Friday 13 April 2012

L is for Lullingstone Castle, Kent

The original manor house stood on the site as recorded in the Domesday survey; but now Lullingstone is an historic manor house having been inhabited by the same family for 20 generations.
The Gatehouse

The present property was started in 1497, with Henry VIII (1491 – 1547) and Queen Anne (1665 – 1714) both being regular visitors.  The gatehouse is believed to be the first one in England that was constructed entirely from bricks.

There are a number of interesting features within the Castle and its gardens – a fenced deer park, when the Castle served as the hunting lodge.  The grounds are located on the River Darent, but hidden within are Queen Anne’s bathhouse and an 18th century icehouse.

16th century stained glass - St Botolph's
The lands contain some of the most ancient oak trees in Britain, wildflowers, a medieval church (St Botolph’s, with the oldest stained glass window in England) ...

... a walled garden, while archaeological finds record a Roman Villa.  More recently it was home to the Lullingstone Silk Farm which produced silk for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation gown.

The walled garden, previously a herb garden, has been converted by the Castle’s current heir – the plant hunter Tom Hart Dyke – into the World Garden ...

Alpine Planting - the World in Miniature
... an innovative project whereby the planting is laid out in the shape of a map of the world, paying tribute to the plant hunters of old by displaying these exotics in their rightful country within the horticultural map.

The World Garden plan came about when Tom was kidnapped for 9 months in the Columbian jungle – it was here he opened his diary and began his future ... planning his dream - what an attitude to life.

A Wire Baobab set amongst aloes at Lullingstone, Kent

That is L for Lullingstone Castle – where the story of the 20 generations of Hart Dykes continues to be written in to the stained glass of windows which reflect their colours to the plants outside ... part of the ABC series on Aspects of British Castles

Bob Scotney featured Kidwelly Castle, Wales yesterday

St Botolph's Church website - here ... it is very interesting, should you wish to look

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories


Theres just life said...

I saw Laura Eno's comment to you about your castle post, so I had to come by. I am addicted to castles.

Pamela Jo


Looks a wonderful place to visit Hilary. I went to Leed Castle in Kent many years ago .
Have a good week-end.


jabblog said...

It sounds a fascinating place to visit. I think we don't appreciate where so many of our garden plants originated.

David Robinson said...

Cracking post. Between you and Bob Scotney, I'm learning more about our castles than I ever did.

Juliet said...

Formidable gate house, beautiful stained glass and a visionary garden. It's so interesting to visit one castle after another, and you certainly have a way of capturing their unique features.

Lynn said...

Lovely that your post about Lullingstone reflects a wonderful attitude toward Life.

Bob Scotney said...

Another new castle for me, Hillary. I like the idea of a world garden but the gatehouse is something to behold.

Nearly halfway and we haven't come up with the same castle - yet!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Pamela - good to meet you and to know you're addicted to castles ..

@ Yvonne - gosh I've never been to Leeds Castle either .. I used to visit Lullingstone village quite often, but never got inside the grounds of the Castle, villa, church etc .. I think a visit to both is in order ..

@ Janice - you're right there - to remember where so many of our plants originated from is a great thought - we just assume they've been here for ever.

Tom Hart Dyke is planting the exotic species to see if they will thrive in the Garden that is Kent ..

@ David - many thanks .. yes even though Bob and I are both doing the Castle theme - surprisingly we've not come up with the same castle yet! Delighted you're enjoying the posts - thanks ..

@ Juliet - the gate house is more interesting than the house I thought and I was glad to find the stained glass window ... while Tom's experience of being imprisoned in the Columbian jungle at least gave him time to think ...

@ Lynn - you are so right there - an amazing attitude to life - both as a prisoner, and now establishing a novel garden ...

Thanks Pamela, Yvonne, Janice, David, Juliet and Lynn - appreciate your comments - cheers Hilary

Jenni Steel said...

Hi Hilary,

What a fascinating castle, so many things to learn about.

I don't think I have been down in this area although there are few places I have not visited in the south.

Now that I have caught up with you, I will be back!


Paula Martin said...

