14 May 2016

Hove Manor

Judy Middleton 2002 (revised 2016)

copyright © J.Middleton
Hove Manor

Hove Manor House stood on the east side of what came to be called Hove Street. For many years it was simply called Hove House and it did not actually become Hove Manor until 1857 when John Olliver Vallance purchased the manorial rights for the princely sum of £805-1-8d.

The date of the house’s construction poses something of a problem and the date 1785 is often quoted. Indeed Henry Porter gives the date building commenced as 26 May 1785. But it seems more likely that this was the latest re-modelling in a longer history.

Evidently some repairs were badly needed because artist James Lambert, senior, executed a drawing entitled Ruins of Hove House 1776. At around the same time Lambert also sketched Hove Church 1776 (St Andrew’s Old Church). The British Museum supposedly holds the Hove House drawing but upon enquiry some years ago, they had no knowledge of its whereabouts. Neither did it appear in the comprehensive record compiled by John Farrant Sussex Depicted 1600-1800 (2001) although the drawing of Hove Church is included.  

The Brighton Season 1917-1918 carried an interesting article about Hove Manor that mentioned the possibility of the building starting off as a monastery in the distant past. The suggestion is not so absurd as it might seem. This is because there was an old barn north of the manor with beautiful tracery while nearby St Andrew’s Old Church has an astonishing twelve columns decorated with fine carvings that are far too exotic for an ordinary country church. 

 copyright © J.Middleton
The carved capitals on two of the twelve pillars inside St Andrew’s Old Church 
are not what might be expected in an ordinary country church.

Another important article on Hove Manor was published in Country Life (24 July 1920). It stated that an earlier re-modelling took place between 1730 and 1750. This work was evident on the south-east front where black knapped flints were set in courses.

This photograph shows the south-east aspect of Hove Manor. (Brighton Season 1917-1918)

It is a complete contrast with the south-west façade, including the segmental entrance, which was designed in late Georgian style with columns and pilasters and a cornice with a balustrade. This part of the house was faced with what was popularly called Roman cement.

 copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
The south-west side did not resemble the earlier part of the house at all. (Brighton Season 1917-1918)

Other signs of an earlier date was an outer doorway surmounted by a canopy constructed in around 1730, which by 1920 found itself inside the servants’ quarters. There was also a pair of old arches situated off the half-landing. It was further stated that the house contained work that might date back to the 17th century or earlier.

  copyright © Tony Flude
This 1910 photograph of Walter Baldock holding the reins also provides a close-up of the front entrance to Hove Manor.

It seems probable that the Scrase family lived in the house because they owned the manor from 1608 to 1712; then it passed to the Tredcrofts through the marriage of heiress Elizabeth Scrase to Mr Tredcroft. The property was later sold to William Stanford of Preston. 

The Vallance Family

By the 1780s John Vallance (c.1732-1793) lived at Hove House. He and his wife Deborah had married at St Nicolas Church, Brighton, and lived at Patcham where their five children were baptised before the family moved to Hove. By the time he died John Vallance had acquired land at Hove from Revd Henry Michell (vicar of Brighton) Aaron Winton (a bankrupt) and Solomon Greentree. He left all his land to his widow and thence to his oldest son John. The remaining children received £700 each.

John Vallance (1759-1833) married Elizabeth Stevens at Lewes and there were three children of the marriage. Although John Brooker Vallance was the youngest child it was he who inherited the house and property. This was because the eldest child was a daughter Ann and his brother John Stevens Vallance died tragically at the age of three on Christmas Day 1802. The Brighton Season 1927-1918 stated that in 1795 John Vallance purchased 400 acres from the Lord of Hove Manor, which does not match up with the 1838 record in the following paragraph.  
copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
A handsome portrait of John Brooker Vallance 
by an unknown artist

John Brooker Vallance (1804-1851) married Sarah Duke Olliver and they had two sons. In 1838 it was recorded that J.B. Vallance owned 115 acres, 3 roods and 9 perches at Hove. In the poor Rate Book for 1842 he was obliged to pay two pence in the £ on property he owned. The most expensive item was Hove House on which he paid £3-0-9d. It is surprising that in the 1851 census there were only three live-in servants at his home. J.B. Vallance’s great interest was hare coursing and he founded the Brighton Harriers that in the 1830s met three times weekly. The Harriers all wore dark green jackets. In view of his love of sport it is a surprise to find he died at the early age of 47 and by coincidence it was on Christmas Day, the same day on which his young brother died. His widow left an eloquent memorial to him inside St Andrew’s Old Church with the following inscription: This monument was erected by his widow as a tribute of affectionate regard to one who was a kind husband, a tender father and a sincere friend. She remained a widow for 39 years.

