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Tel: 01372 732000
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Address:
Epsom & Ewell Borough Council
Town Hall
The Parade
Epsom
Surrey
KT18 5BY

 

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Photograph of Nonsuch Park grounds Photograph of Nonsuch Park grounds Photograph of Nonsuch grounds and mansion house

Nonsuch Park is situated in the northern part of Epsom & Ewell, between Cheam and Ewell Village. There are a number of access points to the park; two car parks off London Road, Ewell and a car park off Ewell Road, Cheam. Vehicle access to the Mansion House is only via the gate on Ewell Road, Cheam.

Pedestrians can enter Nonsuch Park from the main entrances off London Road, Ewell and Ewell Road, Cheam. In addition there are footpaths from Blue Gates, Beaufort Way and Ewell By-Pass. A public footpath from Holmwood Road leads across Warren Farm into Nonsuch Park.

Facilities

Nonsuch Park is a very large open space with an extensive network of both surfaced and unsurfaced paths. It is home to a variety of different species of flowers, birds and insects. 

Nonsuch Mansion House is situated at the centre of the park. The ground floor rooms have recently been completely refurbished and can be hired for weddings and private parties. For more information, please contact 020 8786 8124, email events@nonsuchmansion.com or browse on www.nonsuchmansion.com.

The café (The Nonsuch Pantry) which adjoins the Mansion House provides refreshments and ice creams.

A public toilet is also located next to the café.

Nonsuch Park Survey

Commencing in September 2010, the Nonsuch Park Joint Management Committee (JMC) undertook a survey to find out how the general public felt about Nonsuch Park and provided an opportunity for them to express their views and opinions. The results were collated and used to shape the future development of the park. The results, published in April 2011 can be found by following the link below.

Results of the Nonsuch Park Survey 2011 (pdf - 2.56mb)

Management

Since the 1930s, the freehold of much of the park has been owned by Surrey County Council and has been managed jointly by the London Borough of Sutton and Epsom & Ewell Borough Council (and their predecessors) through the Nonsuch Park JMC. In 2008, Surrey County Council granted a long lease of its ownership jointly to Sutton and Epsom & Ewell Councils. This legal agreement will allow the two Boroughs, through the JMC, to deliver effective estate management and financial planning. A Management Plan has been prepared for the whole estate along with a Maintenance Plan for the park buildings, including the Nonsuch Mansion House.

Nonsuch Park Joint Management Committee Meetings

Three Councillors from the London Borough of Sutton and three from Epsom & Ewell Borough Council sit on the JMC. Meetings are held four times a year; the dates are agreed at the meeting in April and published on Epsom & Ewell Borough Council's municipal calendar. The public are able to ask questions at the 15 minute informal session prior to each meeting. Registration is required 15 minutes prior to the start of the meeting. Members of the public are also able to address the JMC for three minutes on an agenda item. Prior registration is required by 12 noon on the day prior to the JMC meeting. This can be via the link to request to speak form which should be completed online and submitted. Alternatively, the Democratic Services Officer responsible for the JMC can be contacted on 01372 732000 or by email at contactus@epsom-ewell.gov.uk

Data Protection and Freedom of Information

Nonsuch Park Joint Management Committee is covered by Epsom & Ewell Borough Council's Data Protection and Freedom of Information provision.

A short history of Nonsuch Palace

King Henry VIII began to build Nonsuch Palace on 22 April 1538, the thirtieth anniversary of his accession. The King's advisors chose a site then occupied by the village of Cuddington, with its church and manor house. These were cleared away and the owners compensated.

Within two months of work beginning, the name 'Nonsuch' first appears in the building accounts. The structure was perhaps substantially complete by January 1541, but the decorations of the outside walls (which were to be the fame of Nonsuch and the explanation of Henry's purpose in its creation) were still in progress five years later.

By November 1545 the work had cost £24,536 - half as much again as was spent at Hampton Court in the same period. When Henry died on 28 January 1547, the palace was still unfinished, but what little remained to be done was completed by Henry Fitzalan, Twelfth Earl of Arundel, after his purchase of the palace from the crown in 1556.

Elizabeth I regained Nonsuch in 1592 and it remained in Royal hands (apart from the Commonwealth) until 1670 when Charles II gave it to his erstwhile mistress, Barbara Villiers, who became Baroness Nonsuch, Duchess of Cleveland. She demolished the palace in 1682-3 and broke up the parks to sell to cover her gambling debts. The site was excavated in 1959.

Only small remnants of the Palace can be seen today.

Why is Nonsuch important?

King Henry VIII built Nonsuch and Oatlands (near Weybridge) as hunting lodges in his newly created hunting estate based on Hampton Court. He decorated the walls of Nonsuch to celebrate the birth of Prince Edward in October 1537, the long-awaited male heir to the English throne.

The decorations on the walls of the inner court were designed to show the young prince the duties he should fulfil and the pitfalls he should avoid. They were created in stucco and carved slate in the Renaissance style of the French/Italian manner of Fontainebleau (the palace of Henry's rival Francis I, near Paris). They covered some 900 feet on the inward and outward walls of the inner court.

Nothing like this had ever been seen in England before. It was work of the highest quality, on an immense scale, celebrating the Tudors and their hope for the future. Nonsuch was created as a non-pareil, a palace without equal, at a moment when Gothic art and architecture were beginning to yield before the new styles and ideas of Renaissance.

Literature

There are a range of publications on the history, art and architecture of Nonsuch Palace and park:

  • The fullest account of the history of Nonsuch is by John Dent; “The Quest for Nonsuch” (paperback edition, 1981)
  • The latest statement on the art and architecture of the palace is by Martin Biddle, “The Stuccos of Nonsuch”, which appeared in the Burlington Magazine (July 1984). It contained full references to previous publications
  • “Nonsuch: Pearl of the Realm” a leaflet produced by Sutton Leisure Services
  • “Nonsuch Mansion: A Modern Echo” by Gerald S H Smith.

There are permanent displays about Nonsuch at Bourne Hall, Ewell; at Whitehall, Malden Road, Cheam, and a small display at the Museum of London, London Wall, London EC2 5HN.

Volunteers & Community Groups

The principal voluntary groups associated with Nonsuch Park are the 'Friends of Nonsuch', 'Nonsuch Watch' and the 'Nonsuch Voles'.

The 'Friends' are dedicated to preserving the Mansion House and have played an important role in recent years in helping to restore the service wing of the Mansion House. Further details can be found on their website.

www.friendsofnonsuch.co.uk

Nonsuch Watch are dedicated to conserving the wildlife within the park. 

The Nonsuch Park Volunteers (also called the Nonsuch Voles) are a small group of enthusiastic volunteers who help to maintain and enhance the beautiful formal gardens and woodlands within Nonsuch Park. The Garden Voles meet on Thursdays and the Woodland Voles meet on Fridays. If you would like more information, or are interested in joining them, please email: nonsuchvoles@gmail.com

Their website is: www.nonsuchvoles.blogspot.co.uk

For more information, please telephone 01372 732000.

page updated: Sunday, 09 November 2014 © Epsom & Ewell Borough Council 2014