Bricks and Mortar - Pelham House

When Pelham House was built in 1597 St Andrews Lane was a bustling central street with a slaughterhouse and a cider-maker’s. Now it so quiet that many people live in Lewes for years without noticing one of its most historic and beautiful buildings. And few realise that you are allowed to walk inside the building and look around its beautiful interior and garden, which belie the ugly front entrance (originally its back door). If you ask them nicely, Circa will even make you a coffee, which you can drink in a room walled with ornate Elizabethan oak panelling, the only original feature of the building. The entrance and hallways of the interior are decorated with some fine work by local artists, including Julian Bell, Jo Lamb, Peter Messer and Carolyn Trant. Strangely there are also some fine Soviet social realism oils.

The construction of the mansion cost the Sheriff of Sussex and Surrey, George Goring, £2,000 and it stayed in his family for five generations, before being sold to Sir Thomas Pelham of Laughton. It stayed in the Pelham family for 150 years – extensive restorations were done in 1705. The building was eventually bought by the County Council in 1938, and a new wing was built. It was acquired by a private company in 2004, and is now a hotel, event venue and conference centre. Our favourite features are the ceiling mural by Julian Bell, featuring tightrope walkers seen from below, and the otherworldly reception sign by Christian Funnell. AL

Pelham House: modern local art in a period setting
St Andrews Lane, Lewes
When? Open all hours
How Much? £110-£150 for a double room including breakfast
Pelham House
01273 488600
(w) Website
Pelham House are looking for sculptors to exhibit in the garden over the summer.
Please contact Pelham House