English Oak marks Craigweil estate’s heritage

Jill Ostler with her 40 tall Montana Clematis

Jill Ostler with her 40 tall Montana Clematis

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Richard Ostler, the chairman of Craigweil Conservation Association, sent in this photograph.

It shows Jill Ostler with her 40’ tall Montana Clematis.

The plant, a large climber and vigorous grower, has climbed an English Oak, which is well over 100 years old.

The English Oak was standing when Jill Ostler’s home in The Drive, Craigweil-on-Sea, was part of the Craigweil House estate.

It was at this estate in 1929 that King George V recuperated from ill health, accompanied by Queen Mary.

Richard Ostler wrote to the Observer: “The road to Craigweil House then ran through what is now her front garden and past the tree which the King and Queen regularly walked and drove through during their three month stay, which resulted in Bognor Town acquiring its ‘Regis’ dignity.

“Craigweil House, home of Sir Arthur du Cros, inventor of the pneumatic tyre, MP and chairman of Dunlop Rubber Company, was then regarded as being ‘the centre of Europe’.

“It was visited by the Prime Minister; the Archbishop of Canterbury; the Royalty of Europe and our own Royal family.

“They all would have passed this tree but most important of all, was one three year old Princess Elizabeth, our present Queen, who built sand castles on the beach, with Queen Mary.

“It is an area steeped in history, now a designated Conservation Area, yet much underestimated and neglected by many residents and Arun District Council!”

The original Craigweil House was built for the Countess of Newburgh, who died in 1797.

In 1882, the owner Dr. Stocker, changed the name of the property to Craigweil House.

The building, originally called ‘the Pavilion’, passed through several hands before being sold to Sir Arthur du Cros in 1915, who enlarged it in 1919. He was awarded the Baronetcy in 1916 in recognition of his war efforts which included the introduction of the Motor Ambulance Service.

When King George V became ill, lung surgery was carried out on December 12 1928.

Famously home to the royal during his convalescence, it was here the king held a Privy Council Meeting, dissolving Parliament and Knighting Captain Seagrave, who was a racing motorist.

The house was pulled down in 1938 following a fire.

Craigweil House spanned The Drive, as it exists today.

No less than five properties have been built on the grounds of the original Craigweil House.

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