What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Knole House and Sevenoaks
=How to get there.=–Train from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, or London Bridge. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Sevenoaks (Knole House is just outside Sevenoaks). =Distance from London.=–22 miles. =Average Time.=–45 minutes.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 3s. 10d. 2s. 5d. 1s. 11d. Return 6s. 8d. 4s. 10d. 3s. 10d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–At Sevenoaks–"Royal Crown Hotel," “Royal Oak Hotel,” “Bligh’s Private Hotel,” etc.
Sevenoaks is famous for its beautiful situation near the Weald of Kent. It possesses still some old inns, relics of coaching days. The Grammar School was founded in 1432 by Sir William Sevenoke, who, from being a foundling, became Lord Mayor. St. Nicholas’ Church is a large building in the Decorated and Perpendicular style, much restored.
The chief charm of Sevenoaks is Knole House, a splendid example of the baronial dwellings that were erected after the Wars of the Roses, when the fortress was no longer so necessary. The demesne of Knole was purchased in the fifteenth century by Thomas Bourchier, Archbishop of Canterbury, who rebuilt the mansion on it. It was taken from Cranmer by the Crown and granted in 1603 to Thomas Sackville, Baron Buckhurst, afterwards Earl of Dorset, who is now represented by the Sackville-West family, the present owners.
The first Earl of Dorset greatly improved Knole, employing, it is said, 200 workmen constantly. The building surrounds three square courts and occupies about 5 acres. Knole possesses an extremely valuable collection of paintings, and the mediaeval furniture is untouched from the time of James I. There are famous pictures by Flemish, Dutch, Venetian, and Italian painters. In the dressing-room of the Spangled Bedroom are to be seen some of Sir Peter Lely’s beauties. The Cartoon Gallery has copies of Raphael’s cartoons by Mytens, and in the Poet’s Parlour are portraits of England’s famous poets–some by Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. The banqueting-hall has a screened music gallery. It is said that there are as many rooms in the house as there are days in the year. The drives and walks of the large park are always open, and the house is shown on Fridays from 10 A.M. to 5 P.M., and on Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 5 P.M. at a charge of 2s.; there is a reduction for a party. Tickets are procurable at the lodge.
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. KNOLE HOUSE.
One of the finest examples of a baronial residence of the period immediately succeeding the Wars of the Roses.]