What to See in England
By Gordon Home
Public Domain Books
=How to get there.=–Train from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, or London Bridge. South-Eastern and Chatham Railway. =Nearest Station.=–Penshurst. =Distance from London.=–32 miles. =Average Time.=–1-1/2 hours.
1st 2nd 3rd =Fares.=–Single 5s. 0d. 3s. 3d. 2s. 6d. Return 8s. 8d. 6s. 2d. 4s. 7d.
=Accommodation Obtainable.=–"Leicester Arms Hotel.”
The pleasant little village of Penshurst, situated 6 miles north-west from Tunbridge Wells, is renowned for the beautiful fourteenth-century mansion known as Penshurst Place. From Norman times a house has occupied the site, but the present building did not come into existence until 1349, when Sir John de Poultenay, who was four times Lord Mayor of London, built the present historic seat. Having come into the possession of the Crown, the estate was given by Edward VI. to Sir William Sidney, who had fought at Flodden Field. The unfortunate young King Edward died in the arms of Sir William’s son Henry, whose grief was so excessive that he retired to Penshurst and lived there in seclusion. Sir Henry Sidney had three children, one of whom being Sir Philip Sidney, the type of a most gallant knight and perfect gentleman. It was at Penshurst that Edmund Spenser, Sir Philip’s friend, wrote his first work, the Shepherd’s Calendar, and though Sidney did not actually write his famous poem Arcadia in his beautiful Kentish home, its scenery must have suggested many of the descriptions. Algernon Sidney, who was illegally put to death through Judge Jeffreys, was the nephew of Sir Philip, and he is supposed to be buried in Penshurst Church, though no monument remains. The present owner of Penshurst is Lord De Lisle and Dudley (Sir Philip Charles Sidney (died 1851) was given the peerage in 1835), who allows visitors to view the historic mansion on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, from 3 P.M. to 6 P.M. (admission 1s.). The great feature of the house is the baronial hall, built in 1341, which has a hearth in the centre of the room. The Queen’s drawing-room, said to have been furnished by Queen Elizabeth, contains some interesting Tudor furniture, and the satin tapestry which adorns the walls is also believed to be the work of the virgin queen and her maidens. There are many valuable and interesting portraits of the famous members of the Sidney family. In the beautiful grounds of Penshurst is an oak tree, planted, says tradition, at the time of Sir Philip Sidney’s birth.
[Illustration: Photochrom Co., Ltd. PENSHURST PLACE.
Which was built in 1349, was the home of Sir Philip Sidney.]