Time spent in England would just not be right without a
visit to country estates or castles that have survived the test of time over
several centuries. Many of these have
been donated and are now owned by National Trust
as the families were not able
to maintain the upkeep and maintenance required.
|Old Scotney Castle|
The word castle derives from a Latin word and describes a
type of fortified structure built by nobility.
It is usually considered to be the private fortified residence of a lord
or noble. Our visit today was to Scotney
Castle, which was surrounded by a moat.
The main building still stands strong but as you can see, there has been
some destruction to other sections of it.
This Scotney Castle was built in 1378-80 by Roger Ashburnham,
although there are records of the estate being owned by Lambert de Scoteni in 1137,
which I would guess determined the name.
It is believed the castle was built as a defence against the French forces
who had attacked nearby towns in 1377 during the Hundred Year War.
|"romantic folly" garden|
There were several architectural changes made during
construction over the years. The eastern
range was partly dismantled on the completion of a new house in 1843, to allow
the ruin to be a “romantic folly” garden feature.
The Darrel family owned the estate for 350 years, during
which time they hid Catholic priests, as Catholicism was illegal in England at
that time. This door is a cupboard size,
which leads to the hiding place the priest would go to when visitors arrived at
the house during the years 1591-1598.
Jesuit Father Richard Blount, S.J. fled over a wall into the moat and
escaped during the second raid when authorities came to arrest him.
|View of Old Castle and Quarry Garden|
It was 1778 when Edward Hussey bought the Scotney Castle. His grandson, also Edward built the ‘new’
castle from sandstone that was quarried from the estate. The quarry later became the Quarry Garden. The
new castle sits on a hill overlooking the picturesque spot down in the valley where
the ‘old’ Scotney Castle sits, with the garden filling the space between.
|Old Castle moat|
The Hussey family used the old Scotney Castle mainly as a
country home for 58 years. There was
nothing fancy about the inside of this old castle, it was very plain but the
main purpose when built had been for defence so it wasn’t surprising to learn
that with the wealth from the iron industry in the family, Edward Hussey lll
decided to build a new castle.
|New Scotney Castle|
The Scotney Castle had been lived in by someone of the
Hussey family from 1778 until 2006 when the last family member, Elizabeth
(Betty) Maude Hussey passed away at the age of 99 years. It became the property of National Trust in
1970 but was kept as a family home for Betty until she passed away. The National Trust opened it to the public in
2007 and has maintained it to look like it was still the Hussey family’s
|Rooms of the Scotney Castle|
We had a walk around inside the new Scotney Castle that was
filled with lots of carved walls and ceilings, books shelves filled with their
old books, large portraits lined the walls in the staircase, beautiful
fireplaces with carved words, the quality of the work has well survived these
many years. It was totally luxurious
compared to the Old Castle.
|Gardens in September|
There have been several apartments on the estate that were
rented out by the Trust. In the 1970’s
and 80’s it served as a country retreat for then Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher. It is easy to understand why
someone would choose this beautiful place to relax. In spite of the many other visitors that were
there during our visit, it was quiet and serene with the magic of the past
showing us around.
Spend some time with us at Knole House, just click here
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