Broomlands 583

Langton Green, England, Kent, Tunbridge Wells

Brief Description

Broomland has parkland of 8.5 hectares (21 acres) which has been returned to agricultural use. The parkland surrounds a house of the Regency period, with later 19th-century additions, on the site of an older farmhouse of unknown origin. The park features mature oak trees.

History

Broomlands occupies the site of an earlier property (date unknown) named Little Broom. An 1820 print shows the house with a Regency veranda and stone ha-ha, separating the lawn to the south of the house from the park. Extensive lands in this area were purchased in the 1850s by the Barrow family, who built a new house named Holmewood House. At the same time Little Broom was renamed Broomlands, its house enlarged and gardens developed.

Detailed Description

The present house is Regency with Victorian additions. However, it is on the site of an older farmhouse. Until World War 1, it was a dower house of Holmewood House, with a communal parkland. In 1918 the house was sold off with 30 acres.

The ‘park' of 18 acres with mature oak trees, is used for cattle grazing, and provides a good view to the south. An 1820 print shows the house with a Regency veranda and stone ha-ha, which separates the lawn to the south of the house from the pasture.

A mixed avenue, planted in 1850 along the drive, was felled some ten years ago because of its poor condition (rocky soils). An old track formerly known as Waggon Lane, passing Broomlands and providing access to the various pastures, linked Broom Lane and Broom Farm (to the south) with Holmewood House, but the current owners of Broom Farm are refusing rights of way over this track.

Victorian photographs show elaborate herbaceous gardens, but these are now grazed or forested. The glasshouses and old kitchen garden have also been removed.

Significant storm damage in 1987 resulted in the loss of approximately 120 trees. These were mostly larch, but also oak, beech and sweet chestnut. By July 1988 these trees had been removed, all tree surgery completed and an extensive replanting programme was well under way, though subsequent high winds mean that further larch will have to be removed and replanted.

During the clearance programme an old circular concrete pond was revealed. This has been renovated and made into a water feature surrounded by rhododendrons. The owners have recently incorporated further pastureland into the estate.

The following text is taken from the Kent Compendium of Historic Parks and Gardens for Tunbridge Wells Borough:

An informal garden designed from the early C19 around a Regency house and set in parkland with mature oak and beech trees.

SITE DESCRIPTION

LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING

Broomlands, with its house set back from the road, stands at the northern end of a sloping and undulating site with fine views south across its parkland. It is within Langton Green's residential area approximately 3km west of Royal Tunbridge Wells and 7km south-west of Tonbridge. The c.8.5ha site lies east of the B2188 (Broom Lane) which runs south-east from Langton Green for c.3km to join the A26 (Tunbridge Wells-Crowborough road). The A264 (Langton Road) from Tunbridge Wells to East Grinstead runs some 200m to its north. Broomlands is bordered to the west by Broom Lane, to the south by Broom Farm and to the south-east by pastureland. The north and north-east boundaries are formed by gardens of the adjoining private houses.

ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES

Broomlands is entered from the east side of Broom Lane through a 1m high, wrought iron gate hung on octagonal stone piers with stone capping. One-metre high, evergreen hedges enclose the property from the road with tall conifers behind the hedge to the north of the entrance gate. The conifers extend eastwards as a 3m high, clipped hedge along the northern property boundary.The land immediately north of the hedge was once fields belonging to Little Broom (Tithe Map). Immediately inside the gate, on the south side of a consolidated gravel drive, stands a C19, single-storey lodge, Broomlands Lodge (now tenanted). It is built in rusticated sandstone with a slate roof. Immediately east of the lodge a service drive off the main drive runs south for 50m to a stable block and walled kitchen garden.

There are views of Broomlands house from the drive as it gently descends for 100m in a south-easterly direction to arrive at a gravelled forecourt on the north, entrance front. This approach is shown on maps from 1840. The drive is framed on its south side by lawns and shrub beds and on its north side by rough grass studded with mature and young native trees. The forecourt is enclosed on its north and east sides by shrub borders below a clipped rhododendron hedge. Wrought iron gates attached to the north-east and north-west ends of the house gives access to, respectively, the south garden front and walled kitchen garden.

