Category Archives: KENT

CHIPSTEAD PLACE

Surplus to requirement. A country house that was stripped of its interiors and subsequently demolished.

Chipstead Place, near Chevening, erected by William Emerton. Image: The Weald.

Chipstead Place was once part of the demesne and lands of the manor of the de Chepsted family. It was first mentioned in the latter end of the reign of Elizabeth I, when it was in the possession of Robert Cranmer, the son of Thomas, who married Jane Grace, daughter of a Sussex landowner.

Anne, their only daughter, carried the seat in marriage to Sir Arthur Herrys, eldest son of Sir William Herrys, in Essex. On the death of Sir Arthur in 1632 the estate passed to his second son, John, who married the daughter of Sir Thomas Dacre, of Chestnut, in Herefordshire. The lady survived him and married William Priestly, of Wild Hill, in Hertfordshire, who in 1652 conveyed Chipstead Place to one Jeffry Thomas.

Chipstead Place. Image: The Lost Country Houses of Kent.

Subsequently it became the property of David Polhill, who was High Sheriff in 1662, and dying without issue, left the estate to his only surviving brother, Thomas Polhill, of Clapham, in Surrey. By his marriage with Elizabeth, daughter of Henry Ireton, he left three sons but, by a will, he conveyed the house in 1665 to Sir Nicholas Strode.

A new house was erected here by William Emerton around the turn of the 18th century. A grand affair with 26 bed and dressing rooms and six reception rooms.

Chipstead Place. Image: The Lost Country Houses of Kent.

David Polhill, son of Thomas Polhill, later re-purchased Chipstead Place from Emerton trustees, and was a member for the county in Parliament in 1708 and Keeper of the Records and Sheriff of Kent in 1715. Once again, the house had come into the possession of the Polhill family. In 1754 Charles Polhill resided here and it later became home to other members of the family.

Frederick Perkins built an estate village here in 1729, and on his death in 1860, the family tenanted the house, including to railway builder Sir Samuel Morton Peto and the banker Henry Oppenheim.

Subsequently it was the home to John Duveen, who during World War One, lent Chipstead Place as a hospital for wounded soldiers.

The first batch of Belgian soldiers who bore the brunt of the German attack on the forts of Liege and Namur were received here and nursed by ladies of the district who formed the local detachment of the V.A.D., under Miss Hall Hall, the Commandant.

During this period Chipstead Place was visited by thousands of local people admiring the stately mantlepieces, the pictures and other glories of the fine old mansion.

After the war, Mr Duveen sold the house to Sir Roland Hodge, who later disposed of it to Dame Adele Meyer.

Chipstead Place. Image: Lost Heritage.

After a sale of contents in 1931, Chipstead Place went under the hammer ‘for demolition’. “Thus, there passes a familiar landmark, another sacrifice on the altar of ‘development’ a sacrifice even more complete than has overtaken other mansions in the district,” reported the Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser.

Chipstead Place was demolished in 1932 and its land used to build new houses. Only the ballroom, servants’ quarters and West Lodge survived. Part of the estate is now occupied by Chipstead Place Lawn Tennis Club.

Chipstead Place. Image: Lost Heritage.

HUNTON COURT

Hunton Court, Hunton, near Maidstone, was originally called Court Lodge. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Hunton Court, near Maidstone, dates to the thirteenth century and the traditional framed farmhouse dating to the fourteenth century, with a large roof structure and three crown posts can still be found in the attic rooms.

The house has long been associated with the Bannerman family, starting with Henry Bannerman (1798-1871), descended from a Perthshire family of farmers and distillers who, by the 1820s, had graduated into cotton-trading and manufacturing in Manchester. The firm of Henry Bannerman & Sons dealt with cotton, calicoes, muslins and plain fabrics before diversifying into manufacturing cotton goods.

It was from this fortune that Henry Bannerman bought the Court Lodge estate in Kent in 1848, enlarging and remodelling the existing farmhouse, adding a Georgian façade, with central pediment, canted bay windows and balustraded parapet.

