Kenfield Hall, Nr Petham (also known as Kenfield Hall Nursing Home)1893

Canterbury, England, Kent, Canterbury

Brief Description

Kenfield Hall is an early 18th-century country house with associated gardens, which include a late 19th-century informal garden, rockery, fernery, fish pools and a bowling green. Work began on restoring the gardens in 1981.

Detailed Description

The estate was broken up in the post-World War 2 era and only some 3.25 hectares of gardens and grounds remain. The only remaining vestiges of Mr Thomson's planting are some of his now large specimen trees (see survey notes in the County Planning Department's reference material) and the shrubbery which for some time has been unmanaged and overgrown.

Several large specimen trees have fallen in the 1987storm including a large copper beech and some yews and other conifers. Three sides of the walled garden have been removed and only one adjoining greenhouse remains - although this is in the process of being renovated. The current owners (since 1981) have restored the formal brick sunken garden to the rear of the house, and this now constitutes an attractive feature. The central circular pool with its ornamental statue is in a lawn dissected by radiating brick paths, and the whole is surrounded by raised mixed herbaceous beds. Other notable current features of the garden include topiary yew hedges and herbaceous borders.

The surrounding farmland still has considerable parkland character with good parkland trees to the west and south-west.

Features

Style

  • Informal
  • Bowling Green
  • Description: There is a large circular bowling green reached by quadrant flights of steps.
  • House (featured building)
  • Description: The house was built in 1700-1701 of imposing brick and stone, similar in appearance to Bourne Park and Mystole Court in the neighbourhood.
  • Earliest Date:
  • Latest Date:
  • Steps
  • Description: Quadrant flights of steps.
  • Pool
  • Description: Fishpools.
  • Greenhouse
  • Description: Only one greenhouse remains, recently renovated.
  • Hedge
  • Description: Topiary yew hedges.
Pool, Rockery, Summerhouse, Herbaceous Border
Access & Directions

Directions

The site is in East Kent (on the minor road to Petham). It is four miles to the south-west of Canterbury. Petham is 1.25 miles to the south-east.
Authorities

Civil Parish

  • Petham
History

Detailed History

The house was built in 1700-1701 of imposing brick and stone, similar in appearance to Bourne Park and Mystole Court in the neighbourhood. Like those, Kenfield has also suffered a dramatic break-up of attendant estate lands and parkland and prolonged neglect. The original architect is unknown. An extensive wing was added in a similar style in 1909-1910.

A reference in the ‘Cottage Gardener' of 1870 tells of the extent and importance of this place: ‘Mansion and house in the centre of a well wooded park of large size and sufficiently broken up undulations to render it interesting without being romantic'.

The owner at this time, a Mr Thomson, was an enthusiastic plant collector and gardener. He planted a collection of conifers, hollies, ferns and shrubs and laid out an elaborate series of informal gardens including a rockery, fernery, a large circular bowling green reached by quadrant flights of steps, a pretty summer house and fish pools. An extensive walled garden and glasshouses also existed.

References

References