Ightham Mote is a National Trust property near Sevenoaks in Kent. It is a moated manor house that originally dates from the 14th Century. Over the centuries the house has been repaired, extended and remodelled according to the trends of the time. As you can see from these pictures it is a beautiful place, set perfectly within the lovely Kent countryside.
The interior of the house is equal to its exterior, with a courtyard and unusual internal layout the reflects its development as a property over time. It is a place that you could imagine living in, and certainly not one you would ever consider tearing down. And yet this nearly happened. When the one time owner of the house, Thomas Colyer Ferguson, died in 1951 his grandson James inherited the estate. Overwhelmed by the maintenance costs he decided to auction the house and it’s contents.
To raise more funding it was suggested that the building be levelled so that the lead and other metals could be sold off. Can you imagine something as grand as Ightham Mote being demolished just to generate some profit for the owner? Neither could three local men, who clubbed together and brought the property.
MessrsÂ William Durling, John Goodwin and John Baldock hoped that a buyer could be found that would respect the place. An American, Charles Robinson, purchased it two years later and began to restore the property back to its former glory. A lifelong bachelor, he decided in that the National Trust would take over the running of the property upon his death.
Since the National Trust has been taking care of the property over Â£10 million has been spent on repairing it across a period of 15 years. It is money well spent I think. All of these pictures can be viewed full size on my Flickr page by clicking on them.