Pangdean Farm, at the heart of the South Downs, was the site of an evolving Anglo Saxon settlement following its earlier use as an early Bronze Age burial site. It was originally called ‘Pingden’ and was included in the Domesday Book of 1086 well before Pyecombe’s Early Norman church was built.
Part of the main house and most of the Old Barn were built around 1720. In the early 1800s it caught the eye of the young and architecturally gifted Prince Regent (later King George IV) while on one of his regular journeys from London to Brighton where he was supervising the construction of his magnificent Brighton Pavilion. On his instructions the farm was purchased to provide kennels for his hounds. It appears he felt ‘challenged’ by the rather stolid looking flint farmhouse and ordered a Regency style makeover of the front. Whilst in Crown ownership various additions were made to the buildings and these were marked by the Royal Crests of Edward Vll, both on the house and the barn extensions.
Some 200 years later, in 1974, Ian Currie arrived as a tenant farmer for Pangdean’s 1,000 acres and was later, in 1985, given the opportunity to purchase the entire farm from the Crown Estates. Soon after the purchase, the future of the barn was put in serious doubt as the Council earmarked the building for demolition as part of the road-widening scheme for the A23. Fortunately a Grade ll Listing was achieved for the barn and the path of the new road had to move west to accommodate this historic site. Some eight farm cottages, of rather less historical interest, had to be demolished instead.
Ian retired from farming in 1999 but now lives in the main farmyard in the beautiful converted cowshed, which was rebuilt using flints picked from the fields of the farm. His daughter Nicky and her family now live in the main farmhouse and it is from here that Nicky runs Hunger Pangs, her catering company, and uses the renovated and restored barn as an event venue. Pangdean meanwhile remains a working arable farm.
Pangdean is located on the busiest walking section of The South Downs Way and now constitutes part of the South Downs National Park. Using Pangdean Old Barn as an event venue has helped ensure the preservation of the listed buildings. A great deal of effort has gone into the restoration and insulation of the buildings while the beautiful flint walled farmhouse garden has been lovingly improved so that it too can be used as part of this extraordinary venue.
Paul Fletcher Photography