Hampshire before arriving at Sennicotts in 1941.

What was to happen to Mary at Sennicotts would be life changing.

For in the same year 1615739 Gnr Victor Willis was also stationed at Sennicotts. Home for Victor had been Deptford and Dulwich.

A romance started at Sennicotts that year between Mary and Victor which was to survive being separated by subsequent postings and in October 1943 they were married in Beddington, Croydon.

In 1949 they moved from London to Portsmouth where they were to live for the rest of their lives. They had two sons Doug and Mick and the marriage lasted 55 years. Victor died 12 Feb 1998 aged 81 and Mary died 15 Jan 2011 aged 97.

The photographs below give a flavour of those months Mary spent at Sennicotts.

Our thanks go to Doug and Mick Willis who both researched their parents’s experiences during the war, made contact with us to share their family’s story, and gave us permission to share with you this wonderful piece of Sennicotts’ history. Thank you both.

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Time capsule – sadly empty

a time capsule - if only he had left us the contents
a time capsule – if only he had left us the contents

The joy of undertaking any work at Sennicotts is you never know what you will find.

This week while decorating a bedroom we discovered a builder in the 1960’s had been fuelled by Crosse & Blackwell Meat Soup (Beef). Only he hadn’t just enjoyed the contents but had instead carefully placed the empty tin under an old light shade and built this little time capsule into the base of a cupboard.

Nice to think he thought his workmanship would last long enough for his capsule to be of interest. This one survived over 50 years. Something tells me today’s builders of new homes finished with acres of cheap plastics don’t have quite as much hope in the future of their creations.

A little marketing note aside: Even though I find myself staring at an empty and rusty tin the ‘Ten O’Clock Tested’ logo remains reassuring and inviting. This very successful marketing campaign of the 1950’s and 60’s gave the consumer the guarantee that the product lines they were enjoying had been extensively taste tested at 10 o’clock as part of a daily routine. I find this reassuring to know that Crosse & Blackwell called quite a large number of staff in each morning to join the daily taste test.

That the product was good enough for its staff to consume each morning is somehow a lot more convincing than the image I have of a food plant of today bringing me my tinned soup coldly stared at by a load of computer probes.

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