The current garden layout is Victorian with features including two lakes which are thought to follow the form of the original moat, a bridge, kitchen garden and many specimen trees. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Henry Bannerman lived at Court Lodge until his death in 1871, leaving the estate to his wife, Mary, for life, and then to a nephew, Henry Campbell, on condition that he took the name of Bannerman, which he had reluctantly agreed to in 1872. He resided at nearby Gennings Park, part of the family estate, before moving into Court Lodge, renaming it Hunton Court, on Mary’s death in 1894.

Grade II listed Hunton Court was sold in 2008 for a price believed to be about £5.5 million. Subsequently restored it is on the market in 2019 with a guide price of £12.5 million. Image: Strutt & Parker.

Henry Campbell-Bannerman (1836-1908), the son of Sir James Campbell, a Glasgow merchant and Lord Provost, entered politics and became leader of the Liberal Party between 1899 and 1908, and Prime Minister between 1905 and 1908.

He died a few days after leaving office and the Hunton Court estate passed to his cousin, James Campbell-Bannerman, whose descendants remained until the death of Captain Michael Campbell Devas in 2007. The following year it was sold ‘in need of renovation’ and completely restored.

Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, British statesman and Liberal Party politician. He was knighted in 1895. On his death in 1908 he left estate worth £54,908, exclusive of settled estate at Belmont Castle in Scotland, and of Hunton Court and the Gennings Park estates in Kent.
The main house being occupied by his aunt, Henry Campbell-Bannerman and his wife took the nearby house at Gennings Park as their country residence, living there until 1887 . Image: Strutt & Parker.

CHEVENING

Sixty years ago, Chevening was bequeathed to the nation to ensure that the estate would not be broken up, but would instead retain a significant role as a private house in public life.

The oldest part of the house was built between 1616 and 1630 by Richard Lennard, 13th Lord Dacre, and the work had traditionally been attributed to Inigo Jones. Later, the wings were built by the first Lord Stanhope, who died in 1721. Pilaster and older stonework, added by the third Earl, completely hid Inigo Jones’ red bricks on the façade. Lord Roseberry, who as a boy stayed at the mansion, invariably called it ‘Paradise’. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

In May 1959, the Chevening Estate Bill, published details about Lord Stanhope’s gift of Chevening, Kent, to the nation. Lord Stanhope, the owner, who would leave no heir to the earldom, and had been a widower since 1940, said that as long ago as 1937 he had told Neville Chamberlain of his intention to bequeath Chevening to the country. During the Second World War he had told Winston Churchill of his wish.

However, it fell to Harold Macmillan to make a formal acknowledgement of the gift.

An endowment provided for the upkeep and maintenance of the house and the 3,000-acre estate, which could be used by Prime Ministers, or nominated members of the Cabinet, or members of the Royal Family. There was also provision in the Bill for its use as the residence of the American Ambassador if other nominees failed to make use of the house.

Mr Macmillan said that the mansion had associations with many distinguished statesmen. Lord Stanhope’s long service to the State, had been crowned with a gift which would allow the rare beauty of Chevening and its peace and serenity to serve the same high purpose which he and his forbears had always cherished.

The main staircase at Chevening, Kent. Lord Stanhope, a former first Lord of the Admiralty and Leader of the House of Commons, standing on the staircase in 1959. It was made of Spanish oak between 1720 and 1723. Behind were pieces of armour from a disbanded militia regiment in Ireland in the reign of Queen Anne. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Chevening had been in the possession and occupation of seven generations of Stanhopes, except for a brief period in 1769 when Lord Chatham stayed here with his family. During this period Pitt planned the carriage drive known as Lord Chatham’s Ride, partly to facilitate visits from his family residence at Hayes to see his only daughter, who married Charles, later the third Lord Stanhope.

