Charman Dean House

The name Charmandean appears to originally stem from the family of Charman, when, in 1521 there was reference to land called Charemanys, in the parish of Broadwater.

Over the next 200 years the land continued to exist as a farmstead, occupied by yeoman farmers, and referred to on maps as sometimes 'Charming Dean' or 'Charman Dean'; 'Dean' being olde english, an old 'residence' name meaning 'from the valley'. 


In the early 19th century (we think 1806)  a Georgian style house was built by John Penfold, a yeoman farmer, who worked on the South Farm (South Farm Road originates from this) which was then part of the Offington Estate.

This small Georgian house was then expanded over the following years.

Charmandean House, 'Charmandean in 1842'

Citation: Notable Houses of Worthing No.2, Henfrey Smail


 In the early 1840`s, the new owner, a Mrs Thwaytes, made many improvements to the property until her death in 1866. There is a lot of information documented about this period, as this is when the house really 'took its shape', and best to read extracts from Notable Houses of Worthing No.2 by Henfrey Smail, published by Aldridge Bros in 1950:-

 The Entrance gates prior to being demolished in 2013:

Wonder where this is now and what happened to it when the house was demolished...? 

Citation:, grid reference: 

The Worthing Sentinal reported in May 2008 that George Wedd, 'owner of Charmandean (or Charman Dean), a grand country house, now demolished, since 1871, died at the age of 78 in 1898. Three weeks earlier he returned from a trip to Bournemouth and told his servants "I shall never leave this place again", words which proved prophetic. He was buried on a very wet and boisterious November day.'

Citation: Sentinal, May 2008 

 The Worthing Sentinal also reported that in 1891 'more than 50 servants and their guests were invited to a ball at Charmandean organised by Mr Page, butler to Mr & Mrs Wedd..'

Citation: Sentinal

Our research has found that the purchase by Mr Alfred King, in 1900, was that on 11th July 1900, he purchased 'the tenemant known as Charman Dean, with the stables, coach houses, vineries, hot houses, observatory, buildings, farm yards, gardens and pleasure grounds.. in 72 acres', for £10,400. Must have been a lot in those days!

The estate and lands are also described as '72 acres or thereabouts and were bounded on the South by the High Road from Arundel to Shoreham on the East by a lane there called Charman Dean Lane, on the North by prems known as Tenents Hill Barn  and other lands and on west in part by land of the Worthing Corporation.'

'and in other part by other lands and were lately in the occupation of the sd (said) George Wedd and were deliniated on the plan thereto annexed and were thereon coloured pink'

We believe the said pink annex is show below, on a Conveyance dated July 1900:-

The estate and sale also included 'together with the Pew and three sittings in the Parish Church of Broadwater', reiterating Charmandean House's long standing history of it's relationship with Broadwater Church over the centuries.

Mr Alfred King died at Charmandean on 16th May 1913, with probate granted 1st July 1913 however his widow, F. Louisa King, also passed away a few months later on 26th November 1913.


Opon the death of Mr & Mrs King, the estate was briefly purchased by a Mr William Ellis, described as 'of the Woodlands Reigate in the Coy of Surrey Gentlemen' .

The purchase price is shown to be £7,000, which is a £3,400 drop over 15 years!

Then, on 30th October 1917, Charman Dean was sold to Mr Thomas Dyer-Edwards for £10,000, however, with a Stamp Duty payment of £100 (1%).

Mr Thomas and Mrs Clementina Dyer-Edwards  - a Brief History

The Charman Dean House purchaser in 1917, was no stranger to grand houses. Mr Thomas Edwards was from a high circle family, who owned many houses including Prinknash Abbey in Gloucestershire, and in 1895 he was the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire.

Thomas and Clementina married in 1978, and on Christmas Day 1978, Lucy Noel Martha was born.

Lucy Noel Martha Leslie (nee Dyer-Edwards), Countess of Rothes 

Lucy Noel Martha Leslie (nee Dyer-Edwards) is best known as a survivor of RMS Titanic; her parents disembarked at Cherbourg, while Lucy-Noel, her Cousin and mail continued on their journey.

Thomas and Clementina had 2 grandchildren, the Hon. John Wayland Leslie (1909-1991) and Hon. Malcolm George Dyer-Edwards Leslie, the latter being named by his grandfather as executor and trustee of his estate.

When Thomas died in Naples 2nd Febuary 1926, the executors broke up Charmandean Estate as it was then known and sold off the lower lands, to form First, Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Avenues.

This sale took place on 1st Febuary 1927, to the partnership of Frank Sandell and Sons building contractors, for the princely sum of £15,650.

