Sad farewell to the family home of a former chancellor

Pingles Place. SUS-160330-102247001
Pingles Place. SUS-160330-102247001

The family home with an eight acre garden where late Labour peer Denis Healey and his wife Edna enjoyed the views with a flask of gin and tonic is on the market.

Lord and Lady Healey bought Pingles Place near Alfriston for £63,000 in 1977. Now, their three children say the seven-bedroom, 1930s house is too big for them and have decided to sell it.

Former Chancellor in James Callaghan’s government, Lord Healey (sometimes described as ‘the best Prime Minister the country never had’) used to welcome local parishioners to church parties in his immaculate gardens, according to his children.

Daughter Jenny Copsey explained how the whole family always visited for Christmas, Easter and the holidays, so the grandchildren have wonderful memories of the home. When her father was Chancellor, the house had to be secure so doors and windows were alarmed and police came twice a day to check it was safe.

The garden was their haven and although the family retained a gardener, Lady Healey did much of the work in the kitchen garden and close to the house herself.

Lord Healey, who died in 2015, was fully involved in Alfriston village life and could often be found in the award-winning bookshop Much Ado Books or strolling across The Tye.

Mrs Copsey said she will miss the house but it is too big for them, as she and her brother live in London and their sister lives in America.

She said it is perfectly suited to a big family and she hopes someone will enjoy living there. Everytime they returned from a drive with their children, Lord Healey would say: “We were so lucky to find this place.”

Pingles Place sits high on the Downs above the Cuckmere Valley with far-reaching views along the river to the sea. Lady Healey had the leaded windows replaced with clear glass to make the most of the light.

It is on sale with Strutt and Parker for £1.9 million.

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