The Print Gallery at Chevening, Kent. The long room contained engravings of leading personalities of the era between 1855 and 1875. Many of them were signed. There were also several framed letters of interest. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

HOLBOROUGH COURT

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Holborough Court. Image: Kent Photo Archive.

These photographs of Holborough Court, at Snodland in Kent, were taken in 1909. It was designed by Hubert Bensted and built in 1884-86 for Major William Henry Roberts (1848-1926), a partner in the local lime and cement industry. William Lee Henry Roberts (1871-1928), the founder of the Holborough Cement Works, succeeded to the property and when he died it passed to his nephew John Cook of Royden Hall, on condition that he took the name Roberts. He sold it to Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (now Blue Circle) in 1929, who demolished it in 1930 to make way for industrial development. Some of the ancient fittings were saved and now form part of the furnishings of Paddlesworth church.

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Holborough Court. Image: Kent Photo Archive.

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Holborough Court. Image: Kent Photo Archive.

HAYES PLACE

An American shrine on English soil. Following in the footsteps of Benjamin Franklin, the great negotiator, and the sad plight of an English country house.

Hayes Place - The Graphic - 2 March 1918 - BNA
Hayes Place was the home of the distinguished statesman William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, who was Prime Minister in 1766-1768. His son, William Pitt the Younger (the youngest ever Prime Minister) was born here in 1759. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

In March 1918, The Graphic highlighted Hayes Place in Kent, the ornate home of the Earl of Chatham, and the historical visit of the great American, Benjamin Franklin.

From 1757 to 1774, Franklin lived mainly in London where he was the colonial representative for Pennsylvania, Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts. His attempts to reconcile the British government with the colonies proved fruitless. On his return to America, the war of independence had already broken out and he threw himself into the struggle. In 1776, he helped to draft, and was then a signatory to, the Declaration of Independence.

In 1758, when relations between the mother land and her American colonies had become strained to breaking point, William Pitt the elder, later the 1st Earl of Chatham, went out of his way to make the acquaintance of the famous American. They met within the walls of Hayes Place, where Franklin and the Earl held many discussions as to how the differences between Great Britain and America might be healed.

Hayes Place - Lost Country Houses of Kent
Pitt acquired Hayes in 1757 then rebuilt the house and added land to the estate. General Wolfe dined here in 1759 on the night before he departed to his fate at Quebec. During Pitt’s time as Prime Minister, Thomas Walpole held the house and encased it in white brick during further enlargement. Walpole resold it to Pitt in 1768, who died here ten years later in 1778. Image: Lost Country Houses of Kent.

Site of a house since the 15th century, in 1754 William Pitt the elder bought the property, subsequently rebuilding it. The birthplace of his son, Pitt the Younger in 1759 and the scene of his own death in 1778, it was visited by many of the major figures of the late 18th century but passed out of the family in 1785.

Hayes Place - Ideal Home
Other noted owners of Hayes Place included philanthropist Edward Wilson (who acquired the house in 1864) and Sir Everard Alexander Hambro (1880), who carried out improvements to Hayes village. Hayes Place was demolished in 1933 and houses were erected on the site. Image: Ideal Homes.

In 1880 Everard Hambro of the banking family, became the owner. Following his death in 1925 his son Eric decided to dispose of the estate for building, although the need for an improved infrastructure for this rural area meant delays.

As a result the house survived until 1933.

Developed as the Hayes Place Estate by Henry Boot, a Sheffield based company, roads such as Chatham Avenue and Hambro Avenue were named after figures associated with the house’s history.

“Where statesmen once met to discuss state matters, builders’ men now eat their lunches. Hayes Place, the historic mansion of the Pitts, is now used as a store for building materials.” – Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser – March 1933.

Henry Boot - Norwood News - 26 May 1933 - BNA

Hambro Avenue
Hambro Avenue in Hayes, Kent. This is named after one of the occupants of Hayes Place. Sheffield-builder Henry Boot demolished the house in 1933 and laid out the Hayes Place estate. Several local firms put up more estates, including Hayes Hill, Pickhurst Manor, and Hayes Gardens. Image: Google Streetview.