Finally managed to get back here to visit you, Hilary. Love all your castles, wish I could visit them all. The only ones I've been to are Dover, Framlingham and Inverary. Incidentally, my father was stationed at Dover Castle in 1940, at the time of Dunkirk, and saw all the boats returning to Dover harbour.

Old Kitty said...

OH yes!! Poor Tom Hart Dyke but glad he's using his lovely castle and garden as therapy! Take care

Jo said...

Living close to Leeds Castle I have certainly been there, but not to Lullingstone. I am fascinated by the world map. Interesting history.

Talli Roland said...

Oh no, not Leeds Castle! Hilary, you do disappoint me. :)

Thank you; this is fascinating!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Lullingstone Castle is another pretty castle. It would be neat to live near one and visit often.


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jenni .. it's in the north of Kent, near Sevenoaks. Thanks for commenting and coming by ..

@ Paula - well you've been to those three pretty dispersed ones! I think watching all the boats come on Dunkirk Day must have been eye-watering .. I wrote a blog post about it in May last year; did you know they used the same process when the Twin Towers were hit in 2001?

@ Old Kitty - well he seems to have recovered, but the effects must be telling .. and at least he's got the garden as therapy .. as you rightly say.

@ Jo - Leeds Castle must be great - I keep meaning to go, but never get there, yet. I'd like to see the World (planted) map now - in the whole garden, as well as the mini alpine one .. it's been a few years since it was started ..

@ Talli - oh dear! Too castley for me - with way too much history .. and Lullingstone makes for a shorter post - essential for A - Z .. I'll go and visit one day and then do a post afterwards ..

@ Teresa - you can live near them and not visit! Sad but true .. I shall rectify that in the future ..

Cheers Jenni, Paula, Old Kitty, Jo, Talli and Teresa .. many thanks and lovely seeing you .. Hilary

Bossy Betty said...

Would love to visit here, but your blog helped me to imagine it! I love castles!

Slamdunk said...

Those windows are fantastic. My father-in-law's dad was a stained glass installer. He helped out with the business as a child and has always been fascinated by it.

Glynis Peters said...

I loved the idea of the world minature. I must admit I had not heard of this castle. Another fine post, thanks.

cleemckenzie said...

I'm so glad you stopped by my blog to say hi. I might not have found your super blog among the thousand + on this challenge.

I loved reading your post about Lullingstone Castle, and I'll come back to read more. The history of these beautiful places is fascinating.

Suze said...

The Wire Baobab looks similar to our Ocotillo plants here in the American Southwest -- when they are in bloom.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

You've really stuck a cord with these castle posts, Hilary. They're all so distinct and unique. The history is mind-boggling. Beautiful photos.

Theresa Milstein said...

Look at those stained glass windows. That miniature garden is amazing!

Happy weekend!

Unknown said...

Wow, what a beautiful castle.

Julie Flanders said...

Love the story behind the world garden, that's amazing. The stained glass windows are gorgeous.

Have a great weekend, Hilary!

Anonymous said...

good news is all the ghosts would be related
can't even imagine that many generationsliving in the same dwelling

Luanne G. Smith said...

There's so much to be impressed by in this post. The world garden, the fact that the owner was held hostage in Columbia, that the castle has been owned and inhabited by the same family for twenty generations...incredible stuff. So informative.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Betty - so good to see you - where you can imagine yourself here!

@ Slamdunk - so interesting to read about your father-in-laws's work .. it must be painstaking to do = but so rewarding. This window must be particularly special .. they've just installed a new one for the Queen's Jubilee in Parliament .. must be lovely.

@ Glynis - isn't the planting clever - and I'm glad you've enjoyed learning about another 'new' castle ..

@ CL - delighted to see you back .. there are a lot of blogs around aren't there ..

It'll be wonderful to have you back - reading around ..

@ Suze - many thanks .. the baobab is an upside down tree .. well that's the African myth. This Wire Baobab looks amazing with its huge thick trunk and then "wire roots, and wire branches" - really odd. Then the photo I selected had the florescent aloes in front of it. I like looking at the Ocotillo plant ..

@ Joylene - many thanks .. I'm delighted everyone is enjoying the choice of castles I selected - yes I've really hardly touched on the history ..

