Page last updated at 13:30 GMT, Saturday, 12 September 2009 14:30 UK

Historic park lures in visitors

Nonsuch Park
Thousands of people campaigned to keep the historic site as parkland

A refurbished mansion in a 16th Century park will be on show on Sunday.

Visitors are being invited to explore the historic Nonsuch Park in Cheam and learn about its history in the first "awareness day" to be held there.

Last year, a 125-year lease was signed so Epsom council and the London Borough of Sutton could manage the park, on the London and Surrey border.

There had been fears that the land could have been sold off and turned into luxury flats.

More than 4,000 people campaigned to keep the site as parkland, which began its life when Henry VIII chose it as a location for a new palace.

Councillor Graham Tope, from Sutton council, said Sunday's event was an opportunity for people to tour the newly-refurbished Mansion House, with the Friends of Nonsuch on hand to give an insight into the park's history.

Epsom council historians said Henry VIII had a palace on the site decorated to to celebrate the birth in 1537 of Prince Edward - but when the king died the building remained unfinished.

It was later completed and passed through the ownership of the 12th earl of Arundel, Elizabeth I and Charles II, who gave it to his mistress, Barbara Villiers - and she demolished it.

Only small remnants can still be seen.

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