LANGLEY PARK

A country colony for Londoners: A house that became part of the ‘garden city movement’. Three years later it was lost

Langley Park 1 - The Bystander - Jun 8 1910 - BNA
Langley Park. Close by the house was an interesting old swimming bath embowered by trees. The old ballroom of the house had a fine painted ceiling. Leading up to the house was an old avenue of trees, a mile and a quarter in length. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

On Monday 6 January 1913, the members of Park Langley Golf Club were shocked to find that their club house was on fire. The blaze had started about eight o’clock at night in the dining-room, the cause unknown, and quickly consumed the interior, including the fine Adam ceiling.

On that cold January evening firemen from Beckenham and Bromley rushed to Langley Park. They laid their hoses to the pond 300 yards away and frantically pumped water into the house. By midnight the fire had consumed most of the building and by first light on Tuesday it was evident that only the outer walls remained. 

The remains of Langley Park were demolished soon afterwards and a replacement club house constructed nearby.

Langley Park - The Sketch - 15 Jan 1913 - BNA
The following day firemen were still pouring water onto the remains of Langley House. All the windows had been destroyed and the roof had collapsed inwards. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Langley Park - Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News - 11 Jan 1913 (BNA)
The blackened shell of Langley Park. The Georgian part, completely at odds with an adjacent older section, had been totally destroyed. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Previous to this, Langley Park mansion, standing at the centre of Langley Park in Beckenham, Kent, had been an age-old family home. Parts of the house were said to date back from 1476, built for the De Langele (Langley) family, although the main part of the property was Georgian. The Langley family remained until the 1820s when it was bought by Emmanuel Goodhart. In total, there were twenty rooms, many containing valuable objets d’art, Adam fireplaces and about twenty sepia frescos.

After the death of its last occupant, Emmanuel’s son, Charles Emanuel Goodhart, D.L., J.P. in 1903, the property had been empty. However, with one eye on the advance of London, there were plenty waiting patiently to exploit Beckenham’s rural location.

The estate was sold by the excecutors of Charles E. Goodhart in 1908 and 700-acres of its parkland bought by H & G Taylor, a Lewisham building firm, to build a new ‘garden estate’ – Parklangley –‘the most luxurious and beautiful attempt at town-planning in the country’.

The initial phase (1909-1913) was based on the ‘garden city movement’. The layout of the estate and most of the houses were designed by Reginald C. Fry, but there were other designs from Edgar Underwood, H.T. Bromley, Sothern Dexter and Durrans & Groves.

The first roads to be laid out were Wickham Way, Elwill Way and Hayes Way in 1909. Malmains Way, Whitecroft Way and Styles Way followed in 1910. The golf club moved into Langley Park in 1910, occupying the house and remaining parkland.

 

Langley Park - Ideal Home
Parklangley, near Beckenham, was the latest development of the garden suburbs ideal. Its 700-acres of park and tree-studded pastoral lands were to remain a huge garden on which spacious villas, designed for comfort as well as appearance, were built. The houses weren’t crowded together, and the ‘jerry builder’ was kept out of the domain. This is Brabourne Rise in the course of construction. Image: Ideal Home.

Originally envisaged as a self contained garden city complete with circular shopping centre, church and dance hall building, around 80 houses had been built before the development was interrupted by World War I.

Work resumed on the ‘garden city’ in 1918, but the scheme never fully materialised. However, consisting mainly of sizeable detached and semi-detached housing it remains ones of Beckenham’s most exclusive and unspoilt areas.

The site of Langley Park mansion is now occupied by Langley Park School for Girls, behind what is now the 3rd green of Langley Park Golf Club.