 Tea Parties and Memories from School pupils

The following was written by Paul Holden and part of The Argus Worthing Supplement, 18/12/00, but is fascinating and worth mentioning in this collection of history.

Paul writes:

'But one of the greatest losses was Charmandean School, an elegant Georgian mansion set in 33 acres or rural woodland, 150 ft above sea level, to the north of the A27.

Margaret Neal-Smith, of Lancing, is a former pupil of the school, and has fond memories of being taught there.

She recalled 'there were two separate buildings connected by a path. The Schoolhouse consisted of classrooms, the piano room, the domestic science room and three common rooms.

The house contained all the dormitories, sick room, matron room, bathrooms, dining room, refectory, chapel, and the headmistress' own apartments not forgetting the magnificent entrance hall and staircase.

The extensive grounds consisted of a walled garden, and several playing fields for netball, hockety, and lacross, 2 hard tennis courts, and to the back of the fields woodland.

To the front of the house was the famous yew tree walk, and various gardens on the Charmandean Estate contain parts of this.

The added 'It is said that an underground tunnel existed between the house and Broadwater church.

This many be true because some of the girls found a tunnel in the basement cloakroom and tried to get down it, but it was blocked half way.

At the school's side entrance into Charmandean Lane, there were a pair of beautiful wrought iron gates.

Mrs Neal-Smith recalls with affection some of the pranks pupils got up to, including midnight feasts and midnight swims in the nude."

The title deeds annex (green) from 1st Feb 1927:-  

Sentinel reports: "1929: 'The Reverend W Talbot Hindley was headmaster of Charmandean School, which offered ample playing fields, swimming lake, private chapel, gymnasium and carpentry shop.'"

Citation: Worthing Sentinel

Photos of Charmandean House:

Note the ceiling pattern and carved fireplaces - before 'Arts and Crafts Movement'!

Above left is the East Lawn; believe about c.1950; the trees on the right of the photo is Fourth Avenue back gardens and the left the Yews of Yew Walk. Charmandean Lane is in the background (looking East). 

During the years that Charmandean House was used as a school, photos and prospectuses were produced. We are slowly trying to find more photos and information which would be of interest to preserve.

Below shows a group of school pupils dancing on the school lawns:


The below photo shows the Dormitories at Charmandean House: 

The above is we believe a rare aerial photo of Charmandean House, with Charmandean Lane visibile in the lower right with the flint boundary wall which parts of which are still standing today, as below:

Above is one of the only remaining sections of the original boundary wall of Charmandean House.


Below is another photo of the original West Entrance gates, as they can be seen today.

Charmandean - The Yew Walk

In the grounds of Charmandean House, there was a special place known as the 'Yew Walk'.

The Worthing Herald, Sat 5th Jan 1929, reports:

'The school moved to Charmandean with its spacious fields, its wonderfully wooded grounds, its glorious views and unsurpassed position. The ‘Yew Walk’ alone, where well-founded tradition says, the monks who served the ancient Broadwater Church, used to meditate, could not fail to add dignity to the place and leaves its mark on all those who come and go'.

The garden seat at Charmandean House, also known as the 'Folly'. 

The map (right), shows the Yew Walk running East to West from the driveway (by Charmandean Lane) to the 'Folly'.


Below and right show a few photos of the Yew Walk, from c. 1950's. 

Charmandean House, c.1940 'from an early colour print'

Citation: Notable Houses of Worthing No.2, Henfrey Smail

The girls school moved to Lillingstone Dayrell, Bucks, and the house was sold to Charmandean Estates Ltd, 'who employed the effective technique of neglect to ensure its demise'

Citation: A History of Worthing,

A derelict Charmandean House in 1959, four years before it was demolished in 1963.

The photo about you can see the pillars either side of the front porch.  It is those which were relocated to a house in Broadwater and saved when Charmandean House was demolished. Click here for the article.

We understand that in 1959 or 1960 a group of teenagers were playing in the house, and one of them fell through the roof and was killed; it is believed this contributed towards it being demolished to prevent any further tragic accidents.

Thank you to a reader for contacting us about this.

The tragedy featured in a newspaper article, from the West Sussex Gazette:

Charmandean - The East Entrance Gateposts

The Charmandean School Gateposts have been the subject of many historical articles over the years, and have survived until 2013 when they were demolished.

The following is an extract passed to us from the Worthing Review, 2/06/1990, written by Nicholas Thornton.


The Sale of Charmandean House, 1914

 A book of illustrated Particulars was produced prior to the sale by auction of Charmandean House  in 1914, some extracts below:

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