Sefton Place is an elegant period house surrounded by the beautiful countryside of the South Downs National Park. It’s a mile from Arundel in the hamlet of Warningcamp. The name Warningcamp is thought to be from the Anglo Saxon Waerna’s Field or Camp.
The house was known in the 1850’s as Lady Spencers’ House. The Constable brewing family of Arundel then owned it, changing the name to Sefton House (Sefton was a family name of theirs). They considerably enlarged the house in the 1890’s to create a lounge hall, drawing room, smoking room, ball room, billiard room, dining room, 14 bed and dressing rooms, kitchen, butlers’ pantry etc. The Constable family also built neighbouring Warningcamp House in the 1860’s and the 2 properties were owned as one estate with two private houses and 16 acres of land until the 1920’s. The house was known as Sefton Place by 1897.
In 1923 Joseph Fowler started a boys’ Catholic boarding school at Sefton Place at the suggestion of Gweldoline, Duchess of Norfolk, under the name of St Wendelin’s. The school closed when war broke out in September 1939. The house was used during the second world war as a children’s nursery and then for Canadian and New Zealand troops. Regular dances were held in the dining room for the troops and people living nearby.
After the war Sefton Place was in a very bad state of repair. The estate was sold and Youth Hostel Association leased the house in order to cater for the growing interest in country walking holidays. The YHA bought freehold of the house and the surrounding acre of garden in the 1954. It had a capacity for 120 people sleeping in bunk beds in the 1950’s. It operated as a youth hostel for 66 years, undergoing several renovations, until the YHA decided it was surplus to their requirements and sold it in 2013. Many people have happy memories of walking or cycling to this wonderful building.
Sefton Place was bought by Dominic and Maria Whitehouse and completely renovated to create a comfortable, up to date house suitable for groups of about 30 people.