Alfriston Clergy House
This charming medieval building with a picturesque cottage garden was the first historic house to be saved by
the National Trust. Full of history and charm, it has 650 years of memories to share with you.
Rich in history, this rare medieval Clergy House with its flower-filled cottage garden and idyllic riverside setting, captured the imagination of Octavia Hill, one of the founders of the National Trust. She spoke of “the pleading voice of the old building itself…to be left to tell its story to the days that are to come.” In 1896 it became the first house acquired by the newly-formed charity.
Though modest in size, the restoration of the Clergy House paved the way for the Trust’s future conservation work on small and large historic buildings so it is a significant site, not only in its history, but also in the way it shaped the National Trust going forward and the incredible restorations that came after it.
The cottage garden transports you back in time, with an orchard, vegetable garden and a delightful rose terrace. The roses in the borders have been specially chosen for their perfume. It also has an incredible setting, nestled alongside the beautiful River Cuckmere in Alfriston, making it undoubtedly one of the hidden gems of the South Downs.