The 1881 census recorded Sarah Duke Vallance living at Hove Manor. She was then a 70-year old widow and a friend, Catherine Sadler, also aged 70 was visiting her at the time. The rest of the household was as follows:
 copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Sarah Duke Vallance obviously took some 
care in the choice of clothes for her portrait. 
Her strong face shows she is a lady not 
to be trifled with.

Ann Studley, aged 24, housemaid
Kate Bridle, aged 20, cook
Elizabeth Starr, aged 16, housemaid
George Lemon, aged 25, coachman

Mrs Vallance continued to live at Hove Manor until she died in 1890 in her 90th year. 

John Olliver Vallance (1847-1893) was only four years old when his father died and his brother William Henry Vallance was a three-year old. The latter died at the age of twelve, which left J.O. Vallance as the sole object of his mother’s affections. It seems the young man found the atmosphere somewhat stifling but at least he got away for some of the time by attending Brighton College, founded in 1845 as a school for young gentlemen.

The occupants of another school closer to home also captured his attention. This was a small private school in Hove Street called Seafield House. Erasmus G. Livesay ran the establishment and J.O. Vallance fell in love with Livesay’s second daughter Emma Kate. Reading between the lines Mrs Vallance probably did not approve of the match because when the couple married at St Andrew’s Old Church on 16 September 1867 it was a very low-key affair with the briefest mention in the local newspaper.

copyright © J.Middleton
St Andrew’s Old Church, Hove, where John Brooker Vallance and Emma Kate Livesay married in 1867

It is telling that the newly-weds (the bridegroom being a mere 20 years old) decided to set up home in nearby Ivy Lodge rather than move into Hove Manor where there must have been plenty of room. But perhaps Emma felt her mother-in-law was rather too close at hand because she did not become produce any children during the first ten years of her marriage.

 copyright © J.Middleton
This sketch based on the 1899 Ordnance Survey Map shows the location of Ivy Lodge and Hove Manor.

But when she was established in a brand new home at Brooker Hall (now Hove Museum) built in 1877, the situation changed. Their first son was born the following year and two sons and two daughters followed.

 copyright © J.Middleton
John Olliver Vallance commissioned the building of Brooker Hall.

J.O. Vallance had many interests; he was a keen sportsman and took an interest in the Brighton Harriers; later he became enthusiastic about yachting and had his own yacht Day Dream, built at Shoreham. In 1874 he served as a Hove Commissioner. Military life also appealed to him and he became a major in the Royal Sussex Artillery Militia.

copyright © Brighton & Hove City Libraries
John Olliver Vallance was photographed wearing 
the uniform of the Royal Sussex Artillery Militia.

Other Occupants of Hove Manor

After Sarah Duke Vallance died in 1890 Hove Manor remained empty for some three years. J.O. Vallance had his own house and was happy to stay there. In the 1890s Hove Manor still had its full complement of barns, cowsheds, a buttery and hunting stables where foxes’ feet were nailed to the doors.

In 1894 the house was let to T.B. Sandwith and from 1896 to 1898 Dudley Wells lived there. Then it was left empty once more and there is a sad note in the Hove Gazette (12 February 1898) ‘The windows of the old Manor House in Hove Street have evidently been lately attracting the attention of youthful marksmen whose efforts have resulted in the smashing of a good many panes fronting the street.’

Presumably the house was put in order and by 1899 Mr Du Cros was in residence. He did not stay long and it became empty again until Arthur Vallance, one of old Mrs Vallance’s nephews, moved there in 1904. He stayed two years.

Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart (1880-1963)

The Brighton Season 1917-1918 identifies a most interesting occupant of Hove Manor. He was ‘Lieutenant Colonel Carton de Wiart, a famous fighting man, who has no less than nine gold stripes on his sleeve. This gallant officer is a VC and DSO man, and has lost an eye in the war but is a fine soldier and keen leader still. When in Hove, his regiment the 4th Royal Irish Dragoon Guards, was quartered at Preston Barracks, and was the last cavalry regiment to visit Brighton.’

The citation concerning his Victoria Cross was published in the London Gazette (9 September 1916) and ran as follows:

‘For most conspicuous bravery, coolness and determination during severe operations of a prolonged nature. It was owing in a great measure to his dauntless courage and inspiring example that a serious reverse was averted. He displayed the utmost energy and courage in forcing our attack home. After three other battalion Commanders had become casualties, he controlled their commands, and ensured that the ground won was maintained at all costs. He frequently exposed himself in the organisation of positions and of supplies, passing unflinchingly through the barrage of the most intense nature. His gallantry was inspiring to all.’ (The battle referred to took place on 2/3 July 1916 at La Boiselle).

