Sunday, 29 September 2013

Ightham Mote

Ightham Mote is a14th-century moated manor house whose highlights include the picturesque courtyard, Great Hall, crypt, Tudor painted ceiling, Grade I listed dog kennel and the private apartments of Charles Henry Robinson, who gave Ightham Mote to the National Trust in 1985. The house is surrounded by peaceful gardens with an orchard, water features, lakes and woodland walks. (so says

Yesterday they held an 'Orchard Day' when you can taste the various apples grown in the orchard. We visited in the morning, sampling the apples and wandering around the garden first (which was lucky as by the time we were walking round the house it had started to rain).

Just to prove Crete has not got a monopoly on interesting windows, on one elevation of Ightham Mote I found:
The orchard occupies the site of the original sixteenth-century kitchen garden. Featuring a variety of historic apple trees - our favotite was a desert apple called 'Sunset' - which is a local Kent apple. Also found in the orchard was Mistletoe which I was suprised to see.Yhis is a 'hemi-parasitic plant which attaches to and penetrates the branches of a tree or shrub by a structure called the 'haustorium', through which they absorb water and nutrients from the host plant.According to one of the guides we spoke to they think Mistletoe berries were inserted under the bark during a Christmas party many years ago 'to se what would happen' - a nice story - normally it is birds that spread the berries.

Spread around both house and grounds were various sculptures - an exhibition from the Surrey Sculpture Society - this was our favorite.

The gardens at Ightham Mote occupy fourteen acres, with a sequence of water features across which you can get picturesque views of the house:

Nikolaus Pevsner called Ightham Mote "the most complete small medieval manor house in the country", and it remains an example that shows how such houses would have looked in the Middle Ages.Originally dating to around 1320, the building's importance lies in the fact that successive owners effected relatively few changes to the main structure, after the completion of the quadrangle with a new chapel in the 16th century. There are over seventy rooms in the house, all arranged around the central courtyard.

One internal feature is some 16th century glass brought over from Cologne.

A large kennel was built in the late 19th century for a St. Bernard named Dido is the only Grade I listed dog house in England!

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