Family of Samuel NEWINGTON and Martha PLAYSTED

Husband: Samuel NEWINGTON (1739-1811)
Wife: Martha PLAYSTED (1740-1831)
Children: Samuel Playsted NEWINGTON (1761?-1832)
Marriage Goudhurst, Kent1

Husband: Samuel NEWINGTON

Name: Samuel NEWINGTON
Sex: Male
Father: -
Mother: -
Birth 1739
Death 1811 (age 71-72)1

Wife: Martha PLAYSTED

Name: Martha PLAYSTED
Sex: Female
Father: -
Mother: -
Birth 1740 Wadhurst, Kent
Death 1831 (age 90-91)

Child 1: Samuel Playsted NEWINGTON

Name: Samuel Playsted NEWINGTON
Sex: Male
Spouse: Elizabeth WILMOTT (1766?-1834)
Birth 1761 (cal)
Death 22 Aug 1832 (age 71) Goudhurst, Kent2
Burial Goudhurst, Kent
Goudhurst Churchyard, Goudhurst, Kent
461. (372) Samuel Plasted NEWINGTON late of this parish, surgeon, died 22 August 1832 in 71st year and left issue by Elizabeth his wife Anne, Elizabeth, Samuel, Frances Georgiana, John and Emma. Above Elizabeth Newington died 5 July 1834 aged 68.

Note on Husband: Samuel NEWINGTON

The Garden at Ticehurst Mental Hospital



I had been intrigued by a group of buildings in Ticehurst which, on the Ordnance Survey maps from 1890 seemed frequently to change their name: The Asylum, The Vineyard, The Establishment, The Highlands, all seemed at a casual glance to be the same place. A garden layout and several garden buildings were shown. I noted this down and then forgot all about Ticehurst until I noticed by chance a book on the return shelf of my local library: Psychiatry for the Rich: A History of Ticehurst Private Asylum.




The book, a fascinating, scholarly account of private provision for the mentally ill during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, was an unusual source for garden history but I picked it up curiously and discovered engravings of the asylum gardens and references to documents in East Sussex Record Office, as well as to M.A. Lower’s Sussex Worthies of 1865.[ If you have a family name with a property, it is always worth checking this useful volume.]




The ‘madhouse’ at Ticehurst, owned by Samuel Newington, opened in 1792. The Newington family had lived in Ticehurst since the 15th century and Samuel (1739-1811) was a village surgeon and apothecary. He was one of ten children and he himself had fifteen, ten sons and five daughters. In 1793 Samuel advertised the asylum in The Morning Chronicle and said that he had thirty years of experience in dealing with the insane and it is believed that he looked after them in his own home, The Vineyard. Four of his sons qualified as surgeons and two of them, Charles and Jesse assisted their father and took over after his death. It was Charles Newington who was the subject of the entry in ‘Sussex Worthies’. Lower wrote of Charles’ father Samuel, in 1865: ‘His residence, The Vineyard, with its little lawn and spreading trees was the admiration of every passer-by, as the type of an English rural Retreat.’ Then in about 1790 ‘Mr Newington senior erected an Asylum for the Insane in the grounds attached to his residence…’ Charles built The Highlands in 1812 on a piece of land adjoining the Asylum as a home for his family.




The inmates, who were not generally of a violent nature, seemed to be humanely looked after. Varied walks were considered to be therapeutic and in ‘Psychiatry for the Rich’ Charlotte Mackenzie writes:


‘Charles and Jesse employed men who had been demobilized after the battle of Waterloo to landscape and ornament over forty acres of grounds in 1816. Over two miles of footpaths led through the plantations, orchard and gardens, past summer houses (one of which was fashionably gothic), a pheasantry, an aviary of singing birds, a moss-house, a pagoda, a hermitage and a bowling green.’




Jesse died in 1819 and Mrs Newington in 1831. Charles Newington became the sole proprietor. ‘He entered on his undertaking with the most indomitable spirit and determination and by gradual additions to the buildings and estate – by ornamenting the grounds in every way that could amuse and clear the mind…’the Asylum soon had the reputation of being one of the best in England. However, ‘the outgoings were enormous. There was always some new conservatory or aviary, some pagoda or flower garden, some evergreen alley or artificial fountain to construct in order to make the place more attractive..’.




It was at this time that Charles produced the brochure for the asylum that can be seen in ESRO, full of delightful etchings showing the gardens with the bowling green, herbaceous borders and pavilions. One building included a ‘Music Room, Reading Room, Aviary of singing birds and pheasantery’ and there were 50 acres of pleasure grounds and over three miles of walks.




Charles Newington died in 1852 but the establishment continued under his two sons. By 1888 there were two other houses, Quarry Villa and Woodlands, both used for accommodation for the insane and included in the license.




In Horsfield, History of Sussex, Vol 1, there are pictures of Highlands and one of The Chinese Gallery. This is not mentioned in the brochure but from the illustration, was obviously a substantial building. ‘There are several building connected with the establishment, which from their ornamented appearance, possess claims to architectural distinction. Among these are the Chinese Gallery which is fitted up with much taste and affords to the invalids a secure retreat in wet weather; and an extensive Conservatory, in which are choice plants and a good collection of the beauties of Flora. There are likewise pheasanteries and aviaries for birds of various kinds. There is also a spacious chapel for the performance of divine service.’




According to local historian Francis Drewe in Ticehurst, Stonegate and Flimwell The Vineyard was demolished in about 1952 and there are now several cedarwood bungalows on the site inside the high brick wall in the triangle formed by the junction of the main road with Vineyard Lane. Charles Newington’s son Samuel died in 1882 and his fourth son, A.S.L.Newington (known locally as Dr Alec) and his first cousin, H.F.H. Newington took over. Woodlands is now Spindlewood Guest House. Ticehurst House was formed into a private family company in 1914. Until 1939 The Establishment was a show place, the grounds were immaculately kept with fine flower and vegetable gardens. As costs rose after the last war all the land was sold off including Woodlands, Quarry Villa, The Vineyard, the Gables, the remains of Ridgway and many other cottages. Ticehurst House is now named Ticehurst House Hospital. It and The Highlands are listed buildings.


Barbara Abbs






Charlotte Mackenzie: Psychiatry for the Rich: The History of Ticehurst Private Asylum 1792-1917. Routledge 1992.


T.W.Horsfield, The history, antiquities and topography of the county of Sussex, vol. I, Lewes, Sussex Press 1835. p589, p.590.


M.A. Lower, Worthies of Sussex. 1865. p54


Frances Drewe, Ticehurst, Stonegate and Flimwell. Phillimore.


ESRO: QAL/1/1/E2


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Male Family

Death: 1828



Marriage: 1799 Goudhurst, Kent, England

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Text From Source: 461. (372) Samuel Plasted NEWINGTON late of this parish, surgeon, died 22 August 1832 in 71st year and left issue by Elizabeth his wife Anne, Elizabeth, Samuel, Frances Georgiana, John and Emma. Above Elizabeth Newington died 5 July 1834 aged 68.