With characteristic modesty when de Wiart came to write his autobiography Happy Odyssey he failed to mention his Victoria Cross. His publishers were obliged to insert a special notice informing his readers about this most conspicuous medal. But he also did not mention his wife, who happened to be the daughter of an Austrian prince and princess, and their two daughters.

He really was the most extraordinary man and his exploits would seem too improbable in a work of fiction. Although it is thought he may have inspired Evelyn Waugh when he wrote Sword of Honour and perhaps the character Ben Ritchie Hook was based on de Wiart.

He was born in Brussels to parents of Belgian and Irish descent.

The youthful soldier was injured during the Boer War and that made him passionate about keeping fit and healthy. Later photographs of him in his uniform show a spare figure with not an ounce of fat on him. Although metaphorically, the number of ribbon bars on his chest could have weighed him down because no less than 24 medals were awarded to him. He also cut a striking and unforgettable figure with his black eye patch and the empty sleeve because he also lost an arm.

But this was not the whole extent of injuries he suffered on various battlefields over the years. He must indeed have led a charmed life since he also survived two plane crashes. When a doctor refused to amputate two damaged fingers, he tore them off himself. He received wounds to his hip, ankle, leg, stomach, head and ear. Pieces of shrapnel remained lodged in his body. It was not until years later after he tripped and fell downstairs in Rangoon and needed medical attention that doctors removed a quantity of shrapnel as well.

He did not retire after the Great War and served in the Second World War too. During the latter conflict he found himself a prisoner of war and was taken with other senior officers to Castello di Vincigliata. His fellow prisoners found his tremendously good company, superbly outspoken and his strong language was legendary. Of course de Wiart was not content to moulder away behind castle walls and made five attempts at tunnelling out. He was by then aged 61 but he managed to remain at large for eight days pretending to be an Italian peasant – a most unlikely disguise given his striking appearance and being unable to speak Italian.

For such an action man it is not surprise to learn he left no papers when he died in 1963.

Sir Sydney Greville (1866-1927)

 copyright © J.Middleton
Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.

In 1915 Sir Sydney Greville took up residence at Hove Manor and at last there was someone who cared about the old house and he breathed new life into it. During his time Hove Manor became once more an elegant and interesting residence where royalty was entertained. He was a younger son of the 4th Earl of Warwick and he had a long history of service to the royal family beginning with his appointment as equerry to the Prince of Wales until 1901. He served as groom-in-waiting to both Edward VII and George V. He was also private secretary to Queen Alexandra. In 1915 he was appointed Comptroller of the Household and Treasurer to the Prince of Wales. In 1919 he was described as a ‘valued friend and adviser to the Royal Family’.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
The dining room in Hove Manor was photographed in 1918. (Brighton Season 1917-1918)

It was during his tenure that the articles already referred to were written and they give us an idea of how the interior looked. The Brighton Season 1917-1918 mentioned a suite of reception rooms that in former days opened into one another but were now closed off. The only two rooms that remained connected were the drawing room and Sir Sydney’s sanctum.

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
In this photograph of the drawing room in Hove Manor you can see on the right the woodcarving mentioned in both articles.

Sir Sydney was responsible for introducing panelling in oak and walnut into some rooms and the reporter thought the effect was very handsome. Presumably, this did not include the drawing room, which was already panelled. In the drawing room there was an antique painting of the Greville coat-of-arms surrounded by some beautiful wood-carving.

The rooms were furnished with exquisite pieces of furniture. There was also a conservatory and a billiard room had been recently constructed.

Country Life (24 July 1920) gives us some more architectural details. It describes the panelling of the drawing room as being of early 19th century pine. There was a deep coved frieze of plaster. Above the fireplace there were carved decorations featuring swags of flowers and fruit while the fireback bore the date 1635 and carried the arms of England, Scotland, Ireland and France.

The study was built on the site of an old conservatory and there was a bowed front facing towards the sea. The walls were stuccoed in large panels bordered with egg and dart moulding, grained to imitate marble. (see Portslade examples of egg and dart moulding)

Sir Sydney’s bedroom contained a bedstead dating back to around 1630 with an acorn decoration on top of the bedposts.

The staircase was an unusual Chinese Chippendale design of open latticework while the inner hall contained cabinets of Chinese lacquer. (Perhaps the Royal Pavilion was the inspiration). 

