Rosemary Sutcliff’s garden and dovecote

Rosemary Sutcliff’s diary has many references to her carefully-tended garden. Neighbours visit for tea, fans and other writers come to talk and be photographed with her, and housekeepers come and go. Last year photographer Stephen Walby wrote to this blog with a photo of the garden, which stretches out behind the room that was her study where she would work all day, and the sitting room with french windows where she spent the evenings.

We live in Rosemary’s old house in the lovely Sussex village of Walberton. Rosemary lived here until she died in 1992. She is very fondly remembered here, having been an active member of village life. Our next door neighbours daughter remembers coming to the house to help out and many other villagers have stories to tell, we have heard how Rosemary would welcome groups of children from the village school for talks.  

The cover photograph for Blue Remembered Hills was taken in the garden, last year we replaced the dovecote in her memory. The property includes a flint cottage which I think was once a barn/pigsty. In Rosemary’s day her housekeeper lived here.

In fact, as I noted at the time ” … her handyman-driver lived in the flint cottage … The housekeepers always lived in the house …  so there was someone around if Rosemary (who was severely disabled) needed help.”

Rosemary Sutcliff's garden in 2011 (She died in 1992)

Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

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