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Shelley Sites/Sights

Field Place

In 1792, Percy Bysshe Shelley was born at Field Place, a broad-fronted country house set on an estate/working farm in Sussex. As a child, Shelley freely roamed its several farms and heavily wooded grounds. Although Field Place was "improved" by successive owners over the years, the house has now been meticulously restored to its eighteenth-century condition by Kenneth Prichard Jones, a past president of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association. The house is composed of several architectural elements (for a thorough analysis of the architecture, see K. Prichard Jones, "The Influence of Field Place and its Surroundings upon Percy Bysshe Shelley" in the Keats-Shelley Review [8 (1993-4): 132-50]). The original thirteenth-century medieval section held the kitchen in Shelley’s time.
There is also a fourteenth-century central addition (seen here between the two chimneys in the ground view),
and a late-sixteenth/early-seventeenth century brick wing which holds the room in which Shelley was born.
The views from the house are lovely and open, partly due to such eighteenth-century landscape innovations as the haha fence.
Although we did not have access to the interior of the house, a watercolor of the drawing room done by Elizabeth Shelley in 1856 gives a good sense of its light and airy quality.
To the north of the house is a lovely walled garden,
and to the northwest is the stable area; here stands the tree under which young Master Shelley pretended to play cards with the groom.
Further on is the pond where the farm horses would stop for a drink after a long day's work,
and a lane leading to the farm buildings.

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Published @ RC

January 2006