In the grounds there were formal flowerbeds and many trees. There were also some small stone pillars that once supported hayricks. This was the traditional Sussex way of preserving wheat that Arthur Young admired in his survey published in 1813.  

End of an Era

Although Sir Sydney Greville did not die until 1927, he gave up the house before then. The Misses Annand lived at Hove Manor from 1922 to 1927 and their family had lived at Hove since the 19th century; they were at 1 Brunswick Square in the 1860s and at 59 Brunswick Place from the 1870s until the 1890s. Adam Smith Annand had pursued a career in the Bengal Civil Service and there were four daughters in the family.

The last people to occupy Hove Manor were the Fraser Hornes who moved in around 1928 and after her husband died Mrs Horne continued to live there. Mrs Marie L.M. Horne was a gifted musician and she had great success when she and Howard Talbot wrote the music for Belle of Brittany, a two-act musical that ran at Daly’s Theatre, Broadway 1909-1910; the song from the show entitled Daffodil Time in Brittany was one of the hits of the season. Marie Horne entertained many young and promising musicians at Hove Manor.

Brighton Season (1907-1908)
Mrs Marie L.M. Horne
It is interesting to note that the Brighton Season (1907-1908) ran an article about her achievements. It stated that Mrs Marie Horne studied extensively on the Continent during her youth but her reputation as a composer had only been made during the last four or five years and she had published twenty songs during the previous eighteen months alone. The songs were characterised by an ‘intrinsic grace of melody, allied for the most part to their originality of unconventional form, (which) has won the gratitude of those singers who chafe at the limitations of the ordinary and ever-multiplying ballad.’

As well as these songs and her musical comedy output she also composed many beautiful little songs of the German lieder type. One composition was Song of the Wind – a ‘cycle of five exquisite vocal miniatures’. This work was produced with full orchestral accompaniment at Queen’s Hall, London and created quite a furore. Today she is a forgotten female composer perhaps waiting to be re-discovered.

According to the late historian, Antony Dale,
Mrs Horne offered Hove Manor and its grounds to Hove Corporation for less than she was prepared to sell them to a development company. Unfortunately, Hove councillors declined the offer. As ever, it was a question of money, and it was feared that such an acquisition might put a shilling on the rates.

In 1936 Hove Manor was demolished. Ironically, the only remnant to survive was a humble boundary wall that is still visible in Hove Street to this day.

Royal Visits

The Prince Regent (1762-1830)

copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Prince Regent
John Vallance (1759-1833) and his brother Philip were keen cricketers and it may be through this sport that they became acquainted with the Prince Regent when he was Prince of Wales. In August 1790 John and Philip were part of a Brighton team of cricketers playing a match at The Level. Unfortunately, the team lost to Wadhurst but amongst the spectators was the Prince of Wales. The Vallances also took part in the match of the season in September 1792 between Brighton and Middlesex but their sporting prowess was absent with John run out for a duck and Philip scoring precisely one run. Mrs Fitzherbert was among the spectators.

Family legend has it that the Prince Regent once stayed at Hove Manor when it was still known as Hove House. The Prince Regent must have been satisfied with his visit because he later presented John Vallnace with an engraved silver punch bowl that became a family heirloom.

In 1961 Mrs A.L.B. Lander (née Vallance) wrote a letter stating there was another royal gift that used to hang inside the house. It was a full-length portrait of Sir John Cowell, supposedly by Beechey but not signed. Sir William Beechey (1753-1839) specialised in portraits and during the course of a career spanning some 64 years, he sent 362 portraits to be exhibited at the Royal Academy. According to Mrs Lander this painting was presented after George IV’s staff had stayed at Hove House, presumably because building work was going on at the Royal Pavilion.

Prince Henry and Prince George

 copyright © J.Middleton
This postcard is a useful guide to the children of King George and Queen Mary and Princess Mary was the only daughter. Tragic Prince John died in 1919 at the age of 13, having suffered from epilepsy.

Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (1900-1974) and Prince George, Duke of Kent (1902-1942) were two of the five sons born to George V and Queen Mary. In 1915 they came to spend Easter at Hove Manor with Sir Sydney Greville.

Although Prince Henry lived to a good age, as a youngster his health was considered too delicate for him to attend the Royal Naval College where three of his brothers were sent.

The Duke of Kent went on to marry the popular Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. He died in 1942 in a wartime air-crash.

Prince Edward and Prince Albert

  copyright © J.Middleton
This marvellous photograph shows Prince Edward and Prince Albert 
in their naval cadet uniforms standing dutifully by a stern-looking mother.

