Prior to the Pelhams, the Michelborne family owned Stanmer. By the time John Michelborne’s descendant Edward died in 1700, the Estate had expanded to include most of the dwellings and a Manor Farm. His sisters Bridget and Sybil sold it to Peter Gott, who then lived in the house until 1712, when it passed to his son Samuel.

In 1713, Henry Pelham of Lewes bought Stanmer Estate for £7,500. He died in 1721 and his eldest son Henry then appointed French architect Nicolas Dubois to design a new house in the fashionable Palladian style. With the old Manor demolished, work began on the new house in 1722, using sandstone quarried in the Weald.

In 1725, the Estate was inherited by Henry’s younger brother, Thomas Pelham – who had lived as a Merchant in Constantinople. Work on the house was finally completed in 1727.

In 1775 the Pelham family also acquired Falmer Manor, and the two estates were combined – later to become known as the Chichester Estate in 1801, when the Lord of the Manor received the title of Earl of Chichester. The first Earl was Thomas Pelham, and his Countess was Anne . The Pelham family continued to live in Stanmer House until the death of the 8th Earl, John Buxton, who was killed in World War II.


1713 – 1721        Henry Pelham of Lewes

1721 – 1725         Henry Pelham

1725 – 1737        Thomas Pelham

1737 – 1805       Thomas Pelham   1st Earl of Chichester (From 1801)

1805 – 1826       Thomas Pelham  2nd Earl of Chichester

1826 – 1886       Henry Thomas    3rd Earl of Chichester

1886 – 1892       Walter John        4th Earl of Chichester

1892 – 1926        Jocelyn Brudenell        6th Earl of Chichester

1926  – 1926       Francis Godolphin        7th Earl of Chichester  (he outlived his father by just 9 days)

1926 – 1944        John Buxton                 8th Earl of Chichester

1944 –                 John Nicholas               9th Earl of Chichester    (the current Earl of Chichester)

In 1942 Stanmer was requisitioned by the War Office for the Canadian Tank Regiment, to provide billets and live firing ranges.   Until then, the buildings and grounds were in good condition, but the military occupation changed this, with extensive damage being caused to the main house and woodland areas.

In 1947 Stanmer was purchased by Brighton Corporation for £225,000 as the Pelham’s were badly hit by Inheritance tax, the Corporation bought it to protect the water supplies to the City, prevent urban spread and protect the land for the people of Brighton and Hove.

This brought to an end over 230 years of ownership by the Pelham family and so began a new era for the house, as a public rather than private country house. Major renovations in 2006 ensured the building can still be enjoyed 365 days a year. We celebrate our Tercentenary in 2022.


Proud Country House* is open 7 days a week.

Monday to Thursday:  10:00-16:00

Friday: 10:00 – 22:00

Saturday: 10:00 – 22:00

Sunday: 10:00-18:00

Ample on site parking for customers.

Please note that due to planning restrictions and inclement weather conditions, during winter our car park is extremely muddy. We apologise in advance.

* Food is also served seven days a week, see our Dining page for full details or call 01273 680400 (between 10:00 and 19:00) for more information and to make your reservation.

Proud Country House is available for PRIVATE HIRE 7 days a week – email for more details.