What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
Ightham Mote, Kent
=How to get there.=–Train from Victoria, Holborn Viaduct, and Ludgate Hill. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Wrotham (2 miles from Ightham Mote). =Distance from London.=–31 miles. =Average Time.=–Varies between 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 5s. 1d. 3s. 2d. 2s. 6d. Return 8s. 11d. 6s. 4d. 5s. 0d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"The George and the Dragon," Ightham. =Alternative Route.=–None.
In a lovely green hollow, surrounded by splendid old trees and velvet turf, stands Ightham Mote, a gem among old English moated manor-houses. It is the home of Mr. J.C. Colyer-Fergusson, who allows the public to see the house and grounds on Fridays, between 11 and 1, and 2 and 6. A charge of 6d. is made.
Crossing a bridge over the moat, one enters the courtyard of the house through the great Tudor gate illustrated here. Standing in this courtyard one can scarcely imagine anything more beautiful and picturesque. The great square battlemented tower, through which one has just passed, is pierced with leaded windows, and its weather-beaten old walls are relieved by all sorts of creepers, which have been allowed to adorn without destroying the rich detail of stone and half-timber work. Those who find pleasure in gazing on architectural picturesqueness can satisfy themselves in the richness of colour and detail revealed in this beautiful courtyard. The crypt with its fine groined roof, the chapel which dates from 1520, the drawing-room with its two hundred years old Chinese wall-paper–believed to be one of the earliest occasions when wall-papers were used in this country–and many other interesting features are shown to visitors.
The original Ightham Mote seems to have been built in 1180 by Sir Ivo de Haut. The Hall, it is known, was built by Sir Thomas Cawne in 1340. Richard de Haut, who owned the place later on, was beheaded in 1484 at Pontefract. His estate was confiscated and came into the hands of Sir Robert Brackenbury, governor of the Tower, who lost his life at the battle of Bosworth. However, during the reign of Henry VII., Ightham once more came into the possession of the de Hauts; and it should be mentioned that throughout the seven centuries of its existence the house has always been inhabited.
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. IGHTHAM–THE MOAT AND BRIDGE.]