@ Theresa - I'd love to see the Church - their website is amazing. While the miniature garden, and whole world garden I imagine will be stunning now ..

@ Clarissa - a different castle for sure ..

@ Julie - I agree with you .. in fact a little gem of a find .. the Church with its stained glass, the Roman Villa, these innovative exotic plantings .. and then the Castle itself ..

@ A Ladys Knight - I hadn't thought of that .. all ghosts would be related .. Tom's grandmother was long living .. she was in her 90s and featured in the tv programmes. How long do we normally stay in a house .. about 7 years? They obviously put strong roots down!!

@ Luanne - it's interesting which features a blogger will pick up or questions asked .. you're the first re Tom's incarceration in the jungle! Then 20 generations - just is so difficult to imagine ..

Thanks everyone .. so wonderful to see you all - cheers Hilary

scarlett clay said...

The Alpine Planting of the world is so incredible, I've never seen anything like it, and the stained glass window, that's amazing as well. I've never been to your country (yet) but I just LOVE it!

Susan Scheid said...

The world garden and its origins--now that was amazing. I would love to see that world garden--my list of travel destinations ever groweth, and I know I can't possibly achieve the end of it, but the great thing about what you're doing here (among many) is to bring the world to us.

M. Reka said...

Beautiful post.
Looks an amazing place to visit.

Have a great weekend, Hilary!

Anonymous said...

That gate house is stunning. I love it! I had to get over here before I turn into a pumpkin, which is about to happen. So tomorrow is Saturday, and one more A to Z post this week. I'm looking forward to the next awesome castle, and Jen and I wish you a happy weekend!!
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs

Notes Along the Way with Mary Montague Sikes said...

Hi Hilary,

I suspect you have a wonderful non-fiction book here with all the historic details you share!



Julie Daines said...

Your website is so cool! I'm very glad you visited my blog so I could find yours. We're actually visiting the UK this summer (June) and I can't wait to browse your site for places to visit! Thanks!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Scarlett - that little circle of alphine planting is gorgeous isn't it. The Church site is well worth a visit .. I love stained glass - always have.

You'll be here soon and I do hope all goes well til then, so you get to visit ...

@ Susan - the whole Castle theme has opened my eyes too - and at least it's here now and I can go back and refer! I know all this history is there - but just haven't made the effort. Delighted you're enjoying the posts - one day perhaps you'll visit a few?

@ Marinela - many thanks .. you too have a good weekend.

@ Ann - please don't turn into a pumpkin! Isn't the gate house lovely to look - red brick can be so attractive ...

Happy weekend to you both .. and the views today you will enjoy! As you say half-way through!

@ Monti - many thanks .. there's so much history, that I'd hate to get wrong .. but somewhere there's a book or two, I agree

@ Julie - delighted you're here - and that you're visiting the UK .. lots to see and lots going on too .. have fun planning your trip - it's not far now is it.

Thanks everyone - have lovely weekends .. cheers Hilary

Diane said...

The fact that this is in Kent I may get a chance to visit when when we come over to the UK, it is en route, sort of. Love the miniature garden of the world. Diane

Diane said...

The church is fantastic. Diane

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Diane .. it's not far off the beaten track .. it's in the apex of the M20/A20 (off which leads the A225) and M25 ..

I hope you get there and give it a visit .. looks very interesting .. the church in particular - check the website out.

Thanks for coming by - cheers Hilary

Deniz Bevan said...

I love the idea of a world garden!

Empty Nest Insider said...

Lovely stained glass windows, and I love the rich history of the castle. Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deniz - isn't it interesting and to see planting he's used within each of the continents ..

@ Julie - again the stained glass windows in the Church are beautiful .. and its history as you say ..

Thanks Deniz and Julie - good to see you .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

Love the miniature garden!

Robyn Campbell said...

Simply beautiful stained glass windows, Hilary. The world in miniature is so amazing to look at!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Emma - the planting must be beautiful .. all alpine plants in the shapes of the continents .. good to see you.

@ Robyn - the Church would be fascinating to visit .. and as Emma says the world in miniature looks wonderful

Thanks so much for coming by and commenting .. cheers Hilary