Almshouse, East Grinstead
Sackville College is a beautiful, Jacobean Almshouse and wonderful place to visit, situated in the heart of East Grinstead, West Sussex.
Visiting is by guided tours on Friday to Sunday afternoons during the summer months.
It is also open on some special occasions.
May day 2024 open 11am – 3pm
A modest entrance fee is charged, and postcards and souvenirs are on sale.
Group or private visits can be arranged at other times, see ‘Group’ section below.
The college is 15 minutes walk away from the railway station, served by frequent trains from Victoria via Croydon and the Bluebell Railway. Buses from the station and to and from nearby towns and villages stop outside the college or opposite. Two public car parks are a few minutes walk away, with electric charging points. Cafés, restaurants and public houses are equally close.
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About Sackville College
Sackville College is a Jacobean Almshouse founded by Robert Sackville in 1609 and still in use as an Almshouse today.
The College is built of Sussex sandstone around a quadrangle and contains large mullioned windows and four exquisite old doorways, the northern one of which bears the Dorset Coat of Arms. This almshouse is a splendid example of Jacobean architecture.
Visitors to Sackville College enter a building that is 400 years old. The College’s connection with the Sackville family goes back to the year 1609 and the will of Robert Sackville, Earl of Dorset. This provided a sum of money with which to buy land and “build a convenient house of brick and stone” to be used as an almshouse. For many years the College had a second use, too: providing overnight accommodation for the Sackville family as they journeyed to and from their estates in Sussex. The heads of the Sackville family have been Patrons of the College through its history. The present Patron is the 11th Earl De La Warr .
The vistors are shown the Common room where residents used to cook meals, the Great Hall with its Minstrels’ Gallery and hammer beam roof, the Chapel with its carved door and the study. This is where the Victorian hymnologist, the Revd. Dr. John Mason Neale, Warden 1846-1866 wrote many well-known hymns and carols, including “Good King Wenceslas” and “Jerusalem the Golden”. Dr. Neale, who died here in 1866 after twenty years as Warden, also founded the first Anglican sisterhood, the Society of St. Margaret, and was one of the leading figures in the Oxford movement, which endeavoured to revitalise High Church institutions.
Today the College Warden lives in part of the wing that once served the Sackville family. The College still provides affordable accommodation, now modernized and comfortable, for elderly people. They each have their own flats and the use of the common room and the chapel behind the walls of a perfectly preserved quadrangle.
The College is a charitable foundation which operates according to an act of Parliament of 1624 and a Royal Charter of 1631.
We are open to the Public from Mid June to Mid September.
For Groups please see the tab below.
Arranging a Visit
We are open to the Public from Friday 14th June to Sunday 15th September
(Friday to Sunday) From 2pm with last admission at 4pm
Admission prices are £5 / adult and £2 child
Visitors are taken round by a Guide and tours last about 1 hour.
If you would like to plan ahead please contact the College Office on weekday mornings to confirm a tour.
cash or credit/debit card accepted
Entrance is from The High Street following the path to the main door.
Please ring the bell and a Guide will be with you shortly.
East Grinstead Railway Station and The Bluebell Railway is about a 15 minute walk or you can catch a bus.
There are bus stops on Lewes Road see Metrobus with routes 270, 281, 291, 400 stopping close by.
There is a limited amount of short term parking in the High Street and Lewes Road. The nearest carparks are situated in Church Lane. Details of Carparks can be found on the Mid-Sussex website or the East Grinstead Town website
We are on the National Cycle Route 21
Groups are very welcome and can be shown around, by prior appointment, throughout the year.
To arrange a visit please telephone the Almoner on a weekday morning on 01342 323414 to discuss further or complete the Booking Form for Groups
High Street, East Grinstead,
West Sussex, RH19 3BX.