Firle Place, East Sussex
Richard Cavendish visits the Sussex home of the Gage family.
One of the Gage family ended his life as a grandee of Spain after vainly attempting to buy the throne of Poland, and another gave the family name to the greengage variety of plum. Or so the stories go. General Thomas Gage (1721- 87) was certainly the British commander-in-chief in North America at the outbreak of the American War of Independence. He brought his beautiful American wife home and Firle Place draws many American visitors today. Any misgivings they may feel about a place linked with someone on the 'wrong' side seem to be swept instantly away by the immemorial charm of the Georgian house with its park, attendant village and stumpy-towered church below the South Downs.