Saturday 21 April 2012

S is for Scotney Castle, Kent

Colourful landscape gardens surround the ruins of a moated round tower (Scotney Old Castle) built in 1377, and parts of a later Tudor manor house.
Old Castle in the foreground,
the new House up the hill

This summary reflects the estate prior to the National Trust’s ownership in the 1970s.  Much restoration and clearing work has been done in the intervening decades, and from 2007 both the house and gardens are open to the public.

Scotney Castle is an English Country House with formal gardens, which are a celebrated example of the picturesque style.  The central feature is the ruin of a medieval moated manor house, Scotney Old Castle, situated on an island of the small lake.

The new castle built in the 1800s is an early, and unusually restrained, example of the Tudor Revival architectural style – designed by Anthony Salvin (1799 – 1881), an English architect who had become an expert on medieval structures and applied this expertise to his new buildings and restorations. 

Scotney Castle early Spring garden

The lake is surrounded by sloping, wooded gardens with fine collections of rhododendrons, azaleas and kalmia for spring colour, summer wisteria and roses, waning into glorious plants putting on their bronze autumnal show.

Summer Wisteria

Over the years from the earliest record of 1137 before a castle was built various architectural styles can be seen – the unfinished fortified house with towers, Elizabethan architectural design, Inigo Jones style before Salvin’s restrained example of the Tudor Revival architecture that he used for the new castle in the 1800s.

The quarried sandstone from the estate was used to build the new Scotney Castle, while the hollow created was then developed into a Quarry Garden, and contains a 100 million year old impression of a dinosaur’s footprint.

Roses in the walled garden
The Elizabethan wing and tower remained as a dwelling for the Bailiff (custodian) until 1905, the rest of the old castle was dismantled to safely leave only the most interesting features, which now form part of the landscape for the new Scotney Castle.

In summary Scotney Castle is a Victorian country house and romantic garden with a 14th century moated medieval castle set in a beautiful wooded estate. 

The gardens are superb with their rhododendrons and azaleas; the estate, woodland and park are there to explore; there is a working hop farm, while the mansion is waiting to be discovered.

Aerial view of the old castle
Another fascinating facet to this Castle – is that the National Trust maintains some blogs – so we can see what is going on and watch the new developments as the custodians enhance their estate:

The Scotney Castle Estate blog
The Scotney Castle Garden blog
The Walled Garden blog – charting the restoration of the 19th century walled garden

Roses in a vase - Renoir's
painting of cabbage roses
As they say it is that time of year, especially with the weather we have been (were!) having, to get out and explore our heritage and here is one Castle that is ready for us in more ways than one ...

That is S for Scotney Castle, Kent which has a modern take on Castle promotion ... part of the ABC series Aspects of British Castles

I wonder if Bob is related to Lambert de Scoteni recorded as the owner of the estate in 1137; it is credited with being built by Roger Ashburnham  (c 1378-80).  The village nearby is called Lamberhurst (hurst is a wood), while the hamlet  of Ashburnham is not too far away.

But Bob did write about Scotney Castle with some interesting ghoulish hauntings back in January 2011 - it's a very different read .. 

Bob Scotney’s castle yesterday was Rait Castle in the Highlands of Scotland

Hilary Melton-Butcher
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Juliet said...

The gardens look beautiful, and your word 'romantic' is perfect to describe this castle. It's definitely on my list if I get to make a trip and do a castle tour.


Most picturesque Hilary loved the show around.
Have a good week-end.


Bob Scotney said...

What can I say about 'my' castle. As you will see I had written about Scotney Castle before and there's the link in my Spofforth Castle blog today. Again I added some ghosts to its history. Sneaky that you didn't tell me what you have done when commenting on my blog today!
It was a joy to read and see your treatment of it.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Ha Ha Bob.

Hilary, I love this one the best and if I've said that before -forget it.

I like saying Scotney, too.


Annalisa Crawford said...

I've just joined the National Trust, now my kids are old enough not to run amock inside them. This one looks great. I'm afraid the gardens don't do anything for me - I was scared off as a child when my parents thought the garden centre was a good day out!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Juliet .. the whole estate looks fantastic - and their blogs are a great read and look.

@ Yvonne .. thanks - it's a good Castle.

@ Bob .. I loved your take on your castle! .. Terrible hauntings - but a fascinating set of tales, very applicable to this part of the world back in smuggling times (not recent times!).

Delighted you posted on Spofforth and had previously done Scotney - we just look at things in a different light .. so the two posts work well together.

