Ovingdean Hall

Ovingdean Hall, near Brighton, Sussex. 1792-93. This six-bay, two-storey house faced with "pale-yellow mathematical tiles" (Antram and Pevsner 573), has its the two middle bays projecting slightly, with a pediment echoed in the narrower one above the front porch. Grade II listed, it was built for Nathaniel Kemp, father of Charles Eamer Kempe, so this is where the young Kempe was born — no doubt into better circumstances than those enjoyed by many others in the stained glass and church decorating profession.

Ovingdean Hall

A painting of the house as it used to be, before being acquired for school premises.

Ovingdean Hall has presence, glowing like a jewel amid the green of this typical fold of the South Downs. With its clean Georgian lines it makes a distinct contrast with country houses built or altered during the Victorian period, which tended to be (like Kempe's own Old Place, also in Sussex), more individualistic and quirky, with Gothic or later Tudor, Renaissance or Arts and Crafts touches.

Related Material

Photographs by John Kemp (Kempe's great-great-grandnephew), who has kindly allowed us to reproduce them here. Text by Jacqueline Banerjee. [You may use the images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL or cite it in a print document.]


Antram, Nicholas, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Sussex: East, with Brighton and Hove. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013.

Nairn, Ian, and Nikolaus Pevsner. Sussex. London: Penguin, 1965.

"Ovingdean Hall School." British Listed Buildings. 12 July 2014.

Last modified 12 July 2014