During my few days in Eastbourne i stumbled across some of my Great Auntie’s photo albums. I always find it quite humbling looking through photo albums and I must say that looking through these albums did put a smile on my face. We were both trying to think of somewhere to go on the Saturday and we thought that looking through the photo albums might give us some inspiration… by the end of it all we probably
had too many ideas on where we could go.
There was one place in particular that stood out and this place was Scotney castle in Kent. It looked so picturesque; the medieval castle surrounded by a moat and brightly coloured flowers. This was also a very ideal destination because Scotney castle is a National Trust property and the two of us are members. So we decided that on the Saturday we would go there!
The castle is located in Lamberhurst, 8 miles East of Tunbridge Wells. Construction of the castle began in 1378 and took a total of 2 years to build and by 1558 only the southern tower remained. The Darrell family owned the estate for around 350 years and then in 1778 Edward Hussey bought the estate and his Grandson, also called Edward, began the construction of the ‘new’ castle in 1837. Christopher Hussey inherited the castle from his Uncle in 1952 and himself along with his wife Betty were the last owners of Scotney castle. Christopher passed the castle to the National Trust in 1970, which was also the year of his death, and Betty continued to live there until her death in 2006 at the age of 99.
On the Saturday morning we set off from Eastbourne and arrived at the castle in just under an hour. We were informed by one of the members of staff that today was particularly busy and she was right as we would’ve struggled to park if we couldn’t park in a disabled space (for my Great Auntie).
We walked through the entrance, scanned our cards and were informed that the next tour of the house was at 2:15pm. When we entered the house we were both in awe of what we saw…it looked as if nothing had changed since the 1800’s and we were right! We were told that Anthony Salvin, the architect, not only had control of the design of the outside but had control of the design of the inside too. Salvin helped revive the architectural style of that period and his design of the building would prove to be the inspiration for the new look Houses of Parliament.
The first thing that i noticed when i walked through the hall was all the portraits hanging on the walls. There was a large medallion of Christopher Hussey to the left of the stairs which was made by R. Tait McKenzie, who specialised in sculptures of athletes and
portrait medals of this kind and other portraits of family members of the Hussey’s.
We then made our way to the study. The study is now home to Christopher Hussey’s work and papers as this was the room where he wrote and dealt with all the estate business. The bookcase contains copies of Hussey’s own work including an edition of one of his novels, The Picturesque, along with essential reference sources.
The library was the next destination. As soon as i stepped foot in there the first thing that stood out was the wallpaper; it was an orangey brown colour, sort of paisley in a way (right up my street!) and apparently this wallpaper hasn’t changed at all since the
building was completed in 1843!
The library then led through to the dining room which had the long table laid out with plates, candles and cutlery as if they were expecting a large number of people for a feast!
The tour of the building was then completed by going upstairs and looking at all the bedrooms.
On the way out of the house we got talking to one of the members of staff there. He noticed that I wasn’t from around the area due to my accent and asked me where I was from. I told him where i was from then he informed me that he was originally from Macclesfield (what a small world!).
My Great Auntie and I then had a wander round the back of the house then decided it would be best for her to sit down on one of the benches while I went down and had a look at the original castle as it was too far for her to walk.
After walking down the steep hill I had arrived at the old castle. As expected at this time of year, the trees and shrubs gave off a fantastic autumnal colour and all around the moat and the castle were examples of Autumn in full swing.
I decided to walk around the moat and over the bridge which is where i managed to get a few shots of the castle. With it being such a clear day, the reflections of the castle in the water were superb; if you were to flip the photo upside down i bet you would struggle
to establish which side was reality! The castle is certainly the focal point of the gardens with plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas and kalmia all on display.
I then continued my walk around the moat to the North side which showcases the majority of the ruins. I didn’t actually get chance to go inside the castle because i was conscious of leaving my Great Auntie for too long but if i did get the chance to go here again then i would definitely like to take a look inside.
This place truly is one of the prettiest and most interesting National Trust properties I have visited. The contrived views between new and old represent the most perfect expression of the picturesque landscape style.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Scotney castle and hope to visit this place again in the near future!
Thanks for reading,