Glad you enjoyed the post - thanks.

@ Teresa - I was a little sneaky wasn't I .. so I'm glad it amuses you .. Bob and I are becoming regular partners in Castles!

Teresa - some of these castles have been refurbished so well - the grounds, the landscape and then the interiors ...

Scotney is a good word isn't it .. Bob will be fascinated to hear his name being said so often from the States!

Cheers to you - and thanks for having fun .. Hilary

Mimi said...

I am really enjoying your posts. I had no idea that so much was involved in these castles. I guessed that they were just a bunch of ruins!

Mimi Torchia Boothby Watercolors

Jo said...

I lived in Kent for most of my life, before emigrating, and I have never heard of Scotney or Lamberhurst. Only castle I knew of was Leeds.

What beautiful gardens, I would love to visit them. The Wisteria is particularly lovely.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Thanks for the introduction to Scotney and its lovely gardens! I'd love to see them in person one day.

Diane said...

Another really interesting post. It looks like a lot of work has gone into looking after this place and the gardens are amazing. The roses are stunning. Diane

Martha said...

Just love all these beautiful castles you are showing us. I've learned so much. They are so gorgeous!

Luanne G. Smith said...

Those gardens are gorgeous. What a beauty. This one is like a fairy tale castle.

Jo said...

Aha, I found it, its near Tunbridge Wells. When I mentioned that, hubby suddenly remembered it.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I wish I had toured more castles on my trips to Europe. I love castles and forts -- standing inside and trying to imagine what life was like in those times...

Melonie said...

Lovely pictures. Castles have always fascinated me.

Just swinging through from A to Z. Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

Golden Eagle said...

The gardens look gorgeous! I love all the trees and flowers in the third picture. :)

The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Annalisa - that's good - there are some lovely historic places run by the NT. Sorry those experiences put you off gardens! One day perhaps you'll change your mind! Thanks for the visit ..

@ Mimi - many thanks - some are just earthworks, fragments or nothing - still the records are there.

Others are ruined, or some have been partly restored, or some thankfully are relatively intact - despite hundreds of years of use.

Lots to them!

@ Jo - I see you've found out where the Castle is +/- within Kent. Leeds Castle is amazing, but I thought Lullingstone deserved a shout out - as it's so different.

This national trust property looks pretty special I agree.

@ Elizabeth - well we'd love to welcome all your family here and show you round sometime!

@ Diane - this one is one you could visit on your trip over from France, before you get to Lullingstone!

The blogs look interesting - and fun to follow a NT property ..

@ Martha - many thanks, so pleased to read you're enjoying them and that you're learning so much.

@ Luanne - it does look like a fairy tale castle doesn't it .. and I'm sure the gardens will be superb.

@ Patricia - I can see exactly your thoughts .. so much to visualise and think back on - it would be fascinating to go back in a time machine!!

@ Melonie - glad you enjoyed your visit .. good luck to you too ..

Cheers everyone and thanks so much for coming by - have a good weekend .. Hilary

Anonymous said...

Awesome Pixs I love to see these places I may never get to see first hand but this is great thanks for sharing!

Rosalind Adam said...

Fabulous gardens. We rarely go down Kent way but this would definitely be one that Mr A would enjoy if we ever do.

Friko said...

Another excellent read on a castle worthy of a visit. You are very good at collecting enough information to make further exploration a must-do.

Inger said...

Those gardens are fabulous. As an asides, I lived in Kent for about a year, in Lee Green, in the Vicarage, where I looked after the vicar's little boy. The countryside is so lovely there. I used to go horseback riding a lot. Thanks for starting up some other memories, I have been so focused on Sweden this month.

Lynn Proctor said...

what a lovely place--all those azaleas i would love to see it--thanks

Ruth said...

I like the aerial view of the old castle. That is such a nice setting.

scarlett clay said...

I love the aerial shot, what a beautiful piece of property! This one looks the most like a residence or actual house to me, but still grand. I can't quite keep up with all of you A to Z 'ers but I try! :)

Chuck said...

That castle and setting look absolutely awesome! I would love to see a 100 million year old dinosaur footprint.

Lynn said...

Those gardens are amazing!

Unknown said...

Gorgeous castle and grounds!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Golden - I think I must visit the Castle/s and walk around looking at the gardens .. yes that comes from the estate site .. beautiful photos.

@ Emma - good to meet you - and am glad you're enjoying the series, perhaps one day you'll get to visit.

@ Ros - I can see the trip to Kent is not the simplest for you .. but perhaps you'll get down sometime.

