Famous agency’s 100-year independent history ends with sale

Rowland Gorringe, knows locally as 'Gorringe's' had an unusual beginning back in the early 1920s following the house sale of an eccentric US millionaire's home.


A majority of the branches of a well-known and historic estate agency in the South of England has been sold to a rival for an undisclosed sum after the third generation of the firm decided to sell up.

Rowland Gorringe

The estate agency being sold is East Sussex firm Rowland Gorringe, named after the man who established the firm in 1926 (pictured) and whose grandson, 73-year-old Edward Gorringe, recently retired.

Best known in Lewes where it was founded as ‘Gorringe’s’ the firm also has branches in Heathfield and Uckfield. A fourth branch, in Seaford, is unaffected by the deal.

The largest part of the business has been sold to Oakfields Estate Agents, another regional independent estate agency player which was established by Neil Newstead and Stephen Ruxton-Cocker in 1996, starting with a small branch in Hastings and then opening two more in Eastbourne and Bexhill-on-Sea.

The deal makes the newly-enlarged group, which is to retain each firm’s brand and branch identities, a significant force on the South Coast.

neil newstead
Neil Newstead

“We’re all absolutely thrilled that the Rowland Gorringe business will now benefit from our extensive expertise, as well as our greater economies of scale,” says Newstead.

“We have deep roots across East Sussex, and the county will always be our home. Thanks to this acquisition, we’re now ideally placed to offer our high-quality estate agency services more widely across our region.”

Rowland Gorringe had an unusual start as a business during the 1920s. He had initially worked as a partner in local agency Martin & Gorringe but his big break came when an eccentric US paper millionaire who lived locally in a huge Edwardian pile died and Gorringe was given the job of selling its contents during a three-day and 778-lot sale, including Rodin’s sculpture, The Kiss.

The sale generated global interest and Gorringe’s career was made this, going on to become one of the county’s best-known figures. An auction house, also based locally, still bears his name.

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