The Prince of Wales (1894-1972, later Edward VIII) and Prince Albert (1895-1952, later George VI) were the two eldest sons of George V and Queen Mary. The royal nanny favoured Prince Edward at the expense of Prince Albert who suffered appalling neglect as a young child that had a lasting effect. Apparently, his parents were quite unaware of the circumstances.

In 1919 the young princes stayed at Hove Manor as guests of Sir Sidney Greville. The Brighton Gazette reported that ‘Their Royal Highnesses spent the morning in the charming gardens of the Old Manor’. Later on they motored to the Brighton and Hove Golf course where they had lunch and enjoyed a game on the links.

King George V and Queen Mary

copyright © J.Middleton
It is astonishing just how closely George V resembled his cousin the 
Russian Tsar Nicholas II.

The Brighton & Hove & South Sussex Graphic (9 January 1915) stated that the royal couple dined at Hove Manor on the occasion of their visit to Hove when they came to inspect the 2nd Eastern General Hospital.

 copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
The Royal cars parked outside Hove Manor on the 9 January 1915

This hospital had been swiftly established at the start of the Great War in the newly erected buildings of the Brighton, Hove and Sussex Grammar School situated on the corner of old Shoreham Road and Dyke Road, Hove. In fact it was the first military hospital in the entire country to be mobilized. Today, the building is better known as BHASVIC.

  copyright © Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
King George and Queen Mary visited the 2nd Eastern General Hospital in Dyke Road.

Princess Mary, the only daughter of George V and Queen Mary, also accompanied her parents on this visit to Hove and the military hospital. The princess took a great interest in the welfare of the soldiers and sailors serving in the Great War. Perhaps her best remembered contribution was the setting up in 1914 of Princess Mary’s Christmas Gift Fund that raised the incredible sum of £100,000. This ensured that every soldier and sailor received a Christmas gift. 

 copyright © J.Middleton
Princess Mary (1897-1965) married Viscount Lascelles on 28 February 1922. 
She also became Princess Royal and many people will detect a
 familial resemblance between her and our present Princess Royal.

Princess Patricia of Connaught

copyright © J.Middleton
Princess Patricia of Connaught was a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria.

Princess Patricia of Connaught (1886-1974) was a grand-daughter of Queen Victoria, her father being Prince Arthur. The Brighton Season dubbed her ‘our most popular princess’.

She also visited Hove Manor while on official duties at Hove. The princess had been invited to support the great work being undertaken by the Hove War Hospital Depot, which had been operating since 1915. Fund-raising was a constant concern and royal patronage was a great help in this respect. Princess Patricia’s presence must have had the desired effect because after she opened the Bazaar at Hove Town Hall, the amazing sum of £2,500 was raised within two days.   

The Hove War Depot fulfilled an important role in the Great War and by 1919 had been responsible for making 2,106,676 items. This magnificent sum included 780,974 roller bandages, 154,780 sewn bandages, 13,164 splints (in wood or metal) and other essential items such as crutches, dressings and ward linen. During its time of operation the Hove Depot was staffed by 3,000 volunteer women who moreover paid sixpence a week for the privilege of working there.

The Prince of Wales

copyright © J.Middleton 
Prince Edward, by now the Prince of Wales, was photographed at York House.

In July 1921 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII) had been confined to Buckingham Palace for several days with an indisposition. King George and Queen Mary remembered the beneficial air of Hove and suggested that he might go and recuperate at Hove Manor, Sir Sidney Greville’s home. The prince arrived on 15 July 1921 to stay for a few days but this was a strictly private visit.

Hove Council Minutes for July 1921 record that a letter was sent from the Prince of Wales’s private secretary thanking the Chief Constable of Hove for his efforts in maintaining the prince’s privacy.

The Brighton Gazette (16 July 1921) stated that the prince had been in Hove about eighteen months ago and the same newspaper (2 February 1921) mentioned several such private visits to Hove.

Hove resident Maurie Elliott remembered the prince walking down Hove Street (in those days quite rural in aspect) in beach robe and sandals prior to a dip in the sea.

Another resident Charlie Caperon remembered being in the line-up of the 8th Hove Scouts Group for inspection outside Hove Station when the prince passed by.

Sources

Brighton & Hove & South Sussex Graphic (9 January 1915) 
Brighton Season 1917-1918
Country Life (24 July 1920)
Census returns
Encyclopaedia of Hove and Portslade
Internet searches
Kidd, C. & Montague-Smith, P Royal Children (1982)
Middleton, Judy Hove and Portslade in the Great War (2014)
Porter, H. The History of Hove (1897)

Copyright © J.Middleton 2016
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