@ Friko - thanks so much .. I find snippets of information that interest me and I hope you. Delighted you're enjoying the posts.

@ Inger - the gardens do look wonderful. Lee Green between Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells .. wonderful place to be living .. and how fabulous you could go horse riding .. must have been fun.

Glad I stirred those memories for you - but your Swedish posts have been so interesting ...

@ Lynn - the display of rhododendrons, azaleas etc must be superb .. and like you I'd love to visit.

@ Ruth - the photo shows the island with the castle within the lake setting quite well - even it's small.

@ Scarlett - like Ruth .. the aerial shot does show the old castle really well doesn't it. It's owned by the National Trust - so in fact is not family run .. but the NT are excellent at upkeep and maintaining historic places.

The A - Z is an extraordinary event .. I just participate and do what I do .. I've met a few great new people .. so that's fun. Keeping up ... is difficult, so can understand your feelings .. and you're trying .. good for you.

@ Chuck - don't the two castles look enticing .. and that dinosaur footprint would be fascinating to see.

@ Lynn - wonderful aren't they

@ Dawn - I agree with you ..

Cheers everyone .. have happy Sundays .. and see you all soon .. cheers Hilary

Haddock said...

Those purple flowers made my day.

Nick Wilford said...

Another one I didn't know, it looks nice and that dinosaur footprint sounds very interesting.

Glynis Peters said...

Gorgeous pictures. Lovely castle. Another interesting post, Hilary.

Liara Covert said...

You are a delightful travel guide. You invite your readers to float through gardens which tantalize the senses. To imagine we are each a flower, a castle or other aspect of the countryside is to perform parts in an enchanted story. All of it and none of it is real. Always apprecaite your research and insights.

Tara Tyler said...

i want to take a castle tour!

Susan Scheid said...

Though it can be overwhelming sometimes, the internet is a beautiful thing. How great that the National Trust is sharing garden restoration progress in this way.

Talli Roland said...

Beautiful! I've never heard of this castle, but you've made me want to go visit it now.

A Lady's Life said...

The gardens look fabulous. Such an array of color. It entails so much work to keep things beautiful

J.L. Campbell said...

The grounds are breathtaking. It's good that the estate has been restored and people can see what life was like back then.

Robyn Campbell said...

Love the word romantic. It looks it too. The walled garden is exquisite, Hilary. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Hilary! I think this is my favorite castle of all castles you've posted about so far. It is so picturesque. The gardens are just so beautiful.

Nas said...

Hi Hilary!

With your castle posts you're making me yearn to visit all these castles! Thanks for the photos and the information!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Haddock - Wisteria is gorgeous.

@ Nick - glad I'm introducing to new castles .. the dinosaur foot print must be amazing to see.

@ Glynis - the pictures are mainly from the Castle website .. and they're very good, as you say.

@ Liara - these gardens would do just that .. tantalise the senses. We're all part of this wonderful life and can see the earth we exist on through our own eyes.

@ Tara - oh well they'd love to see you!

@ Susan - how I do so agree .. these connections we make and we can show others our part of the world, make the internet an amazing place.

The National Trust has been going for 118 years now and has done an amazing amount for "places of historic interest or natural beauty" - which we can all visit.

@ Talli - doesn't it look wonderful .. and it's not far from London, so you could visit?!

@ A Lady's Life - it is so well looked after - we're very lucky; it also keeps crafts going that might otherwise be forgotten about.

@ JL - it's a fascinating place - two castles in one!

@ Robyn - there must be lots of romantic bowers here .. amongst the gardens, or in the landscape ..

@ Susanne - it's difficult to chose isn't it .. so many to see - this would rank up there in my eyes.

@ Nas - great to see you .. another coming over to visit, I hope! It's a pleasure writing these posts ..

Thanks everyone - so good to see you - cheers Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

These are spectacular gardens! It' s nice that they have blogs to keep visitors up to date! Julie

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Julie - yes I was enamoured with the blogs .. and may stay connected once the A - Z is over ...

The gardens look gorgeous don't they .. cheers Hilary

Theresa Milstein said...

And here I was saying your other post was my favorite castle. I still stand by it because I love the sea, but what gardens here!

Right now, the wisteria are in full bloom where I live. So beautiful!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Theresa .. this castle looks stunning in its setting doesn't - the old castle below in the lake, while the new one added architecturally blending in .. but the gardens are just beautiful.

I love wisteria - so had to post a picture of it!

Cheers - see you soon .. Hilary