The Manor of Hewells sits on the junction of the Causeway and Blackhorse Way. Whilst the Causeway is, of course, a road well established in the town Blackhorse Way was created as recently as 1962 as a service road for the shops in West Street. As such it divides the manor from some of its peripheral outbuildings namely the Clockhouse and the stables. The newly named Furneaux Way divides the manor from the chapel now known as The Barn.
The first record of a manor on this site is in 1608 and wood panelling from that property is in the building today. The current manor house was built in 1704 after Elizabeth Delves sold it to the lord of Hawksbourne, Nathaniel Tredcroft. The manor is described as a seven-bayed three-storeyed pedimented double-pile house of brick with corner quoins and is grade II* listed by English Heritage. The design by Nathaniel Tredgold is thought to have been based on that of Winslow Hall in Buckinghamshire, see external links below. Horsham’s Park House, built some 16 years later is similar in its style. The land extended from the front on the Causeway down to Worthing Road where the library is today.
In 1742 permission was given for a wooden water pipe to run from the River Arun by the Town Mill, across the manor land to supply fresh water to the Carfax. A condition of this permission was that free water be supplied to the manor for drinking and for supplying a fountain in the ‘best garden’. The pipework was undertaken by William and Resta Patching and remants of the pipe can still be viewed in the nearby museum today.
Elizabeth Delves (nee Ravenscroft) lived at the manor and has an effigy to commemorate her at the nearby St Mary’s Church. Howard Dudley mentions her in his history of Horsham.
In 1888 Edward Tredcroft ‘sold’ the manor to Henry Padwick, a local solicitor and money lender. A cousin of Tredcroft wrote about this in 1904: “Mr Padwick, the money-lender, said to him ‘well, now sir, you and I must change places’. On my cousin asking him ‘why’ he said , ‘because I have signed cheques to the value of your estates’, upon which my cousin put on his hat and walked out of his house”. Padwick’s son, also Henry Padwick remained there until at least 1916. The museum of the Sussex Archaeological Society at Lewes has a pair of massive leaden rain-water heads that came from Hewells. Each bears a shield with the initials T. N. E. and the date 1704. They were presented by a Mr H Padwick.
In more recent times, 1919, the manor was a grammar school for boys, known as the Manor School and counted the author Hammond Innes as one of its pupils. The school closed in 1970 and three years later it was became the headquarters for the RSPCA until they relocated in 2003. The school chapel, barn and car park were given by the headmasters to the church for use as a parish centre. In the manor times this range of buildings was used for a barn, some stabling, a carpenter’s worskshop and a wood store. A plaque giving this information is in the entrance to the barn along with three notices listing the school captains throughout the 51 years of operation.
Much of the land, then the playing fields, was sold to West Sussex County Council who built Tanbridge School and a library, multi-storey carpark and clinic on the site. In the mid 1990s the school relocated to its current position in Guildford Road and the land was given over to Sainsburys. In 2003 the land occupied by the clinic and car park was extensively redeveloped into The Forum with new shops, housing and car parking.
The site was redeveloped for housing with the manor being preserved although the more recent wings were removed. New buildings, sympathetic to the original style were erected in the surrounding land. One interesting feature of the new properties is the inclusion of built-in bird boxes in the eaves, perhaps at the request of the previous owners; the RSPCA
Ian Nairn said ‘..the MANOR HOUSE, a design of 1704 by Nathaniel Tredgold as blank as the other Georgian houses in Horsham. Seven bays, three storeys, a pediment and quoins. Nice stables on the garden side’