Hunton Court 1820

Hunton, England, Kent, Maidstone

Brief Description

Hunton Court has an early-17th century park of 43.5 hectares (104.7 acres) associated with the house from the same period. The current garden layout is Victorian with features including 2 lakes which are thought to follow the form of the original moat, a bridge, kitchen garden and many specimen trees.

History

The house and park date to the early-17th century.

Detailed Description

The site dates to the early-17th century. A print of 1838 shows the house and the man-made lake set in an open park landscape. The house has been associated with a substantial park extending largely to the north-east and south-west, in all covering about 40 hectares. This contains many trees of above 200 years old, including many exotic cedars and wellingtonias.

A long drive stretches from the north to the house and adjacent church (to the north-east of the centre of Hunton village) through this grazed parkland scene. However, today much of the land has been sold and is under arable cultivation. Most of the land around the house, except the two parks, has been cultivated for well over a hundred years as demonstrated on old estate maps.

The house was embellished with balustrading in 1840, as was the picturesque bridge which crosses the lake at its nearest point, directly to the south-west of the house. The main bulk of the lake extends to the south of the house and is surrounded by shrubberies of yew and holly with splashes of colour provided by banks of pink hydrangeas and mature azaleas. Many mature specimen trees flank the lake, including a ginkgo, chestnuts, redwoods and several varieties of oak. Unfortunately the rare Service Tree was lost in the 1987 gale. There is some new planting. A Victorian walkway extends around the lake, and a croquet lawn separates it from the house.

A promontory of land extending between the bulbous bulk of the lake and the narrow section, which bends around and passes in front of the front face of the house, bears a rather strange circle of Irish yews in what was once a many-bedded rose garden.

Behind the house is a new swimming pool surrounded with beds designed by Peter Coats. A path leads to the east to a two acre walled kitchen garden. This is now mainly grassed although both fruit and vegetables are grown in the remainder.

The character of the garden is still largely early Victorian: naturalistic lake with largely plain mown sweeps of lawn and specimen cedars and wellingtonias, although many cedars were lost in the 1987 storm. The parkland extends beyond this, separated visually by park fencing and has been devastated with the storm damage. The clearing up process has been completed, although some damaged trees still need to be felled. The subsequent tree planting has taken place.

Features
  • Lake
  • Description: The site has two lakes.
  • House (featured building)
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  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: Many mature specimen trees flank the lake, including a ginkgo, chestnuts, redwoods and several varieties of oak.
  • Drive
  • Description: A long drive stretches from the north to the house and adjacent church.
  • Ornamental Bridge
  • Description: There is a picturesque bridge which crosses the lake at its nearest point, directly to the south-west of the house.
  • Walk
  • Description: A Victorian walkway extends around the lake.
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  • Outdoor Swimming Pool
  • Description: Behind the house is a new swimming pool surrounded with beds designed by Peter Coats.
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Croquet Lawn
Access & Directions

Directions

The site is 4 miles south-west of Maidstone, in the village of Hunton 1½ miles south-east of Yalding, on a minor road.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Hunton
Associated People

Just one person associated to Hunton Court

References

References

  • Kent County Council Planning Department {The Kent Gardens Compendium} (Canterbury: Kent County Council, 1996) 91The Kent Gardens Compendium

Contributors

  • Kent Gardens Trust