PRINCIPAL BUILDINGS

Broomlands house (listed grade II) incorporated an earlier building and was probably built in the 1850s. It is a two-storey house of rusticated local sandstone ashlar with a slate roof and deep eaves and an asymmetrical layout (listed building description). An integral service block on its north-west end had been extended by 1908 in the same materials as the main house (3rd edn OS map). In 1989, a conservatory with small-pane windows on small, stone, footings was added to the south-east garden front.

Forty metres to the west of the house is a single-storey sandstone stable block with an adjoining coach house and gardener's cottage. The coach house and cottage were converted to two cottages (North and South Cottage) in 1986 and these are now tenanted. The stable block is used for storage.

GARDENS AND PLEASURE GROUNDS

The ornamental gardens lie on the south and east sides of the house with a partly brick-walled garden, formerly used as a kitchen garden, to its west. The south garden front opens onto lawns that slope gently down to shrub borders planted at the foot of a low stone wall that forms the upper section of a 1.5m deep stone ha-ha (listed grade II). From these lawns there are wide views to the south-west and south-east to pastureland immediately below the ha-ha and beyond to woodland on the property's southern and western boundaries.

From the south garden front a gravel path runs for 50m in a westerly direction to arrive at the stable block, and for 70m in an easterly direction to a wire-enclosed hard tennis court. Immediately south of the house, on the south side of this path is a sunken lawn partly enclosed on its north side by a 0.5m stone retaining wall with planting at its foot. The lawn was possibly used as a croquet lawn in the C19 (personal communication). Some 100m east from the house is a late C20 wooden summerhouse. This was placed hereby the current owners on the site of a mature Turkey oak that was felled by a storm in 1986. Some thirty metres east of the house there are a number of clipped rhododendron hedges, possibly the remains of a maze (personal communication). To their north and north-east and extending to the eastern boundary are informal lawns of c. 0.25ha planted with mature and young deciduous trees and stands of pine species. Within these lawns, approximately 100m to the north-east of the house is an ornamental circular concrete pool enclosed by shrub beds, uncovered in 1987 during storm damage tree clearance (Kent Compendium).

Ninety metres east from the house, immediately to the east of the tennis court a grass path descends gently between young beech trees for c.100m to the southern property boundary. It is separated from the parkland on its west side by a row of mature oaks on a bank with a drainage ditch at its foot.

PARKLAND

The undulating parkland to the south and south-east of the house is managed as grazed pasture with many mature oaks surviving (2009). It slopes southwards from the ha-ha towards a wood separating the land of Broomlands from that of Broom Farmand is partly enclosed by narrow belts of woodland on its east and west sides. Some 80m south-west of the house is a small pond first mapped in 1862.

KITCHEN GARDEN

The early C19 kitchen garden (c.40m x 25m) adjoins the north-west end of the house and extends westwards to the stable block (Tithe Map) with entrances in its east and west sides. Its north and east sides are enclosed by 2m high red brick walls with rounded north-east and north-west corners. The garden's west side is formed by the east wall of the stable block and its south side by a 2m high, clipped yew hedge, the hedge forming a screen to the gardens on the south front of the house. It is laid out as a rectangular lawn with perimeter beds. An enclosed kitchen garden between the house and stable block is shown on maps from at least 1840 (Tithe Map). Before the house was enlarged in the 1860s, there was also a service courtyard to the east of this garden. On the 1st edn map, the kitchen garden is laid out with perimeter paths and cross paths dividing it into three sections. By the 1900s only a path from the forecourt to the stable block is shown and this is also the layout shown in post World War 2 photographs. A glass house attached to the interior south-east wall is shown on maps from 1907, but this was replaced by a new one by the current owners in the late C20. At the south-east corner of the kitchen garden a sunken courtyard has been made (C21) to open from the west end of the house. It is enclosed on its north side by a random stone retaining wall in which are set four steps that ascend to the main kitchen garden.