Rotunda at Parklangley - The Bystander - Apr 27 1910 - BNA
Shopping entirely under shelter. The Parklangley development covered 700-acres and houses were built fringing broad roads with old trees in them. The roads were to run round and radiate from a central position, which itself was close up to an old avenue of trees a mile and quarter in length. At its centre was to be a large rotunda containing the only shops allowed in the area. People were to enter the rotunda by twenty or thirty arches and enter into a shopping promenade – a circus covered by a glass roof complete with bandstand, fountain, tea-tables and flower-shops. Sadly, it was never built. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Langley Park 3 - The Bystander - Jun 8 1910 - BNA
“A beautiful estate, having fallen into the builders’ hands, had, instead of being covered with conventional villas in hard, straight roads, been laid out in truly rural style. The houses were different in design; beautiful old trees lined the roads, there was a first-rate golf course and club-house.” Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Langley Park 2 - The Bystander - Jun 8 1910 - BNA
May 1910. The new golf course at Parklangley. Charles Mayo putting on the second green. The links were played upon for the first time on Wednesday 25 May, when George Duncan won an eighteen-hole match against Charles Mayo, with a score of 78 against 83. Image: The British Newspaper Archive.

Corner of hayes Way and Wickham Way - Geograph - Dr Neil Clifton
Langley Park or Parklangley? Both names have been used since the early 20th century. One of the ‘garden city’ houses on the corner of Hayes Way and Wickham Way. Image: Dr Neil Clifton.

Langley Park - 1909 - National Library of Scotland
Langley Park. A lot has changed since 1909. Beckenham was historically in Kent, but is now a district of London in the London Borough of Bromley. On this map we can see the black outline of the old house. Today it is the site of Langley Park School for Girls. Image: National Library of Scotland.

EASTWELL PARK

Eastwell 1
Eastwell Park at Ashford. Demolished in 1926 and rebuilt as Eastwell Manor. (Lost Heritage)

The main house at Eastwell Park was built in Neo-Elizabethan style between 1793 and 1799 for George Finch-Hatton, 9th Earl of Winchilsea, and remodelled in 1843 by William Burn. In the mid-1860s the 11th Earl suffered financial difficulties forcing him to leave and the estate was let to the Duke of Abercorn for 5 years. (Winchilsea was declared bankrupt in 1870). The house was then tenanted by Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh, the second son of Queen Victoria. Eastwell Park was bought by the 2nd Lord Gerard in 1894 and it passed to his son in 1902. Frederic John Gerard had gained the rank of Captain in the Lancashire Hussars Imperial Yeomanry and achieved a similar rank with the Royal Horse Guards. He also held the office of Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the County of Lancashire.

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Frederic J Gerard, 3rd Baron Gerard (1883-1953). (The British Newspaper Archive)

Eastwell 2
A forgotten mansion. Eastwell Park was too big and was torn down in 1926. (Lost Heritage)

In 1920 Eastwell Park was put up for sale and the eventual buyer was Mr Osborn Dan who never lived here but chose to remain in his house at Wateringbury. He sold the estate in 1924 and it was reported that the new owner intended to reduce the size of the mansion. This was Sir John de Fonblanqua Pennefather (1856-1933), a British cotton merchant and Conservative politician, who’d just been created a Baronet, of Golden in the County of Tipperary. Some experts suggest he was more interested in architecture rather than the estate. He demolished the existing mansion and in 1926, using much of the old materials, rebuilt the house as it now stands, but significantly reducing its size. He was overtaken by blindness and never lived in the new house. In 1930, Madeline Cecilia Carlyle Brodrick, 2nd wife of the 1st Earl of Midleton, later Countess Midleton, bought the estate but lived in London. Her son, Captain George Brodrick, managed the estate on modern and efficient lines. The 1920s house survives as Eastwell Manor, a Champneys Spa Hotel. All that remains of the old house is Eastwell Towers, built in 1848, the original gatehouse.

Eastwell Manor
Eastwell Manor. The house was built between 1926-28 by B.C. Deacon for Sir John Pennefather.

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All that remains of the Georgian house. Eastwell Towers, built in 1848 as the original gatehouse.