REFERENCES

Books and articles

Edward Hasted, ‘Parishes: Speldhurst', The History and Topographical Survey of the County of Kent: Volume 3 (1797), pp. 275-300.

Bagshaw's Directory 1847

Kelly's Directory 1867, 1874, 1899, 1922, 1930, 1940, 1955, 1961

Maps

Tithe Map and apportionment (1841-42)

Broomlands map from 1863 lease (private collection)

OS maps 1st edition 6" 1862

2nd edition 6" 1897

3rd edition 6" 1907

4th edition 6" 1929

OS maps 1st edition 25" OS 1870

2nd edition 25" OS 1895

3rd edition 25" OS 1906

Revd edition 25" OS 1938

Plan of Broomlands and Holmewood from 1875 Indenture (private collection)

Estate Map of Broomlands and the Holmewood 1910 (private collection)

Modern Mastermap 1:2,500 2007

Map showing listed buildings within Broomlands boundaries

Illustrations

1918 Photograph of Broomlands Auxiliary Hospital (private collection)

WW2 doodlebug crashed near the house (private collection)

Aerial photographs 1946, 1950, 1959, 1968, 1993. RAF refs

Aerial photographs 1964, 1981, 1986,1990, 2003 (private collection)

1981/2 photograph of house from parkland

Aerial photograph 2003

Archival items

Inland Revenue valuation 1911

English Heritage Listed Buildings entries: undated.

Kent Compendium entry 1996s

Research by Hugh Vaux

Description written by Barbara Simms

Edited by Virginia Hinze

February 2009

Features
  • Tree Feature
  • Description: Mature Oak tress
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The present house is Regency with Victorian additions. However, it is on the site of an older farmhouse.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
Pond
Access & Directions

Directions

The site is directly south of the A264 at Langton Green.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Speldhurst
History

Detailed History

The following text is taken from the Kent Compendium of Historic Parks and Gardens for Tunbridge Wells Borough:

CHRONOLOGY OF THE HISTORIC DEVELOPMENT

Broomlands occupies the site of an earlier property (date unknown) named Little Broom (Tithe Map). At that time the owner was a Thomas Bingham Richards. His holding comprised ‘house premises and garden' together with a pond and extensive pasture, meadow and woodland. An 1820 print shows the house with a Regency veranda and stone ha-ha, separating the lawn to the south of the house from the park (Kent Compendium). Richards was still in residence in 1847 (Bagshaw), but it is likely that the Barrow family acquired Little Broom (and Broom Farm on its southern boundary) when they bought an extensive tract of land in the 1850s (1863 lease) on which to build a new house (Holmewood House). Holmewood House was constructed 800m to the south-east of Little Broom and was set in extensive gardens and parkland. At the same time Little Broom was renamed Broomlands, its house enlarged and gardens developed (1st edn OS map).

Broomlands was tenanted for thirty years, first to a Mr G. J. Rust (Kelly's 1867) and then to a Reverend William Perkins (Kelly's 1874). No significant changes appear to have been made to the property during this period (Indenture 1875; 2nd edn OS map). By 1899 a Major Leonard Barrow (Kelly's) was in residence and after his death, Broomlands appears to have been used as a dower house for Holmewood House. The owner in 1911 was a Mrs Dorothea Barrow (Inland Revenue Valuation), but after World War One, during which Broomlands was used as an auxiliary hospital, its occupier was a Mrs J. Barrow (Kelly's). She remained there until the 1930s, when the Barrow family sold Broomlands as part of the Holmewood Estate.

Broomlands was bought in 1940 by a Lionel Savill and in 1955 by a Peter Hope. The current owners bought the property from a Mr A. Schiff in 1985. Since then, a programme of tree replanting has been implemented, new garden areas have been created and additional land has been acquired. The property remains in single private ownership.

References

References

  • {The Kent County Council Planning Department {The Kent Gardens Compendium} (Canterbury: Kent County Council, 1996) 16The Kent Gardens Compendium

Contributors

